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Friday, November 18, 2005

Praising a Master Artist

A quote from John Piper (and he's quoting CS Lewis)...

The answer to the ... question -- "Why is it loving God to be so self-exalting that he does all that he does for his own glory? -- came to me with the help of C.S. Lewis. When I was pondering the fact that in Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14 Paul says that God performs all the acts of redemption so that we might praise his glory, I discovered that in his early days as a Christian, Lewis was bothered by the commands of God to praise God. They seemed vain.

But then he discovered why this is not vain but profoundly loving of God to do. Here is his all-important insight:

The most obvious fact about praise ... strangely escaped me ... I had
nevernoticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise ... The
worldrings with praise - lovers praising their mistresses, readers their
favoritepoet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite
game -praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, horses, colleges,
countries,historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare
beetles,even sometimes politicians and scholars ... My whole, more general
difficultyabout praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards
thesupremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can't help
doing,about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merelyexpresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another howbeautiful they are, the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.

(from John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad, p. 224; quoting Lewis, Reflection on the Psalms)


At 7:32 PM, November 19, 2005, Blogger Christian said...

Great comments, Molly! Thanks for sharing... (I sure like C.S. Lewis)

At 7:34 AM, November 21, 2005, Blogger Brian said...

Great post! I had never thought to tie praise into the whole experience of enjoying God the way Lewis does here. This could probably help us out in a time where I think parts of the American Church have forgotten how to fulfill the second part of the very first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Lewis' mind seems to think in a more Trinitarian dimension than I know I typically do. His comments here also remind me of an idea he wrote into "Out of the Silent Planet" that talks about "remembering" as being a continuation of the original event; that remembering and the event are part of one and the same experience.


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