Why Does God Require our Love, Worship, and Praise? Is God Insecure?

Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named Cat:

I am really puzzled by why God would require that Christians must love and worship him. I understand his requirement for us to love our neighbors/fellow humans. But doesn’t the requirement to love, worship and praise God make him seem superficial, self serving and even insecure? If God would save non-Christians as long as they love their neighbors, why would Christians be subject to this additional requirement to love God?

Thanks for the great question, Cat!

The Beatific Vision, by Gustave Doré (1832-1883)

The Beatific Vision, by Gustave Doré

Many Christians believe that God created the entire vast universe for his own glory. And many of the same Christians believe that after we die, we will spend all eternity praising and worshiping God in the heavenly equivalent of a vast, never-ending church service.

Is God really that vain? Did God really make us so that there would be billions of people to glorify, praise, and worship him? Is the universe all about God creating a vast crowd of sycophantic groupies?

In a word: No.

But there’s a reason God allows many of us to think so—and even says things in the Bible that make it sound as if praising and worshiping God is what life is all about.

Here’s the short version:

God wants our love, worship, and praise not because God needs anything from us, but because when we focus our hearts and minds on God instead of on ourselves, we open ourselves up to new love, light, and power from God.

In other words, God wants our love, worship, and praise so that God can more fully love us, enlighten us, and help us as we travel along our often dark and troublesome path of life.

Now for the long version.

Why did God create the universe?

If you Google the question, “Why did God create the universe?” you’ll find plenty of articles by Christians saying that God created the universe for his own glory.

Why do they think that?

It might have something to do with the words God says in Isaiah 43:6–7 (italics added):

Bring my sons from far away
and my daughters from the end of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.

Or with this statement about Christ in Colossians 1:15–16 (italics added):

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.

Also, many stories in the Bible present God as shaping and influencing human beings for the sake of his own glory. Read, for example, this segment of the Exodus story:

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and I will multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh does not listen to you, I will lay my hand upon Egypt and bring my people the Israelites, company by company, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.” (Exodus 7:1–5)

This led to the famous ten plagues of Egypt, which forced Pharaoh to let the Israelites go.

A few chapters later, when Pharaoh and his army pursue the escaping Israelites to bring them back to slavery in Egypt, we read:

Then the Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall camp opposite it, by the sea. Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, “They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has closed in on them.” I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, so that I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army; and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord. (Exodus 14:1–4, italics added)

This led to the complete destruction of Pharaoh’s army as the waters of the miraculously parted Red Sea that the Israelites had just crossed on dry ground closed in over Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, drowning both horse and rider, and saving the Israelites from Pharaoh’s power.

According to the story, all of this happened because God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to gain glory for himself.

And there are many other places where the Bible says that humans are to give all glory to God.

So it’s not surprising that many Christians believe God created the universe in order to gain glory for himself by having billions of people to worship and praise him, and grovel at his feet.

But as many thoughtful people have objected, this very human conception of God’s glory is not worthy of a God of infinite love and wisdom.

Is God really that petty and insecure?

Why did God create the universe? Another view

It is true that the image of God as a powerful monarch who gains glory by lording it over puny human beings is a common one in the Bible.

But fortunately, the Bible also offers a much more powerful and pervasive image of God: that of a father (and occasionally a mother) who tenderly loves the universe and all the created beings in it. This offers another view of why God created the universe.

Here are just a few Bible passages proclaiming the steadfast love of God toward the universe and everything in it:

The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love. (Psalm 119:63)

The word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
he put the deeps in storehouses. (Psalm 33:4–7)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgments are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O Lord. (Psalm 36:5–6)

Psalm 136 is a paean to God’s love for all creation and for God’s people. Every other line reads, “for his steadfast love endures forever.”

In Jeremiah 31:3 God speaks tenderly to his people Israel:

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

And John 3:16, one of the most quoted verses in the Gospels, begins:

For God so loved the world . . . .

These are only a few of hundreds of Bible passages presenting God as a being whose relationship with the universe and everything in it is one of love.

