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)
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 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
If we are sinful and unclean, the remedy is not far to seek, because it is offered to us in our flesh.
—John Calvin (on Hebrews 2:11)
In Revelation 14:7 the sum of the eternal gospel is described: “And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”’ The language in the first part of this verse reminds us of Romans 1:21: “For although they knew God, they did not honour [glorify] Him as God or give thanks to Him,” on which we have commented previously. Human sin is fundamentally a refusal to glorify God, a rejection of our created vocation to worship Him.
—Noel Due, Created For Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, 223
Pride is self contending with God for preeminence. [Romans 1:21]
—Charles Bridges (1794-1869)
Worshiping God by affirming God’s worthiness flies in the face of the Fall. In the Fall, humans got hung up on our “self-worth.” We wanted the status God had. [Romans 1:21; Genesis 3:5] We failed to perceive our proper place in the created order, and so we threw that order out of alignment.
In the first book of the Bible, Adam and Eve say to God, “We are worthy.” In the last book of the Bible, the elders say to God, “You are worthy.” God is back in God’s appropriate place, we are in ours, and the cosmos is right again. In a way, our public worship each week is an exercise in this eternal act of putting God in God’s proper place. Michael Lindvall describes worship as “weekly practice at not being God.”
—Nathan Bierma, “Worshipful Service,” Perspectives Journal June 2006