Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Glory vs. Love

I've been seeing/hearing a lot of bad argumentation lately. Most often people don't even listen to the first thing their opponent said, and then when they respond they do not respond to the argument--instead they attack the person. Aren't we supposed to have a free marketplace of ideas? I know, I know--some ideas are too 'offensive, toxic, hate-speech,' blah blah blah. So much for tolerance. If we can't even discuss possibilities how neanderthal have we become? Instead the mass opinion must be true, and I'll beat you down with my club of peer-pressure until you submit to the hive mind.


So, in an attempt to exemplify what an actual argument is, I offer this--no frills or filler, no ironic jabs (despite how much I wanted to). For clarification, every argument contains a 1. Premise, 2. Logical inference, 3. Conclusion. Every argument contains certain assumptions as well--EVERY argument. Example: even when I use a word, I assume that word signifies the same (or roughly similar) thing to you. It does not advance the discussion or count as more points for your side if you pretend that you aren't assuming things. It just helps you to justify yourself and not convince others. Now something should be noted as regards the specific arguments below. In the first section, I offer the conclusion that is proclaimed by the group of believers; I do not offer the conclusion that their argument actually affords. See the footnote at the end for more information.



It is common for certain believers to criticize the belief/statement that "God's first purpose is to glorify himself." They prefer to believe that "God's first purpose is to love."

Argument: If God's first purpose is to glorify himself, then God is selfish.
Assumption: God is not selfish.
Conclusion: Therefore God's first purpose cannot be to glorify himself.

Argument 2: "God is love," says Scripture.
Assumption: Something God "is" must be fundamental to his existence.
Conclusion: Therefore God's first purpose must be to love [humans/creation/something other-than-self].*

However those who argue thus have a theological omission.
Omission: God exists in trinity.


Those in the "Glory" camp (commonly called 'Reformed') would thus rewrite the argument:

Argument: If God's first purpose is to glorify the other persons of the Trinity, then God is self-giving.
Assumption: To self-give is to love.
Conclusion: Therefore God is ultimately loving and self-giving towards the other members of the Trinity.

Argument 2: "God is love," says Scripture.
Assumption: Something God "is" must be fundamental to his existence.
Conclusion: Therefore God's first purpose might be called "love" towards the Trinity.

Counter-Argument: Humans/creation/something other-than-self have not always existed.
Assumption: If God is cannot fulfill his existence, he is incomplete; if incomplete he is imperfect.
Conclusion: Therefore God's first purpose cannot be to love humans/creation/something other-than-self |OR|
Alternative Conclusion: God is imperfect.

Argument 3: God is perfect.
Assumption: The 'perfect' is fully worthy of glory & love.

Conclusion: Therefore if God is to remain perfect, he must respond rightly to that which is perfect [namely love & glorify it].


*As stated in the introduction, I believe the actual conclusion the argument affords is that God must love. However, adherents to this camp insert the direct object(s) of humanity, creation, etc. Probably, I believe, because they start with the conclusion and argue backwards instead of starting with their premise and arguing forward.