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How do we know there's a God? What is he like?

Why is God worthy of worship?

Postby Coward » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:44 pm

Basically, let's assume that God is real. What makes Him an deity worthy of worship instead of a monster to despise? The way i see it, He commits murder, even of children. He destroys people's lives to prove a point, etc. What, exactly, has God ever done that makes Him worthy of worship?
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Re: Why is God worthy of worship?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:45 pm

First we have to talk about what worship is. I know there are a lot of definitions of worship. Worship on its most obvious level is a recognition of who God is and a response to what he has done. My personal definition of worship is recognizing and rehearsing all of who God is, and giving all of myself to him. So worship is not heaping on God accolades he doesn’t deserve. It’s not making him more than he is, nor is it making him less than he is. It’s a recognition of who he really is.

With that in mind, we can say God deserves our worship for at least two reasons: first, because of Who He is, and secondly because of what He does.

First we’ll look very briefly into who God is. In 1 Chronicles 29.11-12, David worships God because of his greatness, his power, glory majesty, and splendor. He is the rightful sovereign over all—the ruler of all things. God is the greatest of all possible beings. If great people deserve honor, then the greatest of all possible beings deserves worship. We don’t even have the words to describe God’s majesty, splendor, beauty, and desirability. When we try to plumb the depths of what each of these terms is trying to say about God, we arrive at a picture of a being so wonderful that he really does deserve our worship. We worship God because He is the only God, He is holy and righteous. He is good. 1 Chronicles 16.25 says, “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.”

God not only deserves to be worshiped, but He needs to be worshipped because he is Holy (completely Other), majestic, all-powerful, spectacular, awesome, perfect, eternal, love, just, all-knowing, and as such, is worthy of a small creature such as myself recognizing the Greatness in whose presence I live.

Second, God deserves to be worshipped because of what He has done for us. He made us and endowed us with worth, purpose, and function. He desires a love relationship with us, not because we deserve it, but because His love is so beyond comprehension. He sacrificed himself even to death to provide atonement for us that we do nothing to warrant.

God needs to be worshipped because he has acted sacrificially on my behalf to save me from my sin, at great expense to himself, as an act of love. The magnitude of what he has done for me evokes a profound sense of gratitude, respect, love, worship, and obedience. There is only one appropriate response to the depth of that kind of love, and that response is worship.

Some people still claim that even though God might deserve our worship because of Who He is and what He has done, it’s still wrong for God to initiate the response of worship: You HAVE to worship me, “I alone am to be worshipped,” as if He’s all ego.

Let me try to put it this way. Your mama isn't demonic when she insists that you obey her and respect her. She knows that obedience and respect are pretty important parts of getting by in life, and they are not only appropriate behavior but also worthy character traits. Besides (in the case of most moms), she deserves it. She loves you, works hard for you, and cares about you.Sometimes when you were a child, your mama had to get right in your face and say very sternly to you, “You have to obey me!” She’s not being mean or egocentric. But You're a toddler and ready to cross a busy street. Your mom screams bloody murder, runs to you as fast as she can, grabs you roughly by the arm, and reams you up and down the wall to never do that again, and how you have to listen to her and obey her—she basically blows you away. It's because she knows the real danger of disobedience. You cross that street, you're dead meat.

But when God demands your praise, respect, love, and obedience, you wonder why he requires it. In the same way as in the previous example, He loves you, works hard for you, and cares about you.God knows the danger of disobedience. He's no rock star seeking adulation, but he knows the forces against you and how destructive they are. He knows that if you go any direction other than his you will be ruined and destroyed, and severely so. Acknowledgement of the truth in Him is the only path to life and meaning, and He knows it. His call for worship is the only way you will ever find what life is really for and about, and how to be spared from the awful things that threaten you.

God demands our worship not out of egotistical self-centeredness, but out of concern for us. He wants to save us from the pain and suffering of bad decisions, the wrong direction in life, and harmful behaviors.

So the third part of this is, because of the relationship I am privileged to have with God, I recognize that every thought I have, every attitude of my heart, and every action I do is essentially an act of worship: recognizing and rehearsing all of who God is, and giving all of myself to him. Why does God need that? That part is what I need. It's only right, given who he is and what he has done.

God demands our worship because He really truly is worthy of it. Secondly, he has earned it in buy our salvation with his own death. Third, it’s a need I have to get the focus off myself and off of so many things in life that would try to be the wrongful object of my worship. And lastly, God requires my worship because it’s my only path to life. Any other path will lead me in the wrong direction.

> The way i see it, He commits murder, even of children. He destroys people's lives to prove a point, etc.

These need to be discussed. They're not quick toss-offs. I assume with the first you're talking about the Flood and about the plagues of Egypt, and maybe about the Conquest. I can't go into all of that without starting a separate post.

Destroying people's lives to prove a point? You need to explain this and give me a text, then we can talk.
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Re: Why is God worthy of worship?

Postby Sure Breeze » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:31 pm

Solid reply, thanks! I'm just going to ask a few things since it's pretty long.

> He is the rightful sovereign over all-the ruler of all things.

