Edwards on the God Centeredness of God 16


At least, a great part of the moral rectitude of God, whereby he is disposed to every thing that is fit, suitable, and amiable in itself, consists in his having the highest regard to that which is in itself highest and best. The moral rectitude of God must consist in a due respect to things that are objects of moral respect; that is, to intelligent beings capable of moral actions and relations. And therefore it must chiefly consist in giving due respect to that Being to whom most is due; for God is infinitely the most worthy of regard. The worthiness of others is as nothing to his; so that to him belongs all possible respect. To him belongs the whole of the respect that any intelligent being is capable of. To him belongs ALL the heart. Therefore, if moral rectitude of heart consists in paying the respect of the heart which is due, or which fitness and suitableness requires, fitness requires infinitely the greatest regard to be paid to God, and the denying of supreme regard here would be a conduct infinitely the most unfit. Hence it will follow, that the moral rectitude of the disposition, inclination, or affection of God CHIEFLY consists in a regard to HIMSELF, infinitely above his regard to all other beings; in other words, his holiness consists in this. (Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the World)

The Greatest Commandment is for men to love God with all of their being, that is, with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength. However, if we think about it, holiness is to be like God. What, then, does God love with all of His Being? Is there a being in the universe that He should love more than Himself? Is there a being somewhere that He should have a higher regard for than Himself? We have to arrive at the conclusion that if God is disposed to that which is fittest, most suitable, and most amiable in and of itself He must be disposed to Himself. It is only right that God should love Himself with all of His own being. In fact, God as triune lives in love for Himself and it is out of that love for Himself that all things were created and that all things have a reason for being rather than not being. God rejoices in Himself as triune and His own glory.

Since the Greatest Commandment (love God with all of our being) is the highest moral standard for men, and there is no one greater than Himself that God could love, it should be obvious and clear that the moral rectitude of God must consists in love for Himself. Since there is no greater object of love and there is no one worthy of greater moral respect, God has respect for Himself in terms of morality and He is His own greatest love. It would be immoral for Him to have a higher love for another being rather than Himself.

It is also quite obvious and clear that there is no one more worthy of respect than God Himself. He alone exists in and of Himself and all things are in utter dependence upon Him. He is perfect in holiness, righteousness, justice, and love. He is absolutely perfect in all that He is and does. There cannot possibly be One who is more worthy of respect than God, though it could also be said that all respect to other beings should flow from a respect for Him. We cannot imagine to whom all respect of the heart and mind should belong to other than God. Therefore, if that is true, then His respect and love to and for Himself is of the highest moral rectitude.

What we must see is that God is centered upon Himself and in that He is utterly just and holy and loving to do so. In fact, He would be less than perfect if He were centered upon another or others than Himself. This simply changes everything. The Gospel is centered upon God and not man. The Gospel is all about God’s love for Himself and His own glory. The cross of Christ is all about God first and foremost. Somehow men must be turned to see that they are not the center of all things, that they are not the center of the Gospel, and they are not the center of the love of God. God is the center of all things and that is the basis for all creation and all theology.

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