Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Glory is not a zero sum game

Calvinists make the same error with God's glory, that Marxists do with economics. They both assume it is a zero sum game. Economics can be zero sum if we just transfer wealth, negative sum if we destroy it, or positive sum if we create it.

While I dispute that accepting the gift of salvation is boast-worthy or gives any glory to man, I do not see why any process of glorifying men necessarily diminishes the glory of God. Surely if God redeems man and in the process transforms us from glory to glory, then his own glory is increased. Glory is not a zero sum game. Our increasing glory does not subtract from God's glory, it adds to it.

5 comments:

  1. "Our increasing glory does not subtract from God's glory, it adds to it."

    Whoa there... nothing actually adds anything to God's glory!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anon, over on the other thread Starwind has pointed out the ambiguity of "glory" in English.

    I think it possible that God's renown can increase amongst men. God is jealous of his name and will demonstrate the majesty of it so that men may know it.

    I do not think that when God gives honour to men that it diminishes his honour by that same amount.

    Either God's honour cannot change, in which case it is what it is regardless of how much he gives to men; or God's honour/ glory/ fame can change, in which case I think it increases when he shares it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glory is not a zero sum game; I concurr.

    When Jesus "glorified" God the Father, Jesus didn't add to any glory the Father had but rather redirected mens' attention and focus onto the glory (i.e. worthiness) that God already had. God was not glorified by an increase of glory from Jesus, but was glorified by a correction of mens' acknowledgment towards God's pre-existent glory. There is an increase in acknowledgment of God's glory, yes, but God doesn't possess more glory than he started with.

    When men "give" glory to God there is no transfer of glory. It is not a transaction like Christ's substitutionary atonement and propitiation for our sin exchanged for his righteousness being imputed to us. It is more like "giving credit where credit is due" in that the one due such credit already possesses the merit or worthiness and the giving was only a one-sided acknowledgment.

    If giving glory to God is argued as a zero-sum transaction, consider the glory "flow" inherent in the following verses:
    Joh 15:8 NASB "My Father is glorifiedG1392 by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

    Joh 17:4 NASB "I glorifiedG1392 You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

    Rom 8:17 NASB and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorifiedG4888 with Him.

    Rom 8:30 NASB and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorifiedG1392.

    2Th 1:12 NASB so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorifiedG1740 in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Christians are glorified in Christ's sacrifice and suffering, yet Christ's sacrifice and suffering glorifed God, and Christians glorify God by bearing fruit, yet God predestined to glorify the elect. Is God "debited" the amount of glory "credited" to Jesus followers? Then there is the whole argument of (un)limited atonement. If it is regardless argued therefrom a zero-sum glory is somehow circulating among the trinity and the elect, then further consider:

    1Co 11:7 NASB For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and gloryG1391 of God; but the woman is the gloryG1391 of man.

    Paul makes a general statement without regard to salvation or election, that men (including the unelect by virtue of imago dei) are the glory of God and women (including the unelect by virtue of originating from man) are the glory of men. Even the unelect have some God-created glory. Does God reclaim or recapture glory? If so argued, then where is the scriptural support that God gets glory from judgment and how is that reconciled with God getting glory from mercy and repentance as well? Are the repentant then left unglorious, in glory, after being glorified?

    Lastly, as noted on the previous thread, God's glory has a least three components, of which God's glory as 'an exalted state' will be shared with the elect, but God's "radiant" glory seems unshared while God's "worthiness" glory could only be minimally shared with fallen men and even that only due to Christ's imputed righteousness.

    It seems clear that "giving God glory" (in mercy, repentance or judgment) cannot be a transaction, neither quantitatively nor qualitatively.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Whoa there... nothing actually adds anything to God's glory!

    Which brings greater glory to God, a church of 5 saved believers or 5 million? Who increases His renown and praise in the land more? The former or the latter?

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Which brings greater glory to God, a church of 5 saved believers or 5 million?"

    I think the point of Isaiah 55:8-9 is that we can't necessarily make judgements ex ante like the one you pose without looking back on actual history in faith that all things are working, have worked, and will work for the greatest glory of God (Rom. 8:28).

    So which one brings greater glory to God? Whichever one actually exists.

    ReplyDelete

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