And this suggests that God has far greater motives for creating the universe than having billions of people to stoke God’s ego.

And indeed, Psalm 115:1 poetically tells us that when we give glory to God, it is not to build up God’s ego, but to remind us of God’s great love for us:

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) expands on this idea in a beautiful statement about the nature of love—especially God’s love—and why God wants our love, worship, and praise:

The essence of spiritual love is to do good to others for their sake and not for our own. This is infinitely more so in regard to the essence of divine love. It is like the love of parents for their children. They do good for them out of love, for the children’s sake, not for their own sake. We can see this clearly in the love mothers have for their little ones.

People believe that because the Lord is to be revered, worshiped, and praised the Lord loves reverence, worship, and praise for his own sake. In fact, he loves them for our sake, because they bring us into a state where something divine can flow in and be felt. This is because by these activities we are removing that focus on self that prevents the inflow and acceptance. The focus on self that is self-love hardens and closes our heart. It is removed by our realization that in our own right we are nothing but evil, and that nothing but what is good comes from the Lord. This yields the softening of heart and humility from which reverence and worship flow. (Divine Love and Wisdom #335)

In other words, God wants us to worship, praise, and give glory to God, not for God’s own sake, but for our sake. When we focus on God’s greatness instead of focusing on ourselves, it softens our heart and brings us into a humble state in which we are open to receiving God’s love, wisdom, and power.

So here, once again is the short answer to the original question:

No, God does not require Christians, or anyone else, to give glory to God in order to build up God’s ego out of some sense of insecurity, or for any other superficial or self-serving reason. Instead, God requires Christians—and people of every other religion as well—to worship, praise, and glorify God because God knows that when we do so from the heart, God’s love, faithfulness, kindness, and power can flow into us in new and more powerful ways.

Or even shorter:

God wants our praise and worship, not because God loves himself, but because God loves us, and wants us to receive, feel, and express God’s love to the people around us. That’s the only way we humans can experience our highest joy.

Why does the Bible speak so much about God’s glory?

Why, then, does the Bible talk so much about God’s greatness and glory?

Why does the Bible even go so far as to present the universe and everyone in it as existing to give God glory? Why, for example does the Revelation 4 present God as a king on his throne surrounded by adoring worshipers who eternally chant:

Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
who was and is and is to come. (Revelation 4:8)

And:

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

And in Revelation 5, where it says:

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing:

To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might
forever and ever! (Revelation 5:13)

The final book of the Bible paints a picture of all creation arranged around God and singing God’s praises!

Why?

Why does the Bible put so much emphasis on God’s glory?

Clearly, this imagery in the book of Revelation is not meant to be taken literally. God did not create us to attend an eternal, unending church service. In fact, the Bible specifically sets aside only one day of the week to focus specifically on God:

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. (Exodus 20:8–10)

If we were meant to spend all our days in endless worship, the Ten Commandments would not tell us that six of the seven days are intended for us to labor and accomplish all our work, whereas only one day of the week to be devoted to worshiping and learning about God.

Clearly, God does not want us to spend all of our time worshiping and praising God. Rather, God wants us to spend the bulk of our time showing God’s love to our fellow human beings through practical service to our neighbors here on earth.

God wants to break down our ego by getting us to focus on God instead

But the Bible does have a purpose in presenting God as great and powerful, and us humans as mere worms in the presence of God.

We humans tend to get stuck on ourselves and our own greatness. We build vast political and economic empires, often as monuments to our own ego and power. And in doing so, we commonly bring great oppression, pain, and misery upon our fellow human beings. If we look at the powerful human empires of history, and even at many powerful nations today, we see humans inflicting injustice and death upon one another in order to build up their own wealth and power.

When God looks down from heaven and sees all of this human pain and misery caused by our own ego, pride, and self-centeredness, it gives God great sadness of heart.

And so in the Bible and in many other sacred texts of humankind, God tells us that it is wrong to give glory to anyone else but God. God tells us that our human glory causes only pain and suffering, and ultimately crumbles into dust, whereas God’s glory is eternal, and brings comfort, peace, and joy to all who are touched by it.

