Edwards and Piper on God’s Glory and Man’s Joy
Jonathan Edwards wrote:
God in seeking his glory seeks the good of his creatures, because the emanation of his glory . . . implies the . . . happiness of his creatures. And in communicating his fullness for them, he does it for himself, because their good, which he seeks, is so much in union and communion with himself. God is their good. Their excellency and happiness is nothing but the emanation and expression of God’s glory. God, in seeking their glory and happiness, seeks himself, and in seeking himself, i.e. himself diffused . . . he seeks their glory and happiness.
Thus it is easy to conceive how God should seek the good of the creature . . . even his happiness, from a supreme regard to himself; as his happiness arises from . . . the creature’s exercising a supreme regard to God . . . in beholding God’s glory, in esteeming and loving it, and rejoicing in it.
God’s respect to the creature’s good, and his respect to himself, is not a divided respect; but both are united in one, as the happiness of the creature aimed at is happiness in union with himself.
In his book, God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (which includes the complete text of Edwards’ The End for Which God Created the World), John Piper offers fifteen implications from Edwards’ words above
- God’s passion for his own glory and his passion for my joy in him are not at odds.
- Therefore, God is as committed to my eternal and ever-increasing joy in him as he is to his own glory.
- The love of God for sinners is not his making much of them, but his graciously freeing and empowering them to enjoy making much of him.
- All true virtue among human beings must aim at bringing people to rejoice in the glory of God.
- It also follows that sin is the suicidal exchange of the glory of God for the broken cisterns of created things.
- Heaven will be a never-ending, ever-increasing discovery of more and more of God’s glory with greater and ever-greater joy in him.
- Hell is unspeakably real, conscious, horrible and eternal – the experience in which God vindicates the worth of his glory in holy wrath on those who would not delight in what is infinitely glorious.
- Evangelism means depicting the beauty of Christ and his saving work with a heartfelt urgency of love that labors to help people find their satisfaction in him.
- Similarly Christian preaching, as part of the corporate worship of Christ’s church, is an expository exultation over the glories of God in his word, designed to lure God’s people from the fleeting pleasures of sin into the sacrificial path of obedient satisfaction in him.
- The essence of authentic, corporate worship is the collective experience of heartfelt satisfaction in the glory of God, or a trembling that we do not have it and a great longing for it.
- World missions is a declaration of the glories of God among all the unreached peoples, with a view to gathering worshippers who magnify God through the gladness of radically obedient lives.
- Prayer is calling on God for help so it is plain that he is gloriously resourceful and we are humbly and happily in need of grace.
- The task of Christian scholarship is to study reality as a manifestation of God’s glory, to speak about it with accuracy, and to savor the beauty of God in it.
- The way to magnify God in death is by meeting death as gain.
- “It is a Christian duty, as you know, for everyone to be as happy as he can.” (C. S. Lewis)