Book Reviews, Reformed Theology

The End for Which God Created the World

What follows is from a message from the 2003 Desiring God Conference that I was listening to on the way to work. John Piper quotes from Edwards’ book, The End for Which God Created the World, which is one of the most important books I have ever read.

God is the beginning, the middle, and the end of all things. Nothing exists without his creating it. Nothing stays in being without his sustaining word. Everything has its reason for existing from him. Therefore nothing can be understood apart from him, and all understandings of all things that leave him out are superficial understandings, since they leave out the most important reality in the universe. We can scarcely begin to feel today how God-ignoring we have become, because it is the very air we breathe.


Listen as he [Edwards] weaves together God’s joy in being God and our joy in his being God:

Because [God] infinitely values his own glory, consisting in the knowledge of himself, love to himself . . . joy in himself; he therefore valued the image, communication or participation of these, in the creature. And it is because he values himself, that he delights in the knowledge, and love, and joy of the creature; as being himself the object of this knowledge, love and complacence…[Thus] God’s respect to the creature’s good, and his respect to himself, is not a divided respect; but both are united in one, as the happiness of the creature aimed at, is happiness in union with himself.

In other words, for God to be the holy and righteousness God that he is, he must delight infinitely in what is infinitely delightful. He must enjoy with unbounded joy what is most boundlessly enjoyable; he must take infinite pleasure in what is infinitely pleasant; he must love with infinite intensity what is infinitely lovely; he must be infinitely satisfied with what is infinitely satisfying. If he were not, he would be fraudulent. Claiming to be wise, he would be a fool, exchanging the glory of God for images. God’s joy in God is part of what it means for God to be God.

– John Piper, “A God-Entranced Vision of All Things“, October 10, 2003


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