Is God selfish?

if all he wants is glory?

Posted on October 07, 2016

Why did God redeem his people from slavery in Egypt? One might quickly reply, “For his glory.” Certainly that is correct, but other concerns also played a part. The book [Exodus] presents God's multifaceted reasons for deliverance...In the exodus God displays his love, covenant faithfulness, jealousy, providence, and power through his wonders, salvation, and judgment. In doing so, he communicates himself and thus glorifies himself. Understanding this truth is significant, as it helps us address a common question concerning God’s glory: “If God seeks his glory above all things, does this mean that he is selfish? After all, if we seek our own glory, we are deemed selfish.” The standard answer to that line of questioning is that God is the ultimate being and the highest end, and we are not. Good behavior seeks the highest end, so God’s making himself his own ultimate end is fitting. If we treat ourselves as the highest end, we act wrongly because we are not the highest end. That argument is valid, but it ignores God’s genuine desire for the good of his creatures and fails to show how God’s love and his glory are linked. A better answer is to stress that God saves us out of love, displays his kindness toward us for all eternity, and is glorified by putting his greatness, goodness, and fullness on display. God is self-giving and self-exalting, saving us for our good and for his glory. He gives himself to us and acts on our behalf, which simultaneously meets our needs and demonstrates his sufficiency.

'The Community of Jesus: A Theology of the Church' by Kendell H. Easley and Christopher W. Morgan

Just read this and it struck a chord (or maybe just a note). I had never been able to articulate how God's glory seeking isn't selfish before. I think I usually would have opted for the suggested 'standard answer'.

But I think I am beginning to see that God is glorified through His actions, not because they are successful or powerful or cleverly executed, but because they are selfless and loving and compassionate. These traits are at the heart of His being, they are what he values, and so he is glorified when he acts in accordance with them. Even His act of Creation was a demonstration of his outflowing love. And since he chose to create and bless, he is therefore worthy of the upmost Glory. It's not selfish to value selflessness, demonstrate it, and then be recognised for it.

Worthy are you, 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.

Rev 4:11