Who glorifies who?

Recently I was listening to a great preach by Mark Driscoll a church leader in Seattle and he said something that got me thinking about Mormonism.

“Do you exist to glorify God, or does God exist to glorify you” (Paraphrase)

he went on to say “Is our greatest need that we should show forth all of our glory or is our greatest true need that God would receive His glory?”

What I want to look at in this post is how does Mormonism take away Gods true place of His glory? And how is anyone missing out by not truly giving God the glory He deserves?

One thing I would say to Christians and Mormons or anyone else reading is do you know that God actually loves Himself more than He loves you? Christ died on the cross to glorify God more than He did it out of love for Humanity, God saves us to glorify Himself, He is all glorious and He knows it.

However please do not think in this post I am saying God does not love Humanity as He does more than any of us could imagine however God is the only being in existence where self seeking is actually good, as His nature and His ways are perfect if He seeks Himself He is actually seeking perfection, if you or I did that we would be seeking an imperfect sinful person.

Some people say is this not arrogance on Gods part to love Himself more than anything? The answer is no it is not, for if He held anything else above Himself He would be committing idolatry, God is glorious more than we could ever imagine and for Him to hold Himself first in His every action is actually the best thing He could so for us and satisfies our true need in life.

Lets move this to the bible. I am going to use the New American Standard version of the bible which is the one I use as it is a bit more clear, however LDS people feel free to follow along with your King James version 🙂

Isaiah 43:1-7

1But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
2“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
3“For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.
4“Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
5“Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
6“I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back ‘
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
7Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”

We are precious in His sight and made for His glory!

Jeremiah 13:11

For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.’

Gods desire for the people of Israel was that they would be a people for His praise and glory, however they did not do this, so God sent His son to die for us so that all could be His people, however this goal of a people for His glory has not stopped there.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

If you are a Christian you are a part of this royal priesthood, holy nation a people for His possession so that (meaning this is why the part before is the case) you would proclaim the excellencies of Him, the new testament is littered with hints that we are saved for His glory.

Think of the classic text that Christians use to show that salvation is by grace alone and not works.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

There is so much more in this text than just we are not saved by works, this text shows that we are saved for His glory, it says we are saved by faith and not of ourselves, meaning we dont even get credit for the faith as it is a gift of God!

Then it says so that no man may boast, this is so important as it says that no Christian can ever look at another less valiant Christian and think to themselves “I am so glad I work harder than that person, my salvation is more secure”. This is not possible as your salvation is not of yourself.

Then v10 turns it around and says you are His workmanship saved for good works! What this is saying is that you cannot take any glory for your works as they have not saved you, however God saves you as a gift by His works so you can then do good works, seems like a bit of a headbender but its all with such a great purpose, God wants us to do works out of love in order to glorify Him, not so that we are doing them in any way to earn our salvation because our salvation is His work.

This is all because we are created for His glory! We will spend eternity glorifying Him, see this picture of heaven in the book of Revelation

Revelation 5:11-13

11Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,

12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

13And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

Every living thing, it says which is in heaven will be there worshipping Christ, how many is that do you say? The Answer is everyone in heaven will be doing this, if this does not excite you then you need to be born again and come to know Christ, as when you know Him in this life then spending eternity with Him will only be an exciting thought, the Apostle Paul reflects this excellently

Philippians 1:21-23.

21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.

23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;

Paul shows here that His only desire is Christ, whether to die and be with Him or to stay in this world and produce fruit for Him, either way its all about Christ.

I hope I have shown that biblically we are created by God for God, we are created by a God who loves Himself above all so that we might love Him above all for eternity, John Piper a great Christian preacher said that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. Nothing else in this world not even good religious works are a patch on truly knowing Christ and bringing Him glory. And He wants you to know Him as closely as possible so you are as satisfied in Him as you can possibly be.

So Mormons going back to the original question are you here to glorify God or is He there to glorify you? What do Mormon texts say?

