In my last blog post, I stated that “the events that stand inside God’s great redemptive historical narrative are all meant for a very specific purpose: to glorify God. This glorification of God is all for the purpose of Him demonstrating His greatness.”
While I would argue it is intuitively appropriate for an all-powerful being to desire to magnify His own name, I can understand why one might see this as a potentially prideful longing. One might even go so far as to accuse God of megalomania, which is described as a delusion where one thinks that he/she has great or unlimited power or importance.
So what of that? Is God a megalomaniac? Is it inappropriate for Him to make so much of Himself… to center all of His power and might around glorifying Himself? And does this desire mean that God was somehow insufficient of Himself or insecure that He needed to promote Himself?
I read a delightful book last year called “Why God Created the World” by Ben Stevens (it’s actually an adaptation of a work by the great American theologian, Jonathan Edwards) that spectacularly addressed these concerns and taught me well of God’s justified (double-meaning intended) self-glorification.
In the book, Stevens well makes the point that if God is just, He must make perfect judgments, including faithfully evaluating and appraising what He sees. In other words, in order to be perfect, God must be wholly just; and to be wholly just, God has to give honor to and glorify that which deserves the most glory. Thus, to be the perfect being we would expect (and want) God to be, God must value Himself more than anything else. Otherwise, He’s not qualified to be God.
The result of this impregnable line of logic is that “Logic demands that we appraise Him as high as possible,” as Stevens states. Thus, “God ought to act, in regard to all events in the universe, with an impossibly high regard for Himself.”
Why This Matters
In case the question of why this is relevant may be entering your mind, let me pause here to quote Mr. Stevens. In the Introduction to the book, he states that the value of the book is as such:
“You see, if the only possible explanation for God’s motives in creating the world is egomania or loneliness, as some might assume, then that shows how incoherent the rest of the story must be. On the other hand, if the story does have a logical and beautiful purpose, that makes sense of the tension Christians see in our rejection of God’s plan. Either way, it’s the place where the coherence of the story rises or falls.”
Rises or Falls
So God is not a megalomaniac. He is not inappropriately prideful. He is not lonely or insufficient. He is just. Thus, He is justified in His self-love and self-glorification.
But the problem is that the same book that proclaims His glory and perfection also proclaims our diametrically opposed natures… that we are all sinners (Romans 3:10-12ff , 3:22b-23).
Another fabulous book that I am currently reading (Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray) makes the following point:
“The person who is against God cannot be right with God. For if we are against God then God is against us… God cannot be indifferent to or complacent towards that which is the contradiction of himself. His very perfection requires the recoil of righteous indignation. And that is God’s wrath.”
So as we’ve already established, He is just. And when His justice burns against our guilt, God help us.
And I don’t say that flippantly. It’s meant literally. Because that help comes in the form of Jesus.
How does a sinful one find justification in the face of a holy God whose just wrath is required to burn hot against that insurrection? The second half of Romans 3:23 (mentioned above) states that the sinful one is “…justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
This literally brings a smile to my face. What a great God we have. How can you not but sing His praises after reading that?
See, He deserves the glory.
He is perfect.
He is just.
He is gracious.
He is love.
I pray for you today that you would see His beauty… His glory… and trust Him to do that work in you, to redeem you by His grace via His saving work on the cross.