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January 30, 2012

Comments

There is a subtle but important difference between the positions of Amy and Lewis.

Lewis emphasises the spontaneous upwelling of praise that results when we contemplate something we love.

Amy emphasizes the expected behavior toward that which deserves our praise. Stated bluntly, we praise God because it is what we "ought" to do. The implied command to express love and devotion is contradictory.

Amy's answer to the question of "Why praise God?" reminds me of a ballet teacher my daughters had many years ago. At the end of each lesson the students were required to say, "We love you Miss Jones."

Miss Jones may have been the best ballet teacher that ever lived and entirely worthy of praise--but the expression was contrived and mandatory, and therefore could not be sincere.

Lewis correctly points out the spontaneous nature of genuine praise. The Psalmist's expression of "Praise ye, the Lord!" is better understood not as a command, but as an invitation.

In other words, we get to express our love and appreciation to the One who doesn't need it but who graciously accepts and acknowledges us.

Amy's sculptor analogy focused on the feelings of the artist. Instead, I think we should consider ourselves as unimportant admirers of someone famous and wonderfully skilled. Imagine standing in the gallery enjoying his work and then the artist actually walks up to us and asks us what we think! It would be the thrill of a lifetime to be acknowledged and to be given the chance to applaud him in such a way.

From this example we see how praising God is for our benefit--not for God's.

Chris, thanks for your comment. I wasn't trying to place myself in opposition to Lewis. Rather, I was trying to address all aspects of this. It is both the right thing to do and a joyous overflow of love. I don't think you can ignore one part of this and get the full picture of what's going on.

I think it's very difficult for people to understand why praising God is the right thing to do--not just why we do it (out of love), but why it's right to do it. The fact is that God does command it (in places other than the Psalm mentioned). So we have to understand why it's right for Him to command it.

As for the artist reference, I wasn't referring to the feelings of the artist. Rather, I was trying to help people understand the injustice of it. It's unjust no matter how the artist feels. As I said, it's not "just, right, or good," and those are objective things, regardless of the artist's response. Seeing something is unjust is not the same as feeling insulted. The imagery was just to help people recognize the wrongness of dishonoring God.

Suppose we invented a line of conscious robots. Would we first make sure that worship and praise is at the top of their list of things to do? If not, then how much more ridiculous is the idea when we assume that God is vastly higher from us compared to us vs. robots?

“Think of a man with his wife. Doesn’t it bring him great joy to praise her?”

Of course. Now think of a man and an ant, a better analogy to God vs. man. Would the man care one way or the other if the ant praised the man for being so much more fabulous?

Ant vs. man isn't analogous to man vs. God. Ants aren't persons (nor are robots), and we have no relationship with them.

...Assuming that the idea of a "conscious robot" is absurd.

If, on the other hand, in a magical world we gave life to robots, I would indeed try to convince them to worship God.

Amy, I wasn't trying to describe your position as opposition to Lewis', but a difference in emphasis.

You stress the "rightness" of praising God. Lewis stressed the spontaneous joy.


Gallileo,

It would be a wonderful and joyous thing if a concious robot freely thanked and praised its maker for bringing it into existence.

If the robot was programmed to praise its maker, then all we have is an elaborate tape recorder.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be

Galileo,

When you say that a proper analogy of God to Man is that of Man to Ant, are you trying to slander God, flatter ants, or just assert some sort of grossly rearranged Aquinas-style Chain of Being?

What about the relation of Man to Bacteria? They exist in such wonderful harmony with us in our guts, but play such havok on our open sores. Then we smite them with antibiotics! So much more richly complicated and interwoven than our basically trivial interactions with arthropods.

I mean, if we're going to draw irrelevant parallels, we could at least do better than "man to ant" like some sitcom. And indeed I do recall Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle concluding that God was evil (or presumably nonexistent) because Dewey was callous and evil to ants, and couldn't see a difference between how he treated ants and the way God would be expected to treat men.