In Mormon Scripture the book of Moses 1:39 it says this

For behold, this is my awork and my bglory—to bring to pass the cimmortality and deternal elife of man.

In my experience this is what a Mormon believes that God is there for our good, to help us in our plan of salvation to become a god ourselves (which is what eternal life means in LDS theology) as this is what God went through Himself as a man. So God goes from being an infinite eternal God seeking His own glory to an exalted man whose purpose is to glorify us.

Spencer W Kimball a previous Mormon Prophet said “After death we continue to learn. Exaltation means godhood, creatorship. ‘As man now is, God once was: as God now is, man may be.‘” (The teachings of Spencer W Kimball p.53)

Thomas Monson Current Mormon Prophet said “It is the celestial glory (godhood) which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings must be earned”. (Thomas S. Monson, On the Lord’s Errand: The memoirs of Thomas S. Monson, 1985 p.342)

So this is basically saying we desire godhood, under God but it must be earned. This has been said time and time again and is generally accepted within Mormonism.

The Gods who dwell in the Heaven have been redeemed from the grave in a world which existed before the foundations of this earth were laid. They and the Heavenly body which they now inhabit were once in a fallen state… they were exalted also, from fallen men to Celestial Gods to inhabit their Heaven forever and ever.” (The Seer, Jan 1853, p.23 quoted in the Salt Lake City Messenger, Nov. 1994, p.6.)

Which heaven?

So back to the original question are you there to glorify God? Or really is He there to glorify you? if you think Gods purpose is to bring to pass your eternal life then you do not know God at all, the God of the bible is glorious and seeks His own glory and has created us in such a way that this is the only thing that can truly satisfy us, not religion but a relationship with Him. Mormonism does what so many other cults and religions do, this is to minimize God and elevate man, do not stand for it any longer look to the bible and trust in this glorious God!

7 thoughts on “Who glorifies who?”

  1. the only thing i disagree with here is i dont feel god loves himself more than us for we are his children and he would do anything for us youve made it sound like he’s selfish and i dont think he is because he teaches us not to be x

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    1. Hey Cheryl its a tough point to grasp I know just check over the bible verses I said and have a think about it, if God puts Himself first rather than us it means that everything He does for us is 100% to glorify Himself and that means if we are created in such a way that this is what satisfies us then we come out of it fully satisfied.

      Read this preach and see what you think http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/is-god-for-us-or-for-himself

      For God to love us more than Himself would mean He is breaking the first commandment as He would actually have something He holds higher than God (Himself) in which case He sins and ceases to be God, no one wants that 🙂

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  2. Thanks once again Bobby for putting across very simply what could potentially be a complicated subject.
    Its also something I feel is not taught very much in christian churches or circles too, and it serves as a good reminder to christians and a stark warning to mormons.

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  3. Bobby, Here is a friendly Mormon response to your thoughts.

    This was an interesting post. Partially because of your strange ideas about God’s priorities, and partially because of you’ve missed the mark in your interpretation of Mormon though.

    (1) It is troubling that you characterize God as being self-centered and only looking towards himself. That definitely is not how Mormons generally view Heavenly Father. We sense God as being more of a parent who loves his children and would do anything in his power to bless them. That is how he is characterized in the scriptures. We don’t see God as being so self-absorbed that we exist merely as pawns for his own self-satisfaction and hubris. The whole point of Christ’s incarnation and atonement for man was that God humbled himself and, for a time, emptied himself of his divinity (in some sense) so that he could intervene on behalf of fallen man and make it possible for man to be saved, and thus receive a portion of glory that man would otherwise have no portion of. It was the ultimate example of humility and selflessness, and yet you would characterize it as being the ultimate example of self-centeredness? Really?

    (2) On the other hand, there is certainly a strong thread throughout Mormonism that emphasizes that God is all glorious and man is nothing before him. (For example, see Mosiah 4.) God’s work ultimately achieves two purposes simultaneously: the glorification of God *and* the glorification of his children. It is a reciprocal relationship…when one of God’s children are honored it furthers glorifies and honors God. That is the whole point of Moses 1:39. I don’t know you were able to read that passage and not see that it is God who is being gloried when man receives immortality and eternal life.

