Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I exist to bring God the glory?

I was sitting in church a couple of weeks ago when the worship leader said something like this,
The Psalms say that God can do anything He wants! And what he wants is for us to bring glory to his name!
Not going to lie when I heard this, I cringed. My first thought was, "if that's God then he's kinda a jerk!" I have interacted with this type of language before, so while it made me cringe it wasn't shocking. It's really the derived product of a guy named John Calvin. His basic theme is that God created the world for his own glory! In case you haven't picked this up yet, this thought is the core piece of Calvinism.

I don't think that Calvinism actually takes the Trinity seriously, because when thinking about God like this, glory really isn't part of the equation. The Church believes that at the core of the Trinity is love. A community of three, forever joined together in eternal self-denying community. The Father does not look to bring glory to himself, but showers it all on the Son. The Son is continually giving glory to the Father. The Spirit is glorifying the Father and the Son. The Triune God is eternally is a community in a loving dance of deflecting glory; not self-glorification.

Often we miss the context of the creation story. The dominant creation story of the ancient world detailed a world that was created out of a power struggle, violence, and bloodshed. In the shadow of our story we find a God who loves creating. The type of creation that he creates is one that does more creation! God is not about glory, he is about relationship and love! To be about glory is not very loving at all. Instead its self-serving. It treats others as objects with which I use (aka objectification of others or demeaning their person-hood). 

Now this does not mean that God does not receive glory, because God always receives glory. It is part of his nature. Kind of like I naturally do not receive glory for whatever I do, it naturally happens that way. I have to do something to receive glory. For God, he does nothing and is glorified - simply because he is worthy to receive all of the glory - and receives glory for everything he does. So God does not have to be intentional about glory. Nor would the world need to be intentional about glorification of God - because it is going to happen anyways. The issue is love.

At the core of God is love. The Biblical story shows a God who created the world out of an overflow and abundance of love. He created humanity as a relational creature, who without love, their life is meaningless. It is this through this lens that we should understand our purpose for existence. 

What do you think?