Of course, that was the reasoning of a socially maladjusted nine year old, on a television show. I certainly hope you aren't cribbing *his* notes.

Regarding this Lewis quote, and in agreement with Amy, here is John Piper:

There's the key: we praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise. If we were not allowed to speak of what we value and celebrate what we love and praise what we admire, our joy would not be full. Therefore, if God is truly for us, if he would give us the best and make our joy full, he must make it his aim to win our praise for himself. Not because he needs to shore up some weakness in himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because he loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can only be found in knowing and praising him, the most beautiful of all beings.

God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him self-exaltation is the highest virtue. When he does all things "for the praise of his glory" as Ephesians 1 says, he preserves for us and offers to us the only thing in all the world which can satisfy our longings. God is for us, and therefore has been, is now, and always will be, for himself. Praise the Lord! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.


http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/is-god-for-us-or-for-himself

"God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act."

Typical Piper. God the egotistical megalomaniac. I don't think so.

The argument, in relief, is this:

1) God wants us to do all of our moral duties.

2) We have a moral duty to praise God.

So,

3) God wants us to praise Him.

To escape this argument, you must either reject the idea that God wants us to do all of our moral duties, or you have to reject the idea that we have a moral duty to praise God.

It is just that simple. Anyone who wants to reject the conclusion. Please say which of the premises you reject.

I don't think we can reject either.

To reject the former lessens God either intellectually or morally. It either assumes that there is some level of detail that is just too much for God to care about, His mind just can't take it all in, or it assumes that God understands all the details of existence with perfect clarity, but He does not always want us to do the right thing because He's just not all that moral.

To reject the latter lessens us. If you don't have a duty to thank and praise the individual who made it possible for you to have duties in the first place, then you don't have any duties at all. The notion of duty as anything separate from the crass satisfaction of one's own desires is void. And with that notion goes all ideas that man is anything more than a particularly competitive animal.

Typical Cog/Jeff.
He'd rather God be an idolater, and thus, not God.

Amy, I wasn't trying to describe your position as opposition to Lewis', but a difference in emphasis.

But my position is the whole post, including Lewis's comments, which I used to express another aspect of praise that I hold to be equally true. I just want to make sure that you understand I used Lewis's words to express something I believe to be true about praise. I could have restated it in my own words instead (as I stated the other part of my post), but it wouldn't have been nearly as effective. But though I explored the joy aspect using Lewis's words, that doesn't make it less my position than the other part is.

Just another thought, about praise and worship.

We seem to assume that it means singing songs, or writing psalms, or some kind of flattering God-talk on our parts. While I'm sure God is pleased to be rightly praised (and quite unimpressed by platitudes), that isn't the core of loving him.

As Christ said, those who love him are those who know his commandments and keep them. Who honor their duty to God.

Or, as in Fiddler on the Roof, the husband (to paraphrase) points out that he's lived with his wife, put a roof on her head, laughed with her, cried with her, shared everything with her. He's been her partner in ever way, and honored her. To say "I love you" couldn't, in his mind, add to that, nor could it replace it. He's *shown* her his love, rather than told her about it.

The best praise and worship of God isn't to sing about him, but to (use a bit of poetic license) make our whole life a song to him. And that is why God really wants worship; because it is good for us, when it is good for us. He wills our good, as Other, and we'd be unhappy and unhealthy if we weren't grateful. We were made to find gratification in gratitude, it fulfills us. As Chesterton (I think) put it, the worst moment for an atheist is when he feels truly thankful for something, and realizes he has nobody to thank.

Daron,

Once more, with feeling....


IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR GOD TO BE AN IDOLATER!!!!!


AAUUUGGGGHHHHHH!!!


More Piper nonsense.

OK. Done with that. Apologies to the peanut gallery.

Praising God is the right thing to do, and we should do it as a response to His great love for us.

That is very different than saying God is constantly seeking praise, like some attention craving teenager.