    (3) FYI, I read the same Bible passages you’ve shown and I don’t see anything in them that could possibly be problematic for Mormonism.

    (4) Regarding this comment of yours:

    “For God to love us more than Himself would mean He is breaking the first commandment as He would actually have something He holds higher than God (Himself) in which case He sins and ceases to be God, no one wants that.”

    Christ noted that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart. That is what you have focused on. But, the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. If God is under obligation to keep the first commandment, he is under obligation to keep the second commandment. He must love himself and love us, his children (his neighbors) with all of his heart. He simultaneously accomplishes this and explains it in Moses 1:39. His work and his glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

    James

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    1. Thanks James, some good points there and I think you have shown a hole in my thinking at the end there.

      (1) I can see your problems with this and I dont think I have emphasised enough in my post that God does truly love us massively and that what Christ did on the cross was for us, however what I am talking about is what is Gods first priority.

      I believe God could have not created us at all and that would have been fine, He created us to bring Himself pleasure, He has created us in such a way that knowing Him brings us pleasure so its a twofold deal, my point about Jesus on the cross was that He actually did it first and foremost to appease Gods wrath against sin past present and future,

      Romans 3:25
      whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.

      Gods righteousness had to be displayed, there were sins in the past that had not been dealt with and on the cross this demonstrated His righteousness and defeat of sin, yes it was done out of love for us but it was also done to demonstrate His righteousness!

      In Isaiah 53 we see it was Gods pleasure to crush Him, why was it something God took pleasure in? It was because through it His righteousness was shown.

      In this post what I am really trying to show is that God is free to do whatever He wants, He is over everything, limitless, endless, timeless, and He knows it, how could He put anything before Himself, however despite all that He created us, sent His Son for us and sustains us simply because He wants to do so, not because He is bound by some eternal law that even He is subject to, no He is bound by nothing yet created us out of His good pleasure, this should be amazing to us not something to be put off by. So yes God is self centrred but He is the only being in existence where putting Himself first is actually the ultimate act of love for all humanity.

      Please have a read through the link I posted on my comment and tell me what you think

      (2) I appreciate what you have said here and dont have too much problem, I appreciate your point about the Moses comment however what I am saying is that actually Gods work and glory is to bring glory to Himself, mans eternal life is one of the ways that comes about however mans eternal life is not the goal. Basically I means mans eternal life is not the end it is the means to the end, Gods glory is His end. Does that make sense?

      Also I know that in the context of Mormonism God is bound by various laws and actually does what He does with humanity because He is following the eternal laws all other gods follow rather than He does what He does out of the freedom that He has being a limitless God, however again I have not stated that clearly however am I right in that?

      (3) So you dont see anything problematic in God doing what He does firstly out of regard with Himself before humanity?

      (4) Yep you got me on this one, however I was not saying that God is bound by all of the 10 commandments I was more using them to support my view and I concede that if I used it for one thing I would have to use it for them all.

      The reason why God cannot follow this is because while I say that God loves Himself above all then He cannot love us as Himself as there we have a contradiction, however we can follow the commandment to love God above all and love our neighbours as ourself as then we are loving God more than our neighbours, God being God therefore is in a different situation here as He is not human do you see what I mean?

      However again I do concede in the fact that the 10 commandments are Gods laws to us not to Himself.

      (I have edited this so please respond to this comment not what you got by email thanks)

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  4. Bobby,

    I appreciate that we are trying to keep this discussion friendly.

    (1) Regarding the concept you are promoting, that God places himself first before us, I think your best statement was this: “He is the only being in existence where putting Himself first is actually the ultimate act of love for all humanity.”

