Edwards on the God Centeredness of God 13


That if God himself be, in any respect, properly capable of being his own end in the creation of the world, then it is reasonable to suppose that he had respect to himself, as his last and highest end, in this work; because he is worthy in himself to be so, being infinitely the greatest and best of beings. All things else, with regard to worthiness, importance, and excellence, are perfectly as nothing in comparison of him. And therefore, if God has respect to things according to their nature and proportions, he must necessarily have the greatest respect to himself. It would be against the perfection of his nature, his wisdom, holiness, and perfect rectitude, whereby he is disposed to do everything that is fit to be done, to suppose otherwise. (Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World)

If Edwards is right and that God must necessarily have the greatest respect to Himself, then everything should be viewed in that light. Unless we so self-centered that we think that God must have primary respect to “me” or us in all that He does, this is a self-evident truth. In the fall man desired to be like God and now all people are born in selfishness and self-centeredness. We fail to see that our self-centeredness is a hideous pride and that our hearts are at enmity with the sovereign God who is holy in His self-centeredness. We want to love ourselves and think that is the standard rather than bow to God who is the real standard.

Our proud hearts are full of self and use self as the standard for God in our own minds and desires, but we refuse to bow to the God who because of His perfections in all ways must be His own standard for love and action. Our hearts are so practiced in the art of self-love that we simply cannot imagine that God does not excuse our sin as we excuse it. Out of our hearts of self-love we rationalize our sin and out of that same heart we think that this is acceptable to God. We cannot imagine that He would find fault when we have such a good excuse. However, God is His own standard and is necessarily so. Not only is our action seen as sin, but our rationalization is idolatrous and wicked as well. In our rationalization we make ourselves the standard rather than Him. That is wicked.

God is perfect in all ways and as such He is perfect in all He does. Since He is perfect in wisdom, it would behoove men to bow to His wisdom rather than follow their own, but proud man prefers to follow the ways of self-love and self-interest. In this man is trying to be like God and do all things out of his own self-interest, but God is perfect and man is not. All things came from God and nothing but sin flows from sinful man. Why would a perfect God who is perfect in wisdom and holiness do things for any other reason than the glory of His name? Not only that, but wouldn’t it be a contradiction to His own perfect wisdom and character to do something for another reason? A God with perfect wisdom would follow that perfect wisdom or He would not be perfectly wise. A God of perfect wisdom would do all things for the greatest good and purposes, and of course that would be for His own glory.

The living and true God is holy, holy, holy. While men do not try to search the holiness of God out and indeed try to make His holiness be more like themselves, and at times try to make themselves the standard for God to follow, God is perfect in holiness. In light of the perfections of God and that no one has any greatness other than what they are given by Him, there is no greater in holiness and any other attribute than God and a perfect holiness would indeed make God the goal or end of all that He does. Men chafe at this, but it is from His perfect holiness that God makes Himself His own goal and end in all that He does. It is a contradiction to the essential nature and character of God to think that God has greater goals and purposes other than Himself and His own glory.

All that has been created has been created for the glory of God and is intended to glorify God as long as He is pleased to uphold it. There is no greater reason (nor any other reason at all) for Him to create and there is no greater reason for Him to uphold all things in existence. If He is pleased to give light to our minds, then we can behold His glory in His creation, but even more we can know that our own very purpose is for His own glory as well. While we may think that if we are religious and if we are outwardly moral we are doing what we can, we are dead wrong in that. People are religious and moral for their own sakes and for their own purposes which is completely opposite of true Christianity and true morality. We exist for His glory and we are to love Him (in truth) and do all we do for His glory by His grace. That is the heart of Christianity and that is the heart of holiness.

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