Nice all caps, Jeff/Cog.
You are absolutely right (augh) God is not constantly seeking praise like some attention craving teenager.
But if you ever decide to read your Bible you will find that He is constantly commanding praise for the good.
Just look at the latest post (the atheist temple) to see what happens when people refuse to glorify the true God. Yes, if you, or God, elevate anything above Him in worth (like human free will, or loving people) you are creating an idol. Scream into your pillow all you want.

You can't miss it ....
John 4:23
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Hebrews 13: 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

Colossians 3:
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Ephesians 5:18 be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 12: 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”[f]

Jeremiah 13:11
For as the waistcloth clings to the loins of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory.

Ephesians 1:5 He predestined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.
:12
We who first hoped in Christ have been predestined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.

Isaiah 48:11
For my own sake, for my own sake I do it, my glory. I will not give to another"

Psalm 23: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousnes for His name's sake.

Isaiah 43
Israel’s Only Savior
 1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
   he who created you, Jacob,
   he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
...
7 everyone who is called by my name,
   whom I created for my glory,
   whom I formed and made.”

John 12:28 Father, glorify your name!”
   Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.

1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 —in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Pslam 43: 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, 
   to God my exceeding joy, 
and I will praise you with the lyre, 
   O God, my God.

Revelation 15:
4 Who will not fear, O Lord, 
   and glorify your name? 
For you alone are holy. 
   All nations will come 
   and worship you, 
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

maybe not ... :(

Anyway, in a moment of clarity Jeff/Cog said:

Praising God is the right thing to do, and we should do it as a response to His great love for us.

"Right".
"Should".
Indeed, it is our moral duty to praise God.
And our moral duties are those which God commands.
So even Jeff/Cog knows that God commands our praise and worship. But because he read it on STR first, and it is supported by Piper, he just has to fight about it.

Since Jeff/Cog, in his hurry to vent against Piper, has perfectly embodied the position being answered by this post, I will bring Lewis back to the question:

We all despise the man who demands continued assurance of his own virtue, intelligence or delightfulness;
...
Thus a picture, at once ludicrous and horrible, both of God and His worshippers, threatened to appear in my mind. The Psalms were especially troublesome in this way – ‘Praise the Lord,' 'O praise the Lord with me,' 'Praise Him.' . . . Worse still was the statement put into God's own mouth, 'whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoureth me' (50:23). It was hideously like saying, 'What I most want is to be told that I am good and great.' . . . It was extremely distressing. It made one think what one least wanted to think. Gratitude to God, reverence to Him, obedience to Him, I thought I could understand; not this perpetual eulogy. . . .”

....


The miserable idea that God should in any sense need, or crave for, our worship like a vain woman wanting compliments, or a vain author presenting his new books to people who never met or heard him, is implicitly answered by the words, 'If I be hungry I will not tell thee' (50:12). Even if such an absurd Deity could be conceived, He would hardly come to us, the lowest of rational creatures, to gratify His appetite. I don't want my dog to bark approval of my books.”

....

My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can't help doing, about everything else we value.”

....

Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”


http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/27-c-s-lewiss-most-important-discovery/


So it is not only some obnoxious blog commenter, or even Piper, that Cog is railing against, it is our perennial spokesman, C.S. Lewis.
But worse, he rails against God Himself.

This reminds me of Chris' first comment on this thread:

There is a subtle but important difference between the positions of Amy and Lewis.

Lewis emphasises the spontaneous upwelling of praise that results when we contemplate something we love.

Amy emphasizes the expected behavior toward that which deserves our praise. Stated bluntly, we praise God because it is what we "ought" to do. The implied command to express love and devotion is contradictory.

As you can see from the quote above, Lewis never thought it a contradiction.

Daron,

I don't trust Piper quoting Lewis with no context.

Amy said: "God is completely self-sufficient and doesn't need our praise and worship"

and

"Praising God—acknowledging His goodness, love, perfection, and all the incredible things He has done for us—brings Him pleasure."