    Fine. If this works well in your Evangelical worldview then I won’t complain too much. This isn’t really a topic that I’ve explored very much, so I don’t know what else to say about it other than what I already have. I’m sure there are Mormons who don’t see it exactly as I do, but I’ve always felt that God’s primary motivation in his actions on man’s behalf was love for us, not love for himself. Remember, we come from a very different position in regard to the eternal nature of men’s souls, and I suspect that has something to do with our respective approaches.

    (2) In response, I would say that man’s eternal life is the primary focus of God’s actions, and that God’s own glorification is a by-product. You’ve noted that Jeremiah 13:11 ascribe’s God’s motivation to his own self-glorification, but Isaiah 63:7-9 ascribe’s his motivation to his “lovingkindness”. I think there is room for both motivations (self-glorification and love), and now we are haggling over which is primary. From my perspective, self-centeredness is unacceptable as a primary motivator in God’s dealings.

    I want to make a few comments about this statement of yours:

    “Also I know that in the context of Mormonism God is bound by various laws and actually does what He does with humanity because He is following the eternal laws all other gods follow rather than He does what He does out of the freedom that He has being a limitless God, however again I have not stated that clearly however am I right in that?”

    I don’t think this is a true representation of LDS beliefs. It seems you are getting your understanding of LDS beliefs about God and gods from anti-Mormon sources, cherry-picked quotations, and blog posts at MRM, instead of really studying LDS scriptures on these topics. We don’t believe there is a standard template that all “gods” have to follow and that that is the only reason why our Heavenly Father does what he does. Our God is indeed limited in some ways, but not in the radical ways you have suggested and not anymore than your God is limited. Face it, especially in Arminian theology, God is limited. He can’t just do whatever he wants. He faces some limitations. We can talk about that more if you want.

    (3) Clever, but not that clever. I’m directly challenging the notion that the scriptures in general teach that God’s primary motivation is self-centeredness. For now I won’t deny that glory has something to do with it, but it is not the primary motive.

    (4) Maybe you can help me here. Where is it commanded to love God “above all else”? I’m coming up short in my search for that commandment.

    James

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    1. Hey James friendly discussion is always good thanks for replying.

      (1) Thats a fair point James, I think this is going to become a regular focus for me in the weeks and months to come in various forms as I think this is very key, so in the very least this may help you understand this perspective but thanks for your cool attitute about it.

      (2) Interesting, again I will accept our views are different on your first part so I will leave it at that, however your disagreement the the LDS God is bound by various laws interests me I thought that was the standard view, I guess I was wrong, watch this space I will do some research and I will either do a post on it or admit I am wrong.

      (3) Darn I tried 🙂 again we disagree but lets not use up all of our energy on this subject yet as there is more to come.

      (4) Ok lets focus on this one a bit.

      In the Old testament the first commandment is “ONE: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.”‘

      So what are the other gods? I would say they are anything that could be put in the place of god as there are no other gods, you may say it is the literal other gods I am not sure?

      Jesus in Matthew puts it like this

      Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).

      This is much more clear and suggests what I thought about the Old Testament passage, so Jesus says love God with every fibre of your being, every part of you, and then it says love your neighbour as yourself, this to me suggests that you are to love God more than your fellow neighbour and more than yourself.

      This goes on with other words of Jesus.

      Matthew 10:37
      He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

      Luke 14:26
      If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

      Ok so if you love your mother and Father, Son or Daughter more than Him you are not worthy of Him, and He even says you must hate your family and your life to be His disciple, in the context of the bible I would say what He is saying is He must be put first before all of them, the LDS church focuses so much on the family it misses what is actually most precious, the bible is unashameadly clear on this

      Matthew 10:34-35
      Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
      35″For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW;
      36and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.

      Again in the context of the bible you are heavily called to love your family, however if there is a choice between your family and Christ, Christ says you put Me first!

      This is the case for me and many or most of the Christians I know, everything we have is Gods, our family possessions anything and its all something He has the right to take away and that He has the ultimate significance over them.

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