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Michael McClymond summarizes Jonathan Edwards’s theology of conscience. Edwards concedes that everyone has a conscience. Everyone’s “natural conscience” can perceive right and wrong, but only the converted conscience can fully apprehend God’s moral excellence and beauty. Further, the conscience operates on the principle of “reversibility”: the empathetic orientation of one’s actions considering their effects on others. However, the person with the converted conscience is constantly aware of his propensity to sin and that God’s moral demands are forever correct. Conscience gets stronger and more refined the more it is heeded; conversely, it gets duller the more it is resisted. The faith of true believers removes the stain of a guilty conscience. Even if not redeemed, however, that self-same natural conscience will agree entirely with the justness of God’s righteous punishment for him at the Last Judgment.
Locke was a mortalist, as he argued that the soul dies with the body. He thought that the resurrection of the dead will take place by divine miracle on Judgment Day, when the saved will be admitted to eternal beatitude while the wicked will experience a second, final death. He was also agnostic about the ontological constitution of thinking substances or souls. Moreover, he questioned the resurrection of the body, since he argued that our corruptible, mortal bodies will be changed into incorruptible, spiritual bodies at resurrection. Locke’s position on the soul and the resurrection of the dead implies that personal identity is neither in the soul, nor in the body, nor in a union of soul and body. In "Essay" II.xxvii (1694, 2nd ed.), he argued that consciousness alone makes personal identity. To Locke, the same self exists diachronically, in this life and beyond it, “by the same consciousness.” However, Locke’s “annexing” of punishment to personality, and of personality to consciousness, does not contradict his notion of repentance, for he saw repentance as necessary but not sufficient to salvation and, emphasizing faith, he believed in God’s forgiveness of the repentant faithful.
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