Amy's statement, perfect. I never had any disagreement with her post.

Contrast with Piper: "God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him self-exaltation is the highest virtue."

Self exaltation the highest virtue. Horribly mistaken.

Piper, dead wrong. Again.

Daron,

Disagreeing with you, Piper, Lewis, (although I am not) or even, dare I say it, Brad,

is not the same as "railing against God".

For someone who was created to praise God, doing so is giving glory to God, pleasing to God, and a perfectly joyous act to the creature. The doing of praising is a lot like what Bennett described although we are burdened with toil and frustration because of the fall.

And Cog, since you mentioned me, I'll ask you to prove where Piper is wrong in what he said. He left a biblical reference. Either show where he errs or conform to the biblical record as Piper is trying to do. Of course this'll mean you have to construct a logical argument, we already know what your opinion is.

Here's a small handful of verses, leftover from some I saved about worship:

let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise

Praise the LORD with the harp;
   make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;
   play skillfully, and shout for joy.

worship the LORD in the splendor of his[a] holiness.
in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.
I will declare your name to my people; 
   in the assembly I will praise you.
Be exalted in your strength, LORD; 
   we will sing and praise your might.
Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; 
   I will sing the praises of your name.
11 Sing the praises of the LORD,
you are to rejoice before the LORD your God in everything you put your hand to.

He is the one you praise; he is your God,

Oh for crying out loud. A relatively long, unsaved comment is gone with more and more Bible references.
Oh well, here's the crux of it.

I don't trust Piper quoting Lewis with no context.
Nor do you bother to follow links, as that wasn't Piper. Nor do you bother to do any research of your own to see if the context is trustworthy. Nor do you bother to think logically, because Lewis' answer would make no sense if God did not command our praise.

Do you trust this guy to quote Lewis?
[Link removed by site moderator]

Here's another guy you won't trust.
http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/personal/k/64/Why-Worship-God.htm

Is It a Requirement?

A man once told me that He would never bow his knee to God. He argued, "What kind of father wants his own children to bow down to him?" He thought it to be strange because he did not want his children to bow down to him. Philippians 2:9-10 says, however, "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth." So high and great is Jesus that eventually the knees of everyone born or created will bend in reverent homage to Him. This man was so blinded that he did not understand even this.

We might consider understanding the worship of God as simple, but doing it is not always easy. It is simple only after we have learned some basic things about it. I Chronicles 16 largely consists of a psalm of praise and thanksgiving David composed to commemorate the bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to the Tabernacle in Jerusalem. In verse 29, David writes, "Give to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!"

Let us add to this Matthew 4:9-10, the occasion of Satan's third temptation of Christ in the wilderness. "And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.' Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve."'"

These two verses clearly establish the most basic element of why we must worship God: because He commands it!

Read more: http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/personal/k/64/Why-Worship-God.htm#ixzz1lCa9Sz7w

Self exaltation the highest virtue. Horribly mistaken.

Piper, dead wrong. Again.

Piper is bang-on right. You'd know this if you read him, Lewis, the Bible or the quotes I already supplied.

Disagreeing with you, Piper, Lewis, (although I am not) [yes you are] or even, dare I say it, Brad,

is not the same as "railing against God".


That's right. But disagreeing with God is. And that's what you are doing.

A few of the lost verses:
Psalm 96:
Sing to the LORD, praise His name.
Proclaim His glory among the nations.
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise.
He is to be praised above all gods.
Ascribe to the LORD, oh families of nations.
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name.
Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.


Psalm 95:
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;

1 Cor. 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 40:may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The LORD is great!”

Reading the minor prophets tonight.

Malachai 2:2
"If you don't take it to heart to honour My name", says the LORD of Hosts, "I will send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings."

5
"My covenant with him [Levi] was one of life and peace, and I gave these to him; it called for reverence and he revered Me and stood in awe of My name."

