Why It’s Right for God to Seek and Demand Glory
When someone goes on and on about their accomplishments because they want to be praised, Christians regard that as prideful. It’s selfish. We call such a person a “glory-hound.” Yet Christians seem to give God a pass when he does exactly the same thing. The Bible tells us at length of God’s accomplishments because he wants to be praised. Some might then be inclined to say that this double-standard makes the God of the Bible prideful, selfish, and therefore immoral.
There are two things to be said in addressing this charge.
1 John 4:8 contains the well-known words, “God is love.” His being, character, and works define for us what love looks like. This is the most important consideration. Note well how Scripture doesn’t say that God became love. No, “God is love.” That means God always and in every circumstance is love. He has always been love – even before the universe was created and there were actual creatures in existence to love.
Now in order for God to be love, it’s necessary that there be someone to love. It’s true that Eph. 1:4-5 tells us of how God elected believers in love before creation. Even though we didn’t yet exist, God loved us in eternity. Yet even apart from that, God is love. He was loving not only creatures not yet in existence, but also loving persons who were.
This is where you need to remember your theology. God is Triune. He has eternally existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whom did God love? There was eternally existing love between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Before the universe was created, the Father loved the Son and vice-versa. Before Gen. 1:1, the Son love the Holy Spirit, and so on. This intra-Trinitarian love continues to this day.
Love seeks the glory of another (Eph. 5:25-27). If a husband loves his wife, he loves to see his wife do well and receive praise from others. If there’s eternally existing love in the Triune God, then it’s not selfish or prideful when God gives us the Bible to tell us about his glorious accomplishments. The Holy Spirit, who inspired the Scriptures where these things are revealed, did that because he loves the Father and the Son and longs to see them glorified. So, you see, because God is love, and because God is Triune, it’s not selfish or prideful for God to seek his glory through what Scripture says.
Second, we need to think about this in terms of what’s appropriate for the greatest Being in the universe. Think about it like this: I’m not an athlete. Not anywhere close. I’ve never played professional sports. But despite that, imagine if I’d somehow be awarded a prize for the best player in some sport like hockey or football. Everyone would see that’s totally inappropriate. It’s not fitting for a guy like me who’s a total klutz.
But what if such an award went to an actual player who’s good at the game? You’d readily agree that it’s more appropriate for him to get it than me. He’s a talented athlete. That player deserves the recognition and praise.
Now that’s just a pale comparison with God, the God of infinite majesty. “…His majesty is above earth and heaven” (Ps. 148:13). Ask yourself: what’s appropriate for that infinitely exalted God to receive? Doesn’t the transcendent Creator deserve all the glory and honour? Isn’t it fitting for us to lift up his Name in praise with our lips and lives?
In a sense, there is a double-standard, but there has to be. There has to be because we are weak, sinful creatures, and God is the infinitely good Creator. We have no right to any praise and glory. But because God is who he is, radically distinct from us, he has every right to praise and glory. It’s therefore not only loving for God to demand glory, it’s also necessary. This is why the Holy Spirit leads us to say, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Ps. 115:1).