Friday, January 07, 2011

If God is so powerful then why does he need to be praised and glorified?

"If God is so powerful then why does he need to be praised and glorified?"  I hear this question a lot, mostly from skeptics but also from believers.  God does NOT need to be praised or glorified because God doesn't NEED anything.  God didn't even need to create but he did and here we are.

Every week Christians go to church to ascribe to God his supreme worth for he alone is supremely worthy. We don't worship God because he needs to be worshiped but so that we might enjoy fellowship with the Creator and his children. Here's an illustration: Not to brag but I have a brick of 15 year old cheddar, it sells for about $50 a pound and it was a Christmas gift from my daughter. It has great value to me. I recognize it's value by bragging about it, smelling it, eating it slowly, holding it in my mouth, pairing it with a fine libation; I even SHARE it (sparingly) and other rituals that acknowledge the value of this amazing Wisconsin delicacy.

Worshiping God is pretty much the same thing. We acknowledge his supreme worth and value in our lives, we hear his Word preached, we boast of his majesty, we sing of his attributes and works and we receive the pleasure of knowing he is pleased to reconcile sinners back to himself.  Worship and praise are parts of a homecoming feast. (In the next article I will discuss the worship service as a homecoming feast.)

Glory, comes from the ancient Hebrew word for 'weight' or 'heaviness'. This made more sense back in the 70s when we spoke of a topic or subject as being 'heavy' - some concepts carry a great cognitive weightiness.

When we glorify God we are acknowledging his perfections and attributes. God is uniquely 'other' from his creation, there is nothing to compare him to. He displays his love, his mercy, justice, wrath, sovereignty, supremacy, power, providence and all encompassed with holiness. Our attributes are mere reflections of his and carry the distortions of the fall, we are capricious, selfish, proud and rebellious. We get a distorted view of God when we project our own weaknesses onto God.

So to glorify God is not to give him something he needs, but to acknowledge the glory that is his already and thereby finding assurance in that acknowlegement. Jonathan Edwards, America's greatest philosopher said it like this,
"God is glorified not only by His glory's being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it.... He that testifies his idea of God's glory [does not] glorify God so much as he testifies also his approbation of it and his delight in it."
In other words, the creature can find no greater pleasure than in acknowledging the perfections of God.
The opposite of glorifying is blaspheming and that brings the creature no comfort at all. Speaking as one who has blasphemed and praised God, praise is better, MUCH BETTER.
Soli Deo Gloria.