Daron/Brad,

As I have been saying all along, I don't disagree at all with the post above or with the many Bible verses saying we have a duty/obligation to praise God. Or that God enjoys our praises, or that it is good for us to praise.

What none of those verses do is say what Piper says: "God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him self-exaltation is the highest virtue."

Ephesians 1 says no such thing, even with the most gymnastical mangling of the text. No where in Ephesians 1 can we find it said that for God self exaltation is the highest virtue.

The Lewis quote also says no such thing, and thanks so much, Daron, for posting that link with the nude picture. That is the last link of yours I will trust. Fool me once.......

Not cool, Daron

Oh, I see ....
God commands our worship.
God does everything for the glory of His name.
God does everything for His own sake.
It is to our ultimate good to worship Him.
Everything we do is to be worship.
We are commanded to love God above all else, with every fibre of being.
Every living being is commanded to bow down before Jesus, and He seeks to return to that glory.

God is perfectly good.
God does no wrong.
Jesus has no sin.

Nothing is to be exalted above God.

God is love.

-----
So God exalts Himself above everything else, God commands that we do as well, it is for our good that we do, God is loving us in doing so, and God never does anything wrong.

And yet Jeff/Cog claims that Piper is wrong, dead-wrong, yet again, for saying that this characteristic of God is a virtue, and that it is a loving act.

Talk about gymnastics.

-----

Wow, Jeff/Cog, I am sorry that out of the hundreds of links I have used on this blog (I know you've only followed one or two, though), and in hastily reconstructing my last comment, I didn't think about the consequences of linking to a site that had a photo on a girl's naked back on the sidebar.
Honestly, I wasn't thinking very well when I used that.
I could have anticipated that it wasn't a great move and might have found the material elsewhere.

However, this is the height of dishonesty (for a dishonest commenter) for you to go into paroxysms and pretend that there was some nefarious purpose on my part, that you are somehow in danger, or that you need a better excuse to escape following evidence and doing your homework.
Not to excuse my carelessness, but you see worse on billboards everyday, and can't help but see worse if you search the internet at all for information.

But if you want to strike the pose of a fainting daisy to escape another mirey pit that you've dug yourself, well, I can't blame you.
It beats changing your name to try again, doesn't it?

We all despise the man who demands continued assurance of his own virtue, intelligence or delightfulness; we despise still more the crowd of people round every dictator, every millionaire, every celebrity, who gratify that demand. Thus a picture, at once ludicrous and horrible, both of God and His worshippers, threatened to appear in my mind. The Psalms were especially troublesome in this way – ‘Praise the Lord,’ ‘O praise the Lord with me,’ ‘Praise Him.’ … Worse still was the statement put into God’s own mouth, ‘whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoureth me’ (50:23). It was hideously like saying, ‘What I most want is to be told that I am good and great.’ … It was extremely distressing. It made one think what one least wanted to think. Gratitude to God, reverence to Him, obedience to Him, I thought I could understand; not this perpetual eulogy… .

It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men. It is not of course the only way. But for many people at many times the ‘fair beauty of the Lord’ is revealed chiefly or only while they worship Him together. Even in Judaism the essence of the sacrifice was not really that men gave bulls and goats to God, but that by their so doing God gave Himself to men; in the central act of our own worship of course this is far clearer – there it is manifestly, even physically, God who gives and we who receive. The miserable idea that God should in any sense need, or crave for, our worship like a vain woman wanting compliments, or a vain author presenting his new books to people who never met or heard him, is implicitly answered by the words, ‘If I be hungry I will not tell thee’ (50:12). Even if such an absurd Deity could be conceived, He would hardly come to us, the lowest of rational creatures, to gratify His appetite. I don’t want my dog to bark approval of my books.

But the most obvious fact about praise – whether of God or anything – strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless … shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise – lovers praising their mistresses [Romeo praising Juliet and vice versa], readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game – praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars… . Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible… . I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?’ The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with… .

