Pat Mefford writes:
Recently, I’ve been fascinated by this concept of doing things for the glory of God. It’s an interesting answer to the question, “Why does the Creator bother to create?” but glory is an extrinsic property, one that God cannot ground by himself (one needs an ontologically separate thing to properly glorify that which deserves glory). How does the Presuppositionalist account for a property that God cannot ground but yet, seems dependent on?
While the question is interesting, the assumptions inherent in the question interest me more. First is the odd idea that seems to express that God is dealing with His creation as if it were not His intention from eternity. God, from eternity, purposed to create for His own glory, as He has revealed to us. This is why He “bothers” to create. For His own glory. Secondly, what is conspicuously absent from his inquiry is a definition of “glory” in regard to God’s nature. It is helpful to remember that Christ reveals to us that He shared the Glory of the Father before the world began, in John 17:5. Since this is the case, it no longer seems obvious that glory is an “extrinsic” property. In fact, it is not clear at all that God has “properties” in the typical sense of the term – and certainly not “extrinsic” properties. God, as we know, is a se – Who and What He is, is “of Himself”, and He is self-sufficient. This is most clearly expressed by God’s personal name, היה – YHWH, given first in Exodus 3:14. God has “attributes”, not “properties” – and they are identical with Him, per Simplicity, and certainly not extrinsic to Him.
Next, it is certainly the case that God displays Himself to be glorious to Himself, in His diversity of Person, and does so eternally and perfectly. It is not, therefore, clear that His glory somehow “requires” His creation, any more than He requires the existence of creation to be “Creator”, being eternal and immutable. God is glorious of Himself, manifesting His glory primarily to Himself, and secondarily to His creatures. The glorification of creatures is a reflection of His glory back to Him, not His glory of itself. This is a common misconception held by many, but easily rectified with a look at the Scriptural witness. God is perfect, and needs nothing – He is, of Himself, and of no other. He does not declare or manifest His glory for His own benefit – but for the benefit of His creatures, that they may fulfill their chief end – His glory. It does not do to simply state something contrary to orthodoxy. If one is to do so, it behooves the one stating it to make an argument for their position. It will necessarily fail, obviously, but this is not our concern. Our concern is to point out that what they are objecting to is a straw man of our position. It may be an unintentional mistake, or it may be an intentional change – but in either case, what they are dealing with is not our position, is it?
Scripturally, it is not the case that God is said to “need” anything from us. (Acts 17:25) God is self-sufficient. The above question virtually denies self-sufficiency in the asking of it. It also denies God’s perfection, aseity, immutability, simplicity, and eternality by extension – along with others we could enumerate, should we wish to use more space upon it. As it stands, the above should suffice. God, having glory of Himself from eternity, is self-revealed as glorious a se, self-sufficiently, immutably and in simplicity. All of these attributes are involved in one another, per simplicity – so by the nature of the case, if one is true, the rest follow. Hence, a denial of one is a denial of them all, as well.
Thus, we are not dealing with a “property God cannot ground” – but with an objection inapplicable to the nature of God. Further, it might be useful to follow this up with an inquiry as to the ability of the one objecting to ground his objection, since it is not made from Christian Theism. Should there be the objection that there was insufficient direct use of Scripture, I would refer them to Gill’s Body of Doctrinal Divinity, which quite admirably proves the revelational basis of all of the subjects herein discussed.
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