My daughter has been struggling for some time with her faith. She has, for the last few years, referred to herself as agnostic though I’ve got her to admit that she really isn’t agnostic. She believes in God and that He created all things, she’s just not convinced He’s a God that loves us all or is just indifferent to anything that goes on here. Last night she wanted to talk more, which is great that she wants to ask questions and discuss faith more, but her question was a difficult one.
She said she thinks God is selfish. Why else would he create billions of people for the purpose of worshiping Him. Why does he need that affirmation? Why did He need to create anything if not just to have an ego boost? I’ve seen and read some answers to this and gave her a basic answer, but I don’t think she was satisfied with it, and maybe I’m not either. Thus, I thought I’d throw the question out here and see what others have to say on the subject.
Why does God expect worship - is God selfish or egotistical?
Why did God create us?
First off, God created us not just to be worshiped, but to know and be known. The same way that two friends or a husband and wife have a deep, wonderful relationship of knowing - so God wants to know us. God did not create us so that we could just be members of a heavenly worship choir - He created us to know Him - to love and be loved.
John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
In fact, Jesus taught that we are no longer just servants - we are friends of God and children of God. We can call on God as father - we are coheirs with Christ. That is so much more than just being a heavenly choir! Wow!
John 15:14-15 - You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Romans 8:14-16 - For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Some of the reasons Scripture gives for God creating us:
to be stewards over creation
to be His chosen people and testimony to the nations
that we might bring Him glory and praise
that He might delight in us and we in Him
to know Him and be known by Him
Is God’s expectation of worship selfish?
I understand where your daughter is coming from - if another person stood up and started demanding worship, we would all think they had either lost their mind or were an ego maniac. But think about this - true worship is not a servile declaration - it is a response to God’s majesty and love.
We naturally worship things that are great or beautiful. When we see a terrific sunset or hear a beautiful piece of music, we stop and stand in awe. When we get to meet a famous celebrity who has inspired us or have a crush on someone that attracts us, that is a form of worship.
The Bible says God is glorious - that word glory means ‘weight’. God is weighty. Just like when a famous person comes in the room everyone pauses for a moment - or how people stop to stand in awe of beautiful scenery. That person has weight - that scene has weight.
God is the glorious One - the weighty One - the source of all that has any glory or weight in this world. Worship is a response to God’s beauty and love - it is not something that is forced.
We see in the Bible 2 things:
When people encounter God’s glory or even an angel, who reflects His glory, they fall on their face and recognize their unworthiness
God loves us first - our worship is a response to His great love for us
I John 4:19 - We love because he first loved us.
Isaiah 6:5 - 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Revelation 19:9-10 - Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!
Job 42:5-6 - My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.
What additional questions / thoughts do those raise in your mind? I pray the Lord Jesus grant you wisdom and open your daughter’s eyes / heart so that she can rest in His love and grace. May the Lord’s glory be revealed to her heart.
A good portion of how I think about worship has been shaped by CS Lewis. Instead of just trying to paraphrase him, I’ll direct you to a passage of his that was influential for me regarding a similar question. “Prayer of Praise” by CS Lewis