If it were possible for a created soul fully … to ‘appreciate’, that is to love and delight in, the worthiest object of all, and simultaneously at every moment to give this delight perfect expression, then that soul would be in supreme beatitude… . To see what the doctrine really means, we must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God – drunk with, drowned in, dissolved by, that delight which, far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable, hence hardly tolerable, bliss, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression, our joy is no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds. The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.
C.S. Lewis

This is not working.

I see now why I had not first noticed the offending picture. When I went through my history to find the link to reconstruct the comment I landed on the page and saw the first paragraphs - the girl was below the page.
When I did a search for "command", she was above.
So I wasn't reminded of it again. When I had seen it I thought nothing of it and had never really registered it, as news items and health ads on sidebars often have similar and worse pictures, as does every magazine rack at every convenience store.
But I apologize that I was not more sensitive, and was blinded by my desensitization.

Since you were likely too offended to actually read the quote, it is to follow. I'll do a separate comment to try to get it through.

[Daron, your full C.S. Lewis quote comment has been restored from spam.]

Thank you, Moderator.

Some day, I'll have to purpose myself read Lewis, he's been way low on my list for too long. That quote by Daron is siad well what I think any informed Christian ought to think about our purpose and duty to worship God and thus fulfill our ultimate end wth complete satisfaction.

Hi Brad,
I watched a great exchange between John Piper and Doug Wilson yesterday. It was a live stream and I haven't looked yet to see if it can be linked. How I wish our Piper haters could see it, and COULD SEE it.
Both men were great when talking about Lewis. Wilson said he was the theologian who had the most impact on him (hang on a second .... :)
He said Lewis' humour and logic were amazing and his way of looking at the world unique and infectious. He saw the forest and the tree, and everything else. Through this filter Wilson then was able to absorb other theologians like Calvin, Edwards and others he named.
Piper said that Lewis gave him the kindling and wood and that God, the Bible and other theologians then lit it.
Even though Lewis got things wrong, Wilson said, and horrendously at times, he loves him and wouldn't trade him off. It was his way of thinking and writing and his deep understanding of Who God is.

Anyway, I can't remember everything, but it was pretty good.

As an aside, I was speaking for years with someone buried in New Age, Wayne Dyerism. As he opened up to reading and viewing materials I gave him the books Joshua, The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity. To read in that order. He did become a Christian.
There is something about the clear but deep writing of Lewis, and the common sense portrait of God, that can knock down barriers.

Funny how the single person but two headed Jeff/Cog refers to Daron and I as Daron/Brad as though he's not alone on the blogosphere circulating a two headed avatar in a duplicitous way.

May it be known that Daron is always Daron, and I've been Brad B on this site for 5 years or more and before that when there wasn't confusion from another Brad, I didn't have the second inital. Anyway, housekeeping aside I want to revist Cog's dismissal of Eph. 1.

So Cog, here is Eph 1:3-12

"Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
Eph 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
Eph 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
Eph 1:8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight
Eph 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him
Eph 1:10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him
Eph 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
Eph 1:12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory."

So, vs's 3-10 talk all about what God did from the beginning, vs11 tells why He did, vs 12 tells for what end.

There is no gymnastics here, there is no vagueness in this scripture passage. You just dont see it because you dont know of God as sovereign, like He blessed, He chose, He predestined, He forgave, He lavished, He made known to us, He did that for His own reason.

Explain yourself please.

(here we go again ... breaking a comment into sections to try to get it to post)

While Jeff/Cog is on one of his breaks, let me re-explore what has raised his pique this time.

When I quoted John Piper in support of Amy's thesis and in further discussion of the Lewis quote, Cog clipped this and said:

"God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act."(Piper)

Typical Piper. God the egotistical megalomaniac. I don't think so.


God, the egotistical megalomaniac.

But that doesn't sound typical of, or at all like what Piper was saying:


Therefore, if God is truly for us, if he would give us the best and make our joy full, he must make it his aim to win our praise for himself. Not because he needs to shore up some weakness in himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because he loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy
...
God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act.

