As I said I have been reading, Desiring God : Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper. So the first question that comes to mind is, “what is this idea of ‘Christian Hedonist?'” So this blog will help answer that question. Today’s blog will not answer the question fully but as I dive into this book, I will blog more and more and the answer to this question and many more will be discussed. The book is based on the Bible. The first underlying virtue that I want to discuss is this theme:The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. In other words, the ultimate end to man and mankind is to bring glory to God by taking pleasure in God and His attributes. Some people might have problems with this idea because:Never heard of this idea beforeUnsure and uncomfortable with such an extreme endBelieve that there is another end to manDo not believe in God So is this idea Biblical? Isaiah 60:21. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 6:20, 31. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s…. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.Revelation 4:11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (also read Ps 86) So yes, I think it is pretty clear. God created us to glorify Him. What do you think?
Please do not confuse this blog as only what John Piper has been or is saying, I have been doing some of my own research and adding in my own thoughts and emotions. This blog also is not actually about the full contents of Piper’s book; just the issues of interest picked out and elaborated on by me.Yesterday we saw how the chief end of man is to glorify God. Today I am going to dive into what Piper says is the chief end of God. Piper (in his book, Desiring God) says that the chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever.This is very much similar to the chief end of man as the end result is to honor and glorify and enjoy God.When we think about God enjoying Himself a lot of thoughts come to mind.
Some people are confused. Why or how would God enjoy Himself?
Others people will be intrigued. Curiously wondering what this is all about?
To some this is the only logical conclusion.For most of us at first glance, thinking about God glorifying Himself sounds pretty odd. It is an unfamiliar thought. We as humans are pretty self centered and typically imagine the world evolving around us. Sure God is out there but God is there for us, to redeem us, forgive us, and to save us. This is a usual and normal thought process, but it may not be absolutely true.God was around before man and God wanted to be happy before man. He planned creation and executed it to His own liking. Everything that has happened, is happening, and will ever happen, in the end, will have happened according to the will of God.When we are bringing up issues of the chief end of man and now the chief end of God we are digging into a theological discussion of God’s Sovereignty. I can (and will soon) spend an entire blog on the topic of Sovereignty alone simply because it is a complex issue and many people have a lot of emotions and thought when it comes to that topic.I am not out to explain away anything nor do I claim to have all the answers but I find this topics fascinating and worth discussion and thought. I inevitably could possibly say something wrong or offensive, please correct me if you see fit.Obviously I did not answer the question fully. In fact there is much left to think about and wonder upon but I have reached my stopping point for today. This is a deep issue that can be examined quite deeply. I am only looking at a few aspects today in this blog, but for the next week or so I will be picking it a part, piece by piece and getting at the difficult and interesting issues. There is more to come!
Yesterday I briefly touched on God’s sovereignty and the chief end of God. We have noticed that Piper’s theme so far is that all things (including God Himself) result in glorifying God. There are many rabbit trails that are fun to discuss in a basic theology course and on a blog site such as this one. So the good, the bad, and the controversial – all are things I plan on discussing here on this blog. So if you are looking to actually understand the book Desiring God and read what Piper thinks I would recommend the book, but understand that this blog is a mix of Piper’s ideas along with other theological ideas and not just Piper’s ideas. Today I want bring some of yesterday’s rabbit trails back around and introduce another topic. Yesterday we asked why the chief end of God makes logical sense. And we looked at God’s sovereignty for the answer. Ps. 33:10-11 (NASB) tells us “The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.” Ps 115:3 “our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” We see here that God has the ultimate plans and His plans stand forever. His plans are absolute while man’s plan gets frustrated. God is the end all and has the right to do whatever He pleases. There is none higher than Him. None of His purposes can be frustrated. Here is the new introduction: If none of his plans can be frustrated than He must be the happiest of all beings. And because He is the happiest being, He is the source of strength for the Christian who is living to glorify Him. Now comes the proposed rebuttals and arguments, which will be left for further discussion in the next few blogs,”If God is so happy, why does He need to be glorified?””How could God be so happy if sin is such a large part of the human lifestyle?””If God is seeking His own glory does that not go against the Christian teaching?” These and many more questions will be looked at soon. For today we have plenty to contemplate.
