God’s God Centeredness 2

From Jonathan Edwards

This propensity in God to diffuse himself, may be considered as a propensity to himself diffused; or to his own glory existing in its emanation. A respect to himself, or an infinite propensity to and delight in his own glory is that which causes him to incline to its being abundantly diffused, and to delight in the emanation of it. Thus, thatnature in a tree, by which it puts forth buds, shoots out branches, and brings forth leaves and fruit, is a disposition that terminates in its own complete self. And so the disposition in the sun to shine, or abundantly to diffuse its fulness, warmth, and brightness, is only a tendency to its own most glorious and complete state. So God looks on the communication of himself, and the emanation of his infinite glory, to belong to the fulness and completeness of himself; as though he were not in his most glorious state without it.

Thus the church of Christ, (toward whom and in whom are the emanations of his glory, and the communication of his fulness,) is called the fulness of Christ; as though he were not in his complete state without her; like Adam without Eve. And the church is called the glory of Christ, as the woman is the glory of the man, 1 Cor. xi. 7. Isa. xlvi. 13. I will place salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory. —Indeed, after the creatures are intended to be created, God may be conceived of as being moved by benevolence to them, in the strictest sense, in his dealings with them. His exercising his goodness, and gratifying his benevolence to them in particular, may be the spring of all God’s proceedings through the universe; as being now the determined way of gratifying his general inclination to diffuse himself. Here God acting for himself; or making himself his last end, and his acting for their sake, are not to be set in opposition; they are rather to be considered as coinciding one with the other, and implied one in the other. But yet God is to be considered as first and original in his regard; and the creature is the object of God’s regard, consequently, and by implication, as being as it were comprehended in God; as it shall be more particularly observed presently.

But how God’s value for, and delight in, the emanations of his fulness in the work of creation, argues his delight in the infinite fulness of good in himself, and the supreme regard he has for himself; and that in making these emanations, he ultimately makes himself his end in creation; will more clearly appear by considering more particularly the nature and circumstances of these communications of God’s fulness. One part of that divine fulness which is communicated, is the divine knowledge. That communicated knowledge, which must be supposed to pertain to God’s last end in creating the world, is the creature’s knowledge of him. For this is the end of all other knowledge; and even the faculty of understanding would be vain without it. And this knowledge is most properly a communication of God’s infinite knowledge, which primarily consists in the knowledge of himself. God, in making this his end, makes himself his end. This knowledge in the creature, is but a conformity to God. It is the image of God’s own knowledge of himself. It is a participation of the same; though infinitely less in degree: as particular beams of the sun communicated are the light and glory of the sun itself, in part.

Besides, God’s glory is the object of this knowledge, or the thing known; so that God is glorified in it, as hereby his excellency is seen. As therefore God values himself, as he delights in his own knowledge, be must delight in every thing of that nature: as he delights in his own light, he must delight in every beam of that light; and as he highly values his own excellency, he must be well pleased in having it manifested, and so glorified.

Another emanation of divine fulness, is the communication of virtue and holiness to the creature: this is a communication of God’s holiness; so that hereby the creature partakes of God’s own moral excellency; which is properly the beauty of the divine nature. And as God delights in his own beauty, he must necessarily delight in the creature’s holiness; which is a conformity to and participation of it, as truly as a brightness of a jewel, held in the sun’s beams, is a participation or derivation of the sun’s brightness, though immensely less in degree. And then it must be considered wherein this holiness in the creature consists, viz. in love, which is the comprehension of all true virtue; and primarily in love to God, which is exercised in a high esteem of God, admiration of his perfections, complacency in them, and praise of them. All which things are nothing else but the heart exalting, magnifying, or glorifying God; which, as I showed before, God necessarily approves of, and is pleased with, as he loves himself, and values the glory of his own nature.

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