So where does Cog get his idea of God's weakness in Piper's claim?
Options include 1) God's seeking praise, and 2) God's commanding praise.

Cog says it is in the seeking:

Praising God is the right thing to do, and we should do it as a response to His great love for us.

That is very different than saying God is constantly seeking praise, like some attention craving teenager.


Of course he ignores all the denials, Piper's and Lewis' that this seeking does represent weakness, as Cog asserts it does.
He also ignores the Bible to make this claim. Mostly, though, he just wanted to say Piper's utterances are nonsense.

In answer, I show from another source that the Lewis quote already dismisses this claim of weakness behind God's seeking:

The Psalms were especially troublesome in this way – ‘Praise the Lord,' 'O praise the Lord with me,' 'Praise Him.' . . . Worse still was the statement put into God's own mouth, 'whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoureth me' (50:23). It was hideously like saying, 'What I most want is to be told that I am good and great.'
....


The miserable idea that God should in any sense need, or crave for, our worship like a vain woman wanting compliments, or a vain author presenting his new books to people who never met or heard him, is implicitly answered by the words, 'If I be hungry I will not tell thee' (50:12). Even if such an absurd Deity could be conceived, He would hardly come to us, the lowest of rational creatures, to gratify His appetite. I don't want my dog to bark approval of my books.”

....


Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”

Without looking at the source Cog said he would not trust this Lewis quote because it came from Piper (it didn't, though).

But what could context add? That Lewis actually agreed with Cog that if God seeks praise He is like a vain schoolgirl? No, this is exactly what the Lewis argument denies.
What then? Maybe that God commands this praise.

But Cog himself showed that God commands it when he said praising God was our moral duty. For the Christian theist moral duties derive from God's commands.

So Lewis, with the copious Bible verses, shows that God seeks our praise and commands it. And this does not make God an egotistical megalomaniac.

Why must it be that Piper's statement does, then?
Cog again asserts:

Self exaltation the highest virtue. Horribly mistaken.

Piper, dead wrong. Again.

But he admits to agreeing with Amy and Lewis and the OP.
In the OP Amy called our praise a command:

Luckily, this is not a difficult command to follow, for when we truly love Him, our praise will flow naturally from that love.

And Lewis above did as well.


So this objection is lost when Cog agrees with Amy and Lewis and when He admits it is our moral duty to praise God.
In fact, he has to admit solidarity with all of the above:

As I have been saying all along, I don't disagree at all with the post above or with the many Bible verses saying we have a duty/obligation to praise God. Or that God enjoys our praises, or that it is good for us to praise.
God does seek and command our praise, and this is right, and this is for our greatest good.

So what's his complaint?
It is not in the seeking.
It is not in the commanding.

What's left? He quotes Piper again, against which his only argument has been "I don't think so":

What none of those verses do is say what Piper says: "God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him self-exaltation is the highest virtue."

All that's left to complain about is Piper's calling this "the highest virtue".

Surely it is a virtue, since God is perfectly good and does no wrong, and we've already seen this includes His seeking and commanding praise.

So all Cog is left with is Piper's audacious claim that not only is it a virtue, but it is the highest virtue.

So either Cog thinks God has at least one other virtue higher or coequal with this. Since Piper's point was not about a hierarchy of virtues (this statement is not about absolute rankings) this seems like weak ground to cause Cog's reactions when he agrees with all of the premises leading to it:

Typical Piper. I don't think so. Horribly mistaken.

Piper, dead wrong. Again.

ps. A case could be made from the first three Commandments and from Jesus' answer about the greatest command that God's exaltation is the highest of virtues.

Did I hear a door slam shut? I think I did, no...I'm sure I did.

Here's that Piper/Wilson link, if you're interested Brad.
http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/the-supremacy-of-christ-in-all-of-life-the-pastor-and-his-worldview

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