Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is it Egotistical of God to Pursue His Own Glory?

We've been discussing God's reason for creating the universe. He did it for his own pleasure and glory. We have also looked at the fact that glory means the density or weight of all of the attributes of God. His character overflows and expands. This resulted in his desire to create everything. As his glory flows out in a multitude of ways, it is received by conscious beings such as angels and people and reflected in all directions thus increasing his glory.

God's desire that he be glorified among all nations is behind all that he does. For example when he announced judgment, the Bible explains his reasoning:

Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.” ’” (Ezekiel 38:23, NKJV)

He forgives sin for the same reason:
I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me. Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.’” (Jeremiah 33:8–9, NKJV)

“For My name’s sake I will defer My anger, And for My praise I will restrain it from you, So that I do not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.” (Isaiah 48:9–11, NKJV)

Now the question often arises as to whether this makes God an egotistical tyrant, a megalomaniac, and/or a self-absorbed narcissist. When human beings constantly desire to be praised and admired, they are doing so at the expense of others who are their equals. When we brag about what we have accomplished, we are trying to lift ourselves up higher than our fellow human beings. God's Word forbids such attitudes. So why does God do it?

We learn from Scripture that God is complete and perfect in all his characteristics. He has no lack of love or beauty or goodness. He is perfect in righteousness and holiness. He is completely without sin of any kind. There is no other being in the universe equal with God. Certainly it makes sense for us as human beings to pursue those things which are good and honorable and just and to avoid those things which are sinful and harmful. If we're to look for what is perfect, we are looking for God. Nothing else is perfect. If God were to be deferring in his relationship with us and point us in a direction other than himself in order to be "more humble", he would actually be denying who he is and would be pointing us in the direction of some thing or some one that is not the best. Do we really want to be guided by someone who points us to that which really won't satisfy our deepest needs? What kind of being would it be that knows where all good and beauty and justice dwells, but steers us toward something lesser? Such a being would not be the God of the Bible.

The End For Which God Created the World by Jonathan Edwards which is given in its entirety in God's Passion for His Glory by John Piper
When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy by John Piper
Why God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation by Ben Stevens

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