What does that mean? Is it proven that God created anything or is this one of those "My religion claims God created everything and since I believe that, I believe whoever creates something is the rightful sovereign over all"?

> God is the greatest of all possible beings.

What specifically does that mean?

How tall is he, what color is his hair, weight? Muscle mass?

God kills children. Compared to God that doesn't kill children, can you explain why killing children is greater than not killing children?

since later in the post you mentioned this needs a separate post, let me know when you start one. However, I don't need your justification for why killing children is moral - I'm not going to buy that justification no matter what you say - but can you tell me how if you have a choice between killing children and not killing children, why killing children is relatively greater than letting them live?

Looking at his various actions, other than defining those actions to be moral, how are those actions actually moral?

Or is this going back to the sovereign bit where if he comes up to me and beheads me, this would still be seen as a perfectly good and moral act?

> We don’t even have the words to describe God’s majesty, splendor, beauty, and desirability.

The last two words seem to indicate a romantic crush on God. How beautiful is God specifically? What specific attributes make him beatiful? Why do you believe something as subjective as beauty is objective but only when it comes to God? Why is God desired and what is God desired for?

Or are you just repeating what the Bible says?

> He made us

Can you prove this?
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Re: Why is God worthy of worship?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:32 pm

> "He is the rightful sovereign over all-the ruler of all things." What does that mean?

It means that the universe ultimately belongs to the one who created it (just as a book belongs to its author or a painting to its artist). It's His. It's all in his jurisdiction and in His domain.

> Is it proven that God created anything

There are plenty of good evidences of it as well as worthy logical arguments, but such things are beyond philosophical or scientific proof. You and I have had many conversations. You know this.

> "God is the greatest of all possible beings." What specifically does that mean?

It means that God is the supreme supernatural divine being. No being can supersede the one who is above all.

> How tall is he, what color is his hair, weight? Muscle mass?

You know better than to ask this question. You and I have spoken many times. God has no corporeality. You know that.

> God kills children. Compared to God that doesn't kill children, can you explain why killing children is greater than not killing children?

When God kills it is an act of justice, not murder. While sociologically we recognize something called infantile innocence, there is far more to people in the theological world.

> Or is this going back to the sovereign bit where if he comes up to me and beheads me, this would still be seen as a perfectly good and moral act?

Not at all. The Euthyphro Dilemma is a false dilemma and misleading in its logic. God's doing of something doesn't make it therefore good.

> How beautiful is God specifically?

Thanks for letting me clarify. The Bible speaks of God's beauty it speaks of a relationship of joy and peace. When we see a natural sight that is beautiful, it brings a sense a sense of sense of awe and wonder and magnificence. We are impressed. We get a sense of quality and sublimity—there’s nothing better. When we see a work of art that’s beautiful, we feel enlightened, happy, awestruck, and speechless. It picks us up. It’s uplifting to us. When we see beauty, we are uplifted. Beauty is God's goodness perceived by my senses. His beauty is an expression of his transcendence, evoking an awareness of the ideal that God is as "the greatest of all possible beings".

> Why is God desired and what is God desired for?

God is desired for the relationship between creation and creator. He is desired for atonement for sins, for wholeness in my person, and for the source of significance in life.

> "He made us" Can you prove this?

No theological premise can be proved. They are theological. God's creation can be evidenced by logic, but not ultimately proved by logic or science. We infer the most reasonable conclusion. As they said in "Zero Dark Thirty": "We deal in probability."
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Re: Why is God worthy of worship?

Postby Sure Breeze » Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:35 am

> It means that the universe ultimately belongs to the one who created it (just as a book belongs to its author or a painting to its artist). It's His. It's all in his jurisdiction and in His domain.

Two things here:

1. A book or painting isn't alive. I own a dog. Is it moral if I mutilate or kill my dog?
2. maybe you'll discuss this later about proving God creating the universe.

> but such things are beyond philosophical or scientific proof. You and I have had many conversations. You know this.

Of course I know this. I wish you stop claiming something you can't prove. If you're preaching or quoting what your religion says, that's one thing but wouldn't that be a boring debate? If all religious debates are answered with "this is what my religion believes" then all religious debates - even Scientology - would be boring and always won by the religious people by quoting their religion.

> It means that God is the supreme supernatural divine being.

I still don't know what you mean. Supercede what in what way? Do you have an example?

> You know better than to ask this question.

Of course I do. I'm just saying that what you're saying makes no sense. You might as well say "God is love" or some similar hippy stuff. Can you expand on what you're saying at all?

> When God kills it is an act of justice, not murder.

I agree and I never ever use the word "murder" when debating Christians because you define God as unable to murder anyone even if he kills every living thing in the universe. It's a definition problem with Christians. However, that's not the question. The question is a comparison between two universes:

    * ours, where God kills infants, and
    * ours but God doesn't kill infants
and I asked why it's a more perfect universe where God kills infants than one where God doesn't. Because to me, it seems like not killing infants is a relatively more perfect universe. Why it is MORE perfect to kill infants?

> Not at all.