When we self-absorbed humans read the Bible and take that message to heart, it begins to break down our natural ego and self-centeredness. It begins to open us up to what truly is most important in life, as embodied in the two Great Commandments given to us by Jesus in the Gospels:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37–40)

The meaning of God’s glory

When we put God first in our life by giving all glory to God, and by listening to God’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, our life here on earth is raised above our small, self-centered, and ultimately futile human desires for power, possessions, and glory for ourselves. Our life is elevated into the greater power and joy of a human community in which each of us lives to love our neighbor and serve the needs of our fellow human beings.

God knows that this is the only way we will reach our own highest potential, and our own highest peace and joy.

And that is the true meaning of God’s glory.

God’s glory is not like human glory. It is not about building up God’s ego.

God’s glory is about spreading God’s love, wisdom, and power far and wide, throughout the entire universe, and especially into human hearts and human communities.

This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.

For further reading:

About

Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in All About God, The Bible Re-Viewed
15 comments on “Why Does God Require our Love, Worship, and Praise? Is God Insecure?
  1. larryzb says:

    In the East, there is an explanation of sorts that tells us that God needed Creation and we individual sparks of consciousness to know Himself more fully.

    • Lee says:

      Hi larryzb,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I would say, rather, that God wanted Creation to be able to express himself more fully. Specifically, to express his infinite love by loving other beings—especially beings who are capable of loving God back.

  2. Lee says:

    To a reader named Brian,

    Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. However, I have not approved it both because it contains too much foul language (see our comments policy) and because you seem to be responding to a traditional version of Christianity that is not at all what we believe in or teach here.

    Please read some of the articles linked in the section titled “The Basics” toward the top of the right navbar to learn what we do and don’t believe. You will find that many of the beliefs of traditional Christianity that you reject, we also reject.

    If you have questions or reactions as you read in response to what we actually do believe and teach here, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the appropriate article. But do read our comments policy first, and keep it clean, please. Thanks.

  3. Griffin says:

    Thanks for writing this. I never bought the idea that God would create the universe just to give himself an ego boost, because I don’t think he’s anything that small and petty. This makes much more sense than the traditional view on the subject.

  4. Anthony Nolan says:

    Hi Lee, I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful essay and especially for having the courage and insight to answer the hard questions. You are a great thinker and philosopher on Religion and are one of God’s best messengers.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for your kind words, which I appreciate very much. I’m glad you’re enjoying the articles here. Godspeed on your spiritual journey!

  5. oron61 says:

    All this only brings up more questions regarding how God set up the rules regarding life & free will, and why God hides himself and our futures from us, lets the world reward us for wrongdoing, and trusts other humans to be his witnesses.
    Why would God set up a world that makes Him be revealed by the eyes of a bronze-age barbarian nation among scores of others, and has us see Him the same way we perceive any other tyrant who strikes priests down for offering impure incense and then forces their father to watch (Lev. 10) or demands his wife slave over him (The Prophets in general) and sentences death for being imperfect (Paul.)
    Why are the rules of the game written like this?

    • Lee says:

      Hi oron61,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and questions.

      The short answer is: That’s not how the rules of the game are written.

      Taking the last first, Paul never said that God sentences us to death for being imperfect. That idea is a Catholic and Protestant invention. It is stated nowhere in the Bible. See:

      The Faulty Foundations of Faith Alone – Part 4: God Condemns Us to Hell Because We’re Not Perfect?

      You can search as long and diligently as you like. You will not find a single chapter or verse in Paul’s writings, or anywhere else in the Bible, that says God sentences us to death for being imperfect.

      On the second-to-last, I’m not sure what you are referring to. Where do the Prophets say that God demands his wife slave over him? The Prophets are full of warnings and condemnations for evil behavior. And they do require God’s people to serve God. But “serving God” mostly means living according to God’s laws of moral and ethical behavior, along with observing various rituals that kept people’s minds focused on not doing evil things, and doing good things instead.

