Isaiah 43.1,6-7 – God’s rightful pursuit of his own glory.
Posted: 16 July 2012 in Isaiah

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine….. I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

In the above passage God says it again. The universe, and in particular his chosen people, were created for his own glory. The universe was not created as a playground for us, with God looking on as a beneficent playground supervisor. I suppose most Christians have, at one time or another, encountered the following from the Greek philosopher Epicurus:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

That works only if God is conceived to be a God whose primary concern is our comfort. It works rather less well if God’s primary concern is understood to be his own glory, with our comfort very much secondary to that. Even salvation is not something offered for its own sake, but as part of the means by which God will achieve his ultimate purpose of being worshipped and glorified in eternity.

I do not think there is much point in accusing God of narcissism, as I recently heard somebody do. Narcissism is an undesirable trait in humans because the narcissistic person unconsciously thinks of himself as being an object of ultimate concern. We tend to collectively adopt that attitude in our relationship with God; seeing ourselves as the rightful objects of  his ultimate concern. God alone has the right to comprehend of himself in those terms; he alone is Lord and Creator. Since he has that right, he is not doing anything illegitimate when he does, in fact, think of himself as the reality towards which all created things things tend and owe their being. He alone is the rightful object of all worship and praise.

We are called, and we have a duty, to worship the God who dwells in infinite glory. We are not called to worship an idol, who effectively conceives of himself as being our servant.

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