You're saying that if God kills me, it wouldn't be a good and moral act? Are you sure? God is capable of evil? Is that more perfect than God only doing good?

> Thanks for letting me clarify [about beauty].

OK, so it's a subjective thing tied to your personal experience in how you see the universe, as opposed to an objective perfection tied to beauty that makes up God's specific corporeal characteristics. Thanks.

> God is desired for the relationship between creation and creator.

Am I broken in that I don't have this desire and find it unappealing? I fully admit that I could be an anomaly here (no sarcasm).

> God's creation can be evidenced by logic

Perhaps another topic but can you show this evidence? I've never seen Zero Dark Thirty, so I don't get the reference. I'm also under the impression that there aren't many Christians who have a high probability that God created the universe but instead most if not vast majority believe it's a certain fact with 100% probability.
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Re: Why is God worthy of worship?

Postby jimwalton » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:07 am

> A book or painting isn't alive. I own a dog. Is it moral if I mutilate or kill my dog?

Life was not the issue in the question, but rather what does "rightful sovereign over all-the ruler of all things" mean. Now you've changed the subject, focus, and accusation to reel in a seemingly pet peeve about "Is it moral if I mutilate my dog?" Of course it's not moral to mutilate your dog. Di you want to know about the definition of sovereign, or did you want to discuss your misunderstandings about the actions of God in history? Clearly it was the former.

> I wish you stop claiming something you can't prove.

Scientific proof is not the sole measure of reality. Scientists can't prove dark matter, and yet they affirm based on a sufficiency of evidence to make it reasonable to assert the proposition. So also with God.

> If all religious debates are answered with "this is what my religion believes" then all religious debates - even Scientology - would be boring and always won by the religious people by quoting their religion.

I agree, but I haven't said that. There are empirical evidences and logical affirmations that can be claimed about God that make theism a reasonable conclusion. But I never claim, "Well, I believe it because that's what my religion believes," nor did I claim that God can be proved by science, nor did I assert that things are only true if they can be be proved with absolute certainty—a premise, by the way, which runs into trouble even in the scientific realm. I am not at all interested to limit the ways of obtaining knowledge to those we call scientific. Even our five senses tell us that there are different ways to approach reality. In reality, both religious thought and philosophical thought depend upon and have recourse to evidence. Where they differ from science, and from each other, is in what they regard as evidence and in the different weight they accord to different types of evidence. Science insists that evidence must be in the form of clear repeatable experiments. Other types of discourse (religious, philosophical, literary, historical, jurisprudential, and artistic scholarship) place more emphasis on testimony, narrative, human nature, personal experience, etc. Knowledge can't be reduced to science.

> I still don't know what you mean. Supercede what in what way? Do you have an example?

Your question borders on the absurd, if not dives into it. "Give me an example of that which supersedes the un-supersedable." That's like saying, "Define the universe as all the matter and energy that exist, and give me three examples."

> even if he kills every living thing in the universe.

Once again, expanding into the absurd doesn't make your question reasonable or your point sustainable.

> and I asked why it's a more perfect universe where God kills infants than one where God doesn't. Because to me, it seems like not killing infants is a relatively more perfect universe. Why it is MORE perfect to kill infants?

OK, now we're into a seeming thorn in your side. What is perfect is to judge sin as it is worthy of judgment. What is righteous is to act to restore righteousness. It's philosophical utilitarianism to say that the ends justify the means, and all that matters is how things end up, regardless of the means employed to achieve that. It sounds like that's what you are accusing God of: "He kills babies to achieve the end of a just and moral society."

When in fact the Bible doesn't regard God as utilitarian but rather deontological: the rightness of His acts derive from the action itself and not from the consequence of the act. God is not using dubious behavior to achieve a greater good, but rather is acting in righteousness because righteousness is what is called for at the time. His action is right and good. You are the one judging him as if you know the entire story of what makes a person (a child, in this case) innocent or guilty, and as if you can weigh all mitigating and contributing factors to evaluate God as cruel, and yet you are not privy to the information upon which you claim to based your judgment.

> You're saying that if God kills me, it wouldn't be a good and moral act?

I'm saying if God killed you, his doing that is not what makes it right. It would be right because it conforms to ethical standards grounded in the attributes of God.

> God is capable of evil?

Of course not. Twisting my words won't get you far because I won't fall for the trap.

> Am I broken in that I don't have this desire and find it unappealing?

According to biblical theology, yes you are. You mind is darkened by your own choices through life based on your experiences and your desires.

> "God's creation can be evidenced by logic" Perhaps another topic but can you show this evidence?

I can state it briefly. The universe exhibits characteristics of design and of fine tuning. Taken together, they show the reality that (1) the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations that contain certain constants, and (2) the mathematical nature and values behind these constants are not determined by the laws of nature. These constants sit in an extraordinarily and almost miraculous pinpoint of life-permitting values, outside of which life would not exist.

As Bill Craig says, "Accordingly, we may argue: (1). The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design. (
2). It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
 (3). Therefore, it is due to design. Design is the best explanation if we are inferring the most reasonable conclusion.
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