The Main Thing

Why has God designed and purposed that our great destiny is to know Him? What is the knowledge of God for? Why does God mean us to know Him and to grow in the knowledge of God? And there is only one answer that Scripture gives us to that: and that is that we might worship Him. Everything will disappear as we enter His presence and glory, except this. It is the chief business of the church of Jesus Christ in this world, because it is the permanent occupation of the church of Jesus Christ in the world to come, that we should worship God. So says Jesus to the woman of Samaria: The Father is seeking worshipers. When God began to seek you and then find you in Jesus Christ, and drew you to Himself, He was seeking worshipers. The Apostle Paul tells us that it is the mark of the people of God, one of the great marks of those who are His true circumcision in Philippians 3:3f.: we are the circumcision, that is the true people of God, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. It is [the] ultimate activity of the people of God: to worship God.

—Eric Alexander, “Worship God! (Rev. 19:10)” (sermon)

 

The Root of the Fall 3

The ugly and ghastly distortion of Satan’s whole appearance in Scripture is that he who was formed to honor and glorify and praise and worship God has begun to rob God of His worship and seek to deflect it to himself. Isn’t that what happens in the temptation of Jesus? “Now,” he says, “I will give you the kingdoms of this world if You will fall down and worship me.” Have you ever thought how extraordinary and horrendous that here an angel, created to worship this holy Being who created Himself the heavens and the earth, now comes and says to Him and says, “You come and bow down and worship me.” I tell you, there is something utterly grotesque about this, both in the Garden of Eden and in the temptation in Matthew 4.

But, my dear friends, there is something equally grotesque about a man or woman who devotes the faculties God has given them and the gifts God has bestowed upon them to bring worship to any other creature or object in the universe except to the living God.

—Eric Alexander, “Worship God! (Revelation 19:10)” (sermon)

The Root of the Fall 2

What poor Adam could not see was that he already was as like God as ever a creature could be. . . .      In his vain search to rise above his God-appointed station he succeeded only in bringing down the human race into sin. . . . Adam’s folly lay in believing he could ever rise higher than his human station. There is no higher station open to any creature.

—Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Complete in Christ, 110-111

The Root of the Fall

The idea behind the command not to eat from one tree in the garden was really all about this question: Who will be at the center of the human creature’s world? Who is in charge? When Eve eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she decides that the human creature will be at the center—will be in charge. And in that sense the serpent had told a half-truth: she did become like God, knowing good and evil as God knows it, insofar as the creature has assumed the right to apprehend and legislate morality as a god. In that sense, Genesis’ point is that we end up worshiping the creature rather than the Creator. This is the autonomy that manifests itself so clearly in a desire to be one’s own god.

—Dennis Okholm, Learning Theology through the Church’s Worship: An Introduction to Christian Belief, 140

A Covenantal God

It’s not just in a few doctrines here or there where biblical faith differs from its rivals; rather, biblical faith springs from a radically different paradigm. In addition to providing a different understanding of God and the God-world relationship generally, a covenantal paradigm grounds a fundamentally different view of human personhood. We do not meet God in the inner realm of our spirit or at sacred rivers, trees, or mountains. Rather, God hallows common places as historical venues of His discourse. Places are special (holy) in biblical faith because God met with His people there and spoke to His covenant word.

—Michael Horton, Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples, 123-24

Voicing Creation’s Praise

What, then, are we to say about our own place within this design? We begin by recalling the frequent declaration of the Psalmists that creation, in a myriad of ways, is endlessly praising its Creator. In all its colour, movement, subtlety, richness, diversity and splendour, it brings glory to God: ‘The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.’ (Ps. 19:1) Our calling, I would suggest, is to articulate and extend that praise in ever fresh ways, to be ‘priests of creation’. In humankind, creation finds a voice; to use George Herbert’s word, each of us is invited to be a ‘secretary’ of praise. Through the human creature, the inarticulate (though never silent) creation becomes articulate. As Douglas John Hall puts it, “In this creature the speaking God, Deus loquens, locates a counterpart within the saeculum, a speaking animal. Here the creation gathers itself and addresses the One whose glorious Word brought it into being, word answering Word.”

—Jeremy Begbie, Voicing Creation’s Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts, 177