Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Desiring God, by John Piper

Having just finished N.T. Wright's Surprised by Hope, our church's men's group is now reading and discussing John Piper's Desiring God. We're meeting tomorrow morning to discuss the Preface and Introduction.

I finished reading the Introduction this afternoon and I like what I am reading, not least because I have long been convinced that enjoying God, and enjoying Christianity, is central to transmitting the faith to the next generation. You might be able to convince your children that Christianity is true, but that isn't enough to keep them in the faith if they don't also find it lovely. As Doug Wilson says, the goal of parents is not to get their children to accept the standards, but to love the,. This relates to Piper's central thesis, which is that God is most glorified when we enjoy Him.

I do have a few questions that I am going to bring to tomorrow's discussion. (These will probably only make sense for those who have read the book.)

If “seeking one’s own happiness...is a simple given in human nature” (p. 19) and “a law of the human heart, as gravity is a law of nature” (ibid), then how can the avoidance and suppression of this motivation be considered ethically negative since the avoidance and suppression of this motivation has already been classified as impossible?

Is Piper’s contention that “Christian Hedonism” is ontologically descriptive (point #1 for how he became a Christian Hedonist in his introduction) at odds with his contention that such Hedonism is ethically mandated?

What is the practical difference between saying (A) that “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” and saying (B) “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever”? Suppose we reverse B to create C (“The chief end of man is to enjoy God by glorifying Him forever”). What is the practical difference between A B and C?

For some further questions about how Piper deals with evil in Desiring God, see my earlier post HERE.

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