Friday, September 11, 2015

God’s Glory: Good News or Horror?

Usually, I emphasize how we humans, within the infinity of God, have finite creativity and choice, but today, I must admit, it seems Holly Spring Friends Meeting in North Carolina made me type this.

I would much rather write about hope and good news. It is with deep heartache, I proceed.

Here we go—
down to the

In the incredibly popular book, The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, the author gives a brief introduction into hard Calvinism, of how every single infant at conception is “in essence, evil” how most humans were foreordained to eternal damnation, etc. (pages 64, 84, 107 as I showed briefly in my previous post).

Why did all of that happen? According to Calvinists/Augustinians, it was for God's glory.

"God's passion is for his own glory." (page 53)

But the word "glory" in human history has
a very negative, often horrific past.
Just a glance through almost any historic
tome, and one can see how the term led to
millions of humans being persecuted, tortured,
raped, and slaughtered for the "glory of God."

Chandler takes us into the explanation of Reformed/Augustinian theology--that God is entirely self-focused!

According to Chandler, the true God is the “…God who is ultimately most focused on his own glory will be about the business of restoring us, who are all broken images of him. His glory demands it. So we should be thankful for a self-sufficient God whose self-regard is glorious.” (page 32)

“If God is most concerned about his name’s sake, then hell
ultimately exists because of the belittlement of God’s name…
(pages 44-45)

“From beginning to end, the Scriptures reveal that the foremost desire of God’s heart is not our salvation
but rather the glory of His own name. God’s glory is what drives the universe; it is why everything exists.
God’s glory is what drives the universe;
it is why everything exists.”
(pages 33-34)

“The point of everything is God’s glory alone so that to God alone will be the glory.” (page 35)

“Most of have been told that God created…because he desired fellowship with man…this idea is almost blasphemous.” (page 32)

“John Piper puts it this way: ‘…God’s aim in creating the world was to display the value of his own glory.’ (page 35)

Such thinking is the basis for why most Reformed claim that evil was predestined/foreordained/willed (by God's hidden will), because God predestined every single evil, every rape, every murder, every molestation
so that God could vanquish it and show how glorious God is.

That is why, according to John Calvin, that God willed the sin of the first humans.

And Chandler writes, "God essentially says, 'No one can come near me without blood. Somebody's got to pay for all of mankind's belittling my name.'" (page 60)

"God's chief concern is for his own glory." (page 105)

Even totally ignoring all the horrific results in history of this view of God, does this picture of God sound anything like 1 Corinthians 13 or John 3:16 or 1 John,
or what any caring father and mother would describe
to their children?

Compare this egotistical view of God’s glory according to Reformed writers such as Chandler with this:

That of God is love:

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
"4 God is patient and kind; God does not envy or boast; God is not arrogant 5 or rude.
God does not insist on God’s own way; God is not irritable or resentful;
6 God does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 God never ends."

Glory looked at in a wonderful way like that could make sense--to think of God as glorious, as ultimate infinite love, ultimate infinite goodness (or, even, as impersonal cosmic beauty).

Consider the ancient Jewish writer: "The heavens declare the glory of God..." (Psalm 19). Anyone who has gone out in the wilderness on a brilliantly clear November night and stared up at the starry sky understands this deep emotional response.

Or stand at Bass Point in the Grand Canyon and stare out into the almost boundless natural wonder, into the seemingly endless cliffs, gorges, plateaus, colorful rock strata, some strands going back a few billion years.

Various thinkers throughout history have emphasized the glory of existence and humankind's conscious life in it: "philosophy begins in wonder" (Plato).

"My sense of god is my sense of wonder about the universe. The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science...

"To know that which is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms-this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness."
Albert Einstein

Chandler could have focused on the wonder of the cosmos, it's natural beauty.

And then written extensively about the wonder of ethics--compassion, justice, and kindness, of how transcendent ethics are the ultimate expression of glory.

That would have been glorious.

But Chandler rejects that as a false view.) For him, such an outlook "is almost blasphemous."

After 55 years of seeking and studying about the nature of God (Ultimate Reality), I admit I know very little, am only a very finite, often self-focused, voyager who wants to live for what is true, good, just, compassionate, and beautiful.

But I do know that the Reformed/Augustinian version of God is a dead end. Actually, very much worse than that--it's a hellish eternal never-end, the everlasting damnation for God's glory of billions of humans. No hope, no love, no goodness, only God's self-centered glory, endlessly.

Such a concept of God's glory is horrific, and is terrible news, is despairing for billions of humans including my family. We were all predestined to eternal damnation for God's glory:-(

What horrific news, nothing good in this "glorious" evil…

The strangest horror of all is, why are Quakers in North Carolina promoting this book, this theological outlook?

Don’t they realize the despair of Chandler's beliefs? In his claim that all infants are "in essence, evil"?

In his claim that no humans have a choice, and that most of us humans were foreordained to eternal torture?!

That God only does what glorifies himself?!

Besides, Friends from the very beginning in the 1640’s totally rejected this terrible, inglorious theology.

Daniel Wilcox


Yekaterina Haussler said...

Hello, Daniel,
It is only despairing and hopeless if you choose to believe it. If you do not, trusting instead in your instincts and experience, as well as your own inner voice (which I honestly believe is the best adviser in life), then it's merely more nonsense.
When it comes to books on religion/religious study, I hold in high esteem the works of Father Alexander Men, a Russian Orthodox priest. His book, "Son of Man", explained many "shady" and unclear moments of the Bible and the Christian teachings in a very human, personal way.

Daniel Wilcox said...

Good afternoon Katya,

Well, of course, I don't believe such crap.
What is despairing is that so many millions of humans really do with fervor, including Friends. Why in the 21st century are so many brilliant people still thinking in damning, horrific, negative ways?

It baffles me. And does lead me to wonder if humans will ever escape the destructiveness of religion and ideology.

Yes, I remember you mentioned the Russian Orthodox priest and his book to me before.