      The Prophets condemn even these rituals when they become mere cult practices divorced from the right living that they are meant to inculcate in the people. See, for example, 1 Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 1:11–17; Jeremiah 7:21–26; Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:21–24.

      In short, the Prophets, like the rest of the Bible, are focused on leading people to “cease to do evil; learn to do good” (Isaiah 1:16–17).

      About the death of two of Aaron’s four sons as recounted in Leviticus 10:1–7: Contrary to popular misconception, the ancient Israelites were not especially holy and spiritual people. They were supposed to be. But story after story in the Bible demonstrates that they were stubborn, rebellious, refractory, and unspiritual. Such people will not listen to enlightened reason or the coaxing of love. They understand only punishment and reward. Therefore God gave them a religion that was based on punishment for disobedience and bad behavior, and rewards for obedience and good behavior.

      Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu violated the commandments for the sacred offices of the Tabernacle immediately after God had first given them. If this were allowed to stand, there would be no restraining the leaders or the people from breaking out into all sorts of evil behavior. That is why it was punished so severely. In different times and cultures, when people are more willing to listen to truth and to follow the paths of love, such severe punishments become unnecessary, and they are abolished.

      Why “bronze-age nomads” (a favorite phrase of skeptics and atheists)? Because if the Bible had been written in abstract language by a bunch of fancy philosophers and theologians, very few people would understand it, and very few people would listen to it. The Bible, as God’s word to humanity, must be able to speak not only to highly educated people, but to the masses of ordinary people who don’t know a Trinity from an Atonement.

      “Bronze-age nomads” were the perfect people for God to use in delivering a Bible that is (mostly) pragmatic, down-to-earth, and written in ordinary language that ordinary people can understand. Even Jesus did most of his teaching in parables, in which he used ordinary events and occurrences of everyday life to speak metaphorically of deeper spiritual realities. If the entire Bible were written like some of the highly philosophical passages in the Gospel of John, it would never achieve its purpose of guiding the vast masses of people toward stopping their evil and wrong behavior and engaging in good and loving behavior instead.

      For an article that goes into some of these issues in more detail, please see:

      How God Speaks in the Bible to Us Boneheads

      There is much more I could say in answer to your questions (which are good ones!), and many more articles I could refer you to. But this is enough for now. I hope this much helps you as you struggle with these issues in your own mind. Feel free to continue the conversation if you have further thoughts or questions.

  6. Steven Mitlitzky says:

    A reasonable discussion of this and many other biblical topics requires some background so please pardon me while I provide it below first and then I will address this specific issue.

    As an initial matter, a MAJOR problem with so much human thought is what I call “all or nothing.” In other words the idea is that either God is “perfect” or else He doesn’t exist at all. Many Christians also say God is all powerful and all knowing. Yet these same Christians often say God “cannot lie.” But if He cannot lie then he’s not all powerful. Moreover this maintains that God cannot use psychology to motivate us and can only speak the literal truth which I think is nonsense.

    God is God. The Lord our God need not check off all our “boxes” to be God. He’s countless trillions of trillions of times on a higher plane than we are. That is more than enough for Him to be God and to make us beholding to Him.

    The Bible is necessarily allegorical. In other words it necessarily oversimplifies hidden truths to make them accessible to us since we couldn’t begin to understand the unvarnished truth.

    Let’s look at just one example from The Revelation of Saint John the Divine (according to the King James Bible) or The Revelation of Jesus Christ (according to the New King James Bible). I could give many others. Revelation 6:13 describes how “stars” “fell to the earth.” But obviously people nearly 2000 years ago knew next to nothing about astronomy. So they didn’t know that stars are much larger than the earth. Maybe St. John the Divine saw a meteor shower. But we can’t know. Clearly Revelation 6:13 like so much of the Bible is allegorical.

    With that as background I can now get to the point. God sets the bar for how He wants us to behave impossibly high because He knows that otherwise many of us will look for shortcuts and loopholes to get around what He demands. He also does that because that is how He can use us most effectively.

