Is God an Egomaniac for Seeking His Own Glory? (John Piper)

People see God’s exaltation and communication of his own glory as a problem. They don’t like it. They think such self-exaltation is immoral and loveless, even pathological. But there is another way to look at it.

Suppose your heart is a template made for its counterpart, the glory of God. Suppose you were created to know and love and be satisfied by the majesty and beauty of God. Suppose the glory of God was the most beautiful reality in the universe to you and therefore the most satisfying to your soul. Suppose you hungered and thirsted for the presence of the greatness of God more than for anything in the world. And suppose this God, in spite of all your sin, had made a way for the glory of his holiness and righteousness to be maintained and exalted, while still giving himself in friendship to you for your enjoyment forever.

If that were true, then God’s unwavering commitment to uphold and display his glory would not be a mark of selfish pride but a mark of self-giving love. He would be upholding and communicating the very thing for which your soul longs. This would not be the pattern of an old woman wanting compliments, or an egomaniac, or a needy tyrant, or an insecure, jealous lover. Rather, it would be the pattern of the true and living and gracious God. You would see that there is no other God like….

This was his mission. But how would it happen? By self-emptying and servanthood and humiliation and death:

Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:6–8)

Because of this majestic lowliness, in love for sinners, God exalted Jesus and gave him a name above all names (Phil. 2:9). But the aim of it all was that “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (v. 11). This is the peculiar glory of God and of his Scriptures: the glory of God is everywhere the aim, and the central means is the self-humbling of God himself in Jesus Christ. This is the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).

The glory of the paradoxical juxtaposition of seeming opposites in Jesus Christ is at the heart of how God shows himself glorious in the Scriptures.

Piper, John. A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016, pages 215-216, 223.

Augustine, the Christian Hedonist

What is Christian Hedonism?

“Christian Hedonism” is term coined by John Piper. According to Piper, all men by nature seek their own happiness. However, this pursuit of happiness is not in competition with God (contra. self-centeredness). In fact, as Piper has famously said, “God Is Most Glorified In Us When We Are Most Satisfied In Him.” And conversely, we are most satisfied as we seek that satisfaction in God. C.S. Lewis, who greatly influenced Piper’s view of Christian Hedonism, said,

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. – C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory.”

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Some Thoughts on “Divine Selfishness” from the Mind of C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis provides a great explanation to the accusation that God’s love must be selfish if God seeks it for His own glory when Lewis says,

What is called selfish love among men is lacking with God. He has no natural necessities, no passion, to compete with His wish for the beloved’s welfare. . . . A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him.[1]

Lewis’ point is not that God needs our worship, but that God’s desire in making us is for worship.

God of mere miracle has made Himself able so to hunger and created in Himself that which we can satisfy. If He requires us, the requirement is of His own choosing.[2]

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