“Isn’t It Egotistical of God to Command Our Worship and Praise?’
Hi there! Someone once raised this objection that really bugs me… They asked whether it isn’t vain or egotistical of God to command our worship and praise and be so passionate about His own glory. While I certainly don’t agree that God could be vain or egotistical, I’m at a loss for how to respond to this objection. I can understand why some people read verses like these and conclude that God is tooting His own horn:
For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you. Isaiah 48:9
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:6-7
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. Isaiah 48:11
How would you respond to this objection to the Christian faith?
What a great question! I meditated on it for a couple of weeks.
God wants us to relate rightly to Him. Because He is so immense, so powerful, so sovereign, so righteous, so holy, so pure, so right, so good, so loving, so kind, so just, and most importantly, so glorious, relating rightly to Him means responding in awe, in fear, in love, in attraction, in worship, and in praise.
His commands are His loving gifts to us because He created and designed life to work the way it does, and His commands align with His design. The Ten Commandments are powerful because that’s the way He created life to function, and we are blessed when we obey. We have trouble when we disobey. His command to praise and worship him is no different because He knows that He is the only source of life. Being rightly related to God is the only way to enter into life, to get our empty souls filled up. Being rightly related to Him means humbly accepting our position as creatures, and affirming that He is God and we are not. It means praising, worshipping and glorifying Him and, as the Westminster Catechism starts out, “enjoying Him forever.”
God is not a limited, finite creature for whom it would indeed be prideful and arrogant to say, “Worship and praise me.” There is no sinful pride in His invitation to be rightly related to Him, to invite us to enjoy and partake in His glory.
We don’t look at the sun and say, “How arrogant of it to shine so brightly, to relentlessly give off heat and light that makes life possible on the earth.” It’s the nature of gargantuan balls of burning gas to do these things. Our response to the sun is one of respect, gratitude and fear: we can’t even look directly at it for more than a glance or it damages our eyes.
It’s not arrogant or prideful for God to shine with a radiance beyond a million suns. That’s what glory does: it radiates. It shines. That’s how He is, that’s who He is.
The God who created the billions of galaxies can pinch the entire universe between two fingers like a toddler picking up a Cheerio. This same God, who keeps the galaxies in motion just as He holds the atoms of physical matter together, not only revealed Himself through His prophets, He actually became one of us, then died in our place and came back to life just as He said He would.
The only response to that kind of God that makes any sense is to fall down at His feet and worship Him.
Thanks for writing!
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After reading this article from my Facebook, a friend sent me a link to a short essay on this subject he thought I’d enjoy. I did, and I’m posting it here because I bet you’ll enjoy like it too! C.S. Lewis’ Most Important Discovery
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