John Piper says that God is the happiest of all beings. This is hard to contemplate because it leads us to many questions in our faith. One thing that sticks out to me is this:If God is not the happiest being, then there are a lot of negative consequences that follow that.For one thing if God is not the happiest, then we would not relate to God the same way that we do. We would relate to Him as like He was a frustrated, irritated, angry father. We would not be able to enjoy God and His presence. Fortunately the Bible makes it clear that God created all things for His glory. And everything man does is also to glorify God. Okay Alex, you might be thinking, I hear all this about glorifying God, but I still have question, that you are brushing off. You might not be fully satisfied with all the answers (and the lack of answers) that I have been giving so far. But not to worry, it will all come around eventually. Things we will be looking at: There is not force above God.Evil and sin fits within God’s design.Is God for us or against us?Does God go against His own teaching? These issues are real and tough. A lot of them are topics we typically do not like to think about much, it hurts are brain trying to understand. Sometimes the truth behind some of these topics go against the things that we like to hear and the things that that we might have even been taught in our past. These discoveries in the Bible are some times eye opening. I will leave you with some Scripture:Isa. 46: 9, 10″Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’
It is so good and cool that God is the happiest being. We can relate to God as our loving father and not our frustrated and angry Father. The reason we can be assured of God’s happiness is in his sovereignty. Because God is sovereign – everything in this world is in order, according to God’s plan will, and control! If things were out of His control, He would not be happy, nor would he be sovereign. Fortunately, He makes ALL THINGS work together for Him! Isaiah 46:9, 10 tells us that God accomplishes His purposes. This is also a very good thing because otherwise it would infer that there is a power greater than Him, something beyond God, worth working for. All things, means well everything. What is so wonderful but also hard to grasp is this fact: God’s design covers calamities, sin, and evil. There is nothing that happens that God is not there, in control of, unaware of, a part of. Did you know that all evil that Satan causes has to pass by God’s permission? There are a lot of misconceptions about evil, Satan, God, and His plan that sometimes get everyone off track and confused. I think that people are sometimes just ignorant of what the actual truth is. But many times people may know the truth but ignore it because they do not like it. They cannot deal with the truth because it is tough. Here is an ironic but true statement from Piper:”People lift their hand to rebel against the Most High only to find that their rebellion is unwitting service in the wonderful designs of God.” God puts in people’s hearts what He wants and His will can be done by both sinners and saints, through bad events and good events. God is all powerful and Wills whatever He wills. There is no such thing as a coincidence. This is because God’s will cannot be compromised. It is not limited by man or anything. Even the smallest of affairs are important and predetermined by God. EVERY decision is from the Lord. Yes, Colts fans even the Super bowl this past year! There is no force above God. More questions are being dealt with: “If God is so happy, why does He need to be glorified?””How could God be so happy if sin is such a large part of the human lifestyle?””If God is seeking His own glory does that not go against the Christian teaching?” Let’s call it a blog for today. Come back tomorrow feel free to comment.
What makes topics of God’s sovereignty so much harder to deal with is the fact that it is real in our lives and it can caused us to think both mentally and emotionally. If a doctrine is close to our heart it is hard to let go of it and rationally think about possible alternatives. The idea of God’s sovereignty has proved to be a topic of great challenge and sleepless night for the longest time. There are still many objections on both sides of the debate, so I want to challenge you to take your own stand when it comes to the idea of God’s sovereignty and what you personally believe. Jonathan Edwards tried to explain God’s mystery this way: “the infinite complexity of the divine mind is such that God has the capacity to look at the world through two lenses. ” through His narrow lens He sees humans for who and what they are. He sees their sin and is both angered and grieved. But through His wide angle lens He sees how the tragedy of sin fits into His design. He delights in what he sees, because He sees the sin in relation to everything leading up to it and everything flowing out from it, and His end results of glory for Himself.A good example of looking into both lenses is the death of Jesus Christ. Isaiah tells us that the event of Christ’s death would cause God much grief. (This is the narrow lens.) Nevertheless, Hebrews tells us that it was the will of God to allow His Son to die for us. God thought it was fitting to perfect the pioneer of our salvation through suffering.Do not take me wrong here, because I am no way ignoring or minimizing the anger and grief of God against evil. Nor am I inferring that through this wrath and sorrow that God is frustrated with His creation and cannot keep it under control.This topic is rather complex and interesting, if I had more understanding of this idea then I would elaborate much more about redemptive history and God’s view of both lenses, but I personally am still learning a great deal about these ideas and trying myself to figure it all out.
This will help lead us to those tough questions that we still have not answered fully.”Glory” is an interesting concept, as it is hard to define. It is like beauty. In this case it is beauty of God’s manifold perfections.
There is a single ultimate goal of God. That is to display His infinite worth and awesome greatness, which is His glory.
Above all things God loves His glory more than anything else.
Of God’s many goals, the ultimate goal is to display His glory.
He loves Himself infinitely.
This is because He alone is supremely valuable.According to Piper one of the best ways to think about God’s infinite enjoyment of His own glory is to think of it as the delight He has in His Son, who is the perfect reflection of that glory.That is such an interesting comment because God and Jesus is the same person in the Trinity. But at the same time different enough for one to love the other. But while loving the other, God loving Jesus, loves Himself even more! So amazing stuff here! This is very interesting and stirs many questions:
Is God for us or against us?
What then is God lacking that He needs man’s praise for?
If love does not seek its own, how can God love Himself so much?These are the things to come!