Friday, September 7, 2012

I AM: Honesty and Motive

This is, in part, an expansion of the short argument in the post "Theocentrism" on God, the creator, being centered on his own glory. It is also, in part, an argument for the inherent trustworthiness and honesty of God. It then ends with a return to the ending of the last post, providing more reason for God's grace and mercy from his sustaining himself.

God's Trustworthiness

Keeping in mind from the last post that God is unrestricted by time, God's inherent nature is therefore unchangeable, for change is not possible for a thing that always is. Now, suppose that God were not trustworthy, that he lied. As he is all that necessarily is, and all else is dependent on him, he must lie about himself. We expect nature to tell us about God because God made it, and thus he must have made it in accordance with his nature, his desires, what motivates him. To lie in creating the world, then, would essentially require him to do that which he, by his nature, desires not to do. Now, as, for God, as a being unconstrained by time, to cause a thing to begin to be and to cause a thing to continue to be are identical, so God, in maintaining creation, must also show his nature as God. Now, when God enters into creation in some sense, whether in the incarnation or by the words of the Scriptures, this must be a part of his causing the world to be a certain way. Thus, any way in which God affects creation is his revealing of himself, and if he acts according to his nature (else it would not be his nature, in which case it would never have been his nature, but what he acts on would be, in which case he is found to, in fact, be acting according to his own nature), he is honest. Now, if he says something about creation that is false, then he lies about his honesty, calling himself dishonest, if indeed he created creation in another way than he did, according to his nature. Thus, his word is truth, and his acts must be according to who he is.

God's Chief End is His Own Glory

In general, people are willing to pay more money for the ability, time, and knowledge to produce a thing than for the thing itself, though, in many cases, this includes the cost of the relevant education. Even a thing that we would never wish to have, or those things of which we might say "you would have to pay me to take that," we are more willing to be taught how to make it and given the time and materials to do so. People enjoy eating, as well as, it has been suggested, bowel movements. Good luck selling the finished product, though. Would you prefer to be given a blank book, or have the time, energy, ability, and motivation to produce a blank book? In paying for an education, you expect to produce things to pay for it, none of which will be equal to the worth of the education. In fact, one might state the actual value of the education based on how much more money one makes than one otherwise would. Thus, the ability to produce a thing appears more valuable than the thing produced.

God, then, as creator of all, having all that is required to make everything that is, is therefore the most valuable. This is, then, inherent to the nature of the Creator, that he is worth valuing. Now God, being honest, must call himself such, and this he does. For what else is worship but the ascribing of ultimate value to someone or something? So he tells us to ascribe to him all glory, to worship him. Indeed, if we were made for this, then it is the best that we might possibly do. This is our highest good, then, for God must have made us for his own glory, seeing that he made all things for his glory, for that is the point of all that he does.

Creation's Relation to its Creator

God, in creating the world created it in accordance with his own nature, which he values. He therefore values it, for he values himself and it is made in accordance with himself. Thus his acts toward himself are exercised toward creation, for the very reasons they were exercised toward himself.

Yet the creation fell. The question of why will be discussed later, but for now it is enough to note that the world is not as it was, wholly and purely showing forth, pointing toward, God's own nature. Yet it holds an image, a shadow of what it was, and is therefore still the recipient of God's acts toward it for God's glory. Why it does not hold more of what it was may be drawn from his justice, his acting against the denial of his glory. Thus, as the creation was an expression of God's nature God sustained it in being, yet as the creation rebelled, following its ruler, Adam, God removed its being, causing it to be less than it was.

Thus, seeing that God sustains himself, it must be supposed that, from the same motive, he sustains all he created, from which follows: grace and mercy to the world.

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