    But He loves us. Space limitations prevent me from fully explaining how I know that except for to say I KNOW God is real. Despite my many faults God has been unbelievably good to me. No one can be as lucky as I have been unless God is directing help my way.

    50 years ago, the NYU Bulletin (basically NYU’s student handbook) stated that make up examinations would only be granted under extraordinary circumstances with all due medical documentation. But in truth Professors could be as lenient as they wished for that. Granting makeup examinations was up to each individual Professor, not stated official NYU policy.

    I like to think of God like that. He sets standards that seem impossible for us to meet. In addition He didn’t make us remotely talented enough or smart enough to succeed in the workplace. Yet I really believe that God’s kingdom available to help us, just as long as we work faithfully. That means His kingdom will either qualify us for our work, or if not, that may mean God has a different vocation or else a different spot in the same vocation in mind for us.

    In conclusion God sets ethical and worship standards far beyond what we can possibly comply. That’s how He can maximize our usefulness to Him. But He and His kingdom are always available to us, to help us serve Him and in so doing, also serve ourselves, just as long as we are earnest and work faithfully to do our best to try to please Him.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for offering your thoughts here.

      I completely agree that the Bible is allegorical. Or to use a more accurate and contemporary word, it is metaphorical. Some parts of it may have some literal truth to them as well. But all parts of it have deeper spiritual meanings. About the book of Revelation in particular, please see:

      Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?

      I also agree that God doesn’t have to check with us to decide how to be God. God is far more complex than our limited human minds can possibly grasp. This doesn’t mean we can’t know anything at all about God. Only that whatever we do know, it is like drop compared to the ocean of what God actually is. And if we try to reduce God to human logic, we’re going to mostly miss the point. Once again, this doesn’t mean God is illogical. Only that our logical minds are very limited in what they can see and understand.

      One common limitation of human reasoning is our idea of “omnipotence” as God being able to do any old thing, including contradictory things. But Jesus said:

      Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. (Matthew 12:25)

      Doing contradictory things is not omnipotence. It’s impotence. It’s not so much that God cannot lie as that God does not lie, because that would be canceling out God’s own nature. For a little fuller explanation of this, please see the section titled “5. God as all-powerful is unconvincing” in this article:

      God Is Unconvincing To Smart Folks? – Part 2

      However, just because God doesn’t lie, that doesn’t mean God always speaks to us as things really are. It’s not so much that God lies, as that we understand what God is saying to us through the filter of our own limited mind and experience. We therefore don’t see the whole picture, and see some things incorrectly—but in ways that can still move us forward on our spiritual path.

      An example is the Bible saying that God is angry with us. Objectively speaking, this is not true. God loves the evil as well as the good (see Matthew 5:44–45). But from our perspective it often is, because when God’s love shines on us when we are in a state of mind opposed to it, it feels like a destructive wrath, because it would destroy the evil in us that we cling to as part of our identity. And when we are in a state of mind that’s in opposition to God, God will allow us to think that God is angry at us because that will provide motivations of fear and dread that may get us to straighten up and fly right, when we would ignore and laugh at gentle words of love.

      For more on this, please see:

      What is the Wrath of God? Why was the Old Testament God so Angry, yet Jesus was so Peaceful?

      Finally, I would not say that God sets the bar impossibly high, but rather that God continually calls us to go beyond what we have achieved so far. It’s not that God sets ethical standards that we can never comply with. Rather, it’s that because we start out self-centered and greedy, and are limited in our abilities, we will always have more work to do when it comes to improving our character and actions.

      The Bible itself tells us that God’s commandments are not too hard for us to follow:

      Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe. (Deuteronomy 30:11–14)

      If we do not observe God’s commandments, it’s not because they are too hard for us, but because we still have a heart of stone that does not want to observe them.

      Still, when it comes to our practical marching orders, I entirely agree with you that what God requires of us is to be earnest and work faithfully to do our best and try to please God. If we do this, God will welcome us into the heavenly mansions that God has prepared for us.

