Friday, November 18, 2005

John Piper & CS Lewis

The answer to the ... question -- "Why is it loving God to be so self-exalting that he does all that he does for his own glory? -- came to me with the help of C.S. Lewis. When I was pondering the fact that in Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14 Paul says that God performs all the acts of redemption so that we might praise his glory, I discovered that in his early days as a Christian, Lewis was bothered by the commands of God to praise God. They seemed vain.

But then he discovered why this is not vain but profoundly loving of God to do. Here is his all-important insight:

The most obvious fact about praise ... strangely escaped me ... I had never
noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise ... The world
rings with praise - lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite
poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game -
praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, horses, colleges, countries,
historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles,
even sometimes politicians and scholars ... My whole, more general difficulty
about praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the
supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can't help doing,
about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely
expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.
It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how
beautiful they are, the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.

(from John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad, p. 224; quoting Lewis, Reflection on the Psalms)


Anonymous said...

Appointed consumation...Wow! Thanks for sharing this nugget!

Anonymous said...

This was really helpful...something I've pondered and never investigated too much. Thanks for this post. Happy Thanks. if I don't talk to you before then!