  7. Steven Mitlitzky says:

    I also wish to thank Minister Lee for his interesting and thought provoking content. And I would like his thoughts on one other matter. Despite some dialogue within, the Bible DOES NOT seem to be an invitation for us to ask God to explain all to us. And although God loves us, He is not interested in serving as some sort of personal genie for us. The Bible seems pretty clear on the point that for our own good, God simply wants us to trust Him and as best we can to obey Him. The New Testament seems clear on the point that God wants us to do that in the name of His son, our Savior Jesus Christ, as well as through the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ explained that a helper (the Holy Spirit) would help guide and direct us until He, Jesus Christ, returns to rule over, rule with, and rule for, all those that He, Jesus Christ sees fit to save.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Steven,

      You are most welcome. And thanks for your kind words.

      In response to your thoughts here, I would say that for many, if not most ordinary people, simply obeying God’s commandments without inquiring too deeply into them, or seeking to understand all of God’s ways, is sufficient. These are the spiritual blue collar workers who simply get the job done that they are hired to do, and don’t expend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out why this particular job needs to be done, and done the way the boss says to do it. For this type of person, it is enough to do the job and receive their paycheck at the end of the month. God does need plenty of blue collar workers to get the job done.

      However, God also needs bosses to direct those blue collar workers in their jobs. And those bosses do need to understand how things work, and why God wants things done a certain way. Otherwise they won’t be able to give proper direction to their crews.

      For the most part, God doesn’t speak to us directly, but through other people. And the better those other people understand the ways of God, the better able they are to give good directions to the great mass of hard-working people who want to do a good job for God, but can’t necessarily figure out for themselves what they should be doing, and how they should be doing it.

      Therefore God has also put a smaller number of people on earth who can and do inquire deeper into the thoughts of God, seeking to understand God’s truth and God’s ways so that they can both follow it themselves and teach others how to do so. This is why the Bible tells us that we are to continually study and meditate on the Scriptures, and teach them to our children, and also that we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free.

      Still, no matter how much we may know and understand of God’s truth, there is always infinitely more that we do not know and understand. No matter who we are, we can never say, “I am now wise and sufficient unto myself.” We must always look to God for our understanding, our inspiration, and our day-to-day marching orders.

      Meanwhile, thanks again for your good thoughts.

  8. K says:

    “The source of man’s unhappiness is his ignorance of Nature. The pertinacity with which he clings to blind opinions imbibed in his infancy, which interweave themselves with his existence, the consequent prejudice that warps his mind, that prevents its expansion, that renders him the slave of fiction, appears to doom him to continual error.”

    – Paul Henri Thiery (Baron D’Holbach) in 1770, “The System of Nature”

    Despite that quote, I take it the real God didn’t make it a sin to merely question God or the Word? In other words, He gave us the ability to think and question, so it’s not inherently wrong to do so, even about spirituality?

    • Lee says:

      Hi K,

      Yes indeed, not only is it not inherently wrong to question God or the Word, it is a good thing to do so, as long as we do so in a state of “positive doubt” rather than in a state of “negative doubt.” The latter leads to denial and the abandonment of faith and God. The former leads to a deeper understanding of the Bible and of God’s will and God’s ways.

      It is best not to quickly and easily accept any new idea or new truth that we come upon, in the Bible or anywhere else. Doing so leads to a weak and superficial understanding and faith. Rather, it is best to test it against competing and countervailing ideas, as rigorously as we are able and willing. That way it becomes a strong, resilient understanding and faith—one that can weather the challenges and storms of life, and carry us through safely to the other side.

      The Prophets and the Psalmists are always shaking their fist at God and questioning God’s goodness and God’s truth. Through that process they arrive at a deeper sense of God’s presence and power. We, today, can profitably follow their example, leading to a deepening of our faith, our understanding, and our love for God and for our fellow human beings.

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

Lee & Annette Woofenden

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God and Creation

By Lee Woofenden

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