Does God Need Praise and Glory?

Does God Need Praise and Glory?
by Dave E. Matson

An infinitely powerful being presumably has the ability to satisfy all its wants instantly. Whence, then, the craving of the biblical god for glory and human praise? Indeed, why would a complete being even create mankind? I can't think of any good reasons, can you?

The human ego, however, knows no bounds. Therefore, it imagines that mankind was not only created by an all-powerful being, but that the entire universe was created for man's benefit! (The Bible is very man-orientated.) If that isn't bad enough, the human ego imagines that such a god absolutely craves human praise and attention. Thus, like a vain, oriental potentate, God takes great pains to cloak himself in GLORY. He wants to impress his created subjects.

Throughout recorded history society has generally been divided into classes. One's "betters" usually demonstrated their superiority by fancier clothes, a bigger estate, and a larger contingent of servants and guards. At the top sat the king, whose clothes, estates, and contingents of servants and guards were the most glorious of all. Naturally, such people imagined that God would possess even more glory. God would sit on top of this totem pole, and his every move would be clothed in the ultimate regal power and glory.

Human rulers have a need for glory; they must distance themselves from their subjects lest the masses question their "right" to rule. It's also easier to rule if you convince the masses that you have God behind you. Hence, the unholy marriage between the ancient church and state. But, what need has God for glory?

Does God revel in self-admiration? Does God's ego require the strokes of man's approval? Is God unable to command without inspiring fear? Glory is the dress code men choose for their manmade gods; it is not a likely choice of a really advanced and powerful being.

A similar situation holds true for endless praise. The god of the Bible sucks up praise like a vacuum cleaner sucking up dirt! As if he couldn't squeeze enough praise from his multitudes on earth, God has special beings installed around his very throne whose sole role is to sing his endless praise! Apparently God's ego is even bigger than man's and needs a steady stream of super-heated air to prop it up.

Hear the words of Isaiah and the Revelation of John. Ask yourself if a real god would deck himself out in such an outlandish costume. Is this not a Mideastern potentate writ large?

He [God] was sitting on his throne, high and exalted, and his robe filled the whole Temple. Around him flaming creatures were standing, each of which had six wings. Each creature covered its face with two wings, and its body with two, and used the other two for flying. They were calling out to each other:
"Holy, holy, holy!

The Lord Almighty is holy!
His glory fills the world."

(Isaiah 6:1-3 Today's English Version)
... all around the throne there was a rainbow the color of an emerald. In a circle around the throne were twenty-four other thrones, on which were seated twenty-four elders dressed in white and wearing crowns of gold. From the throne came flashes of lightening, rumblings, and peals of thunder. . . .
Surrounding the throne on each of its sides, were four living creatures . . . Day and night they never stop singing:
"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord

God Almighty,
who was, who is, and who is to come."
The four living creatures sing songs of glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever. When they do so, the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They throw their crowns down in front of the throne and say,
"Our Lord and God! You are
to receive glory, honor, and
For you created all things,
and by your will they were
given existence and life."

(Revelation 4:3-5, 7, 8-11, Today's English Version)

Can you imagine that ruckus going on hour after hour? How many times a day must those poor elders flop down before God and toss forth their crowns? It must be a very tiresome job! Is that God's idea of greatness?

Truly great minds tend to be sickened by excessive flattery. One would think that God would be more like a great karate or judo master who enjoys the absolute respect and devotion of his students, not by grandiose props and incessant demands for praise, but by simply being worthy of praise. Those worthy of praise are usually the last to toot their horns.

Have you ever noticed how easily fountains of praise to the Lord tumble and flow in a great flood from Christian lips? It seems as if there was a contest to see who could praise God the most! Make God happy by singing his praises day and night!

Is God really so ego-happy?

The working brain recognizes that the ego-happy god of the Bible, the GLORY seeker of the Old Testament and the praise-absorbing sponge of the Old and New Testaments, is a manmade creation. Primitive minds have extended their own faulty concepts of human greatness and vanity to come up with their idea of God, the super, Mideastern potentate. Such work cannot be "God's own words."


  1. This interesting article appears to end mid-flow. When will it be completed? It covers the very beginnings of what sets out to be an intersting discussion on ego, using the christian representation of god as a medium but appears to end before achieving a balanced and reasoned discussion or achieving any credible conclusion. I imagine the article would go on to discuss modern understanding of the ego, set out the basis of understanding of the ego when these passages of the bible were written, contrast these with what the Greek philosophers were writing about at a time predating the new testiment by over 1000 years (including the works of Plato), and offer observations on why despite such a rich background of knowledge being available for at least the past 3000 to 4000 years why the human ego should still now be susceptible to unrestrained need for praise and glory. Have we moved on as a society or do we still have primitive minds? Perhaps as part of the conclusion Dave might offer a brief insight for our reflection and on what "God's own words" might be.


      I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.
      - Deut. 5:9, Ex.20:5

      For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you.
      - Deut.6:15

      How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
      - Psalm 79:5

      For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken.
      - Ezek. 38:19

      God is jealous, and the Lord revenges.
      - Nahum 1:2

      Thus says the Lord of hosts; I was jealous of Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.
      - Zech. 8:2 (See also: Ex. 34:14; Deut. 4:24, 29:20; Psalms 78:58; Ezek.16:38, 36:5-6 & Joshua 24:19)

      Among human beings jealousy ranks distinctly as a weakness; a trade-mark of small minds; a property of all small minds, yet a property which even the smallest is ashamed of; and when accused of its possession will lyingly deny it and resent the accusation as an insult. Yet the authors of the Bible have their God say, naively, outspokenly, and without suggestion of embarrassment, “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” Which is only another way of saying, “I the Lord thy God am a small God; a small God, and fretful about small things.” Such a God cannot bear the thought of any other God getting some of the Sunday compliments of our comical little human race--he wants all of them for himself. He values them. To him they are riches; just as tin money is to a Zulu.

      Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth

    2. According to the book of Revelation, Heaven is an eternal praise service; a service of compliment or flattery. God sits on his throne, attended by twenty-four harp-playing elders (Rev. 5:8) and some other dignitaries pertaining to his court, and looks out over his miles and miles of tempestuous worshippers, and smiles, and purrs, and nods his satisfaction northward, eastward, southwards; as quaint and naive a spectacle as has yet been imagined in this universe, I take it. It is easy to see that the inventor of this image of heaven did not originate the idea, but copied it from the show-ceremonies of some sorry little sovereign state up in the back settlements of the Middle East somewhere.

      Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth

  2. You missed this one:

    And think of the long-suffering of our Lord as salvation (as our beloved brother Paul also has written to you according to the wisdom given to him as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction).
    (2Peter 3:15-16)

    And Heaven, an eternal praise service?

    And there will be no night there. And they need no lamp, or light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light. And they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

    ...and made us kings and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    (Revelation 1:6)

    And the nations of those who are saved will walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. And its gates may not be shut at all by day, for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
    (Revelation 21:24-26)

    What about ruling and reigning forever over the universe from the place which rules the universe: heaven. Does that sound more appealing? Wouldn't you like to rule a galaxy?

    What about being created for God's pleasure, and a relationship with Him (rather than a religion)?

    What about a God who is jealous for his people like a man is jealous when his wife is sleeping with other men (if you can't understand God's jealousy, don't knock it).

    And don't husbands praise their wives and vice versa? And don't children say things like "Dad, you're awesome", and "you've got big muscles". That's praise isn't it?

    Would you rather become a son of the Almighty, or go the other way (hint, have some common sense):

    But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, will have their part in the Lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
    (Revelation 21:8)

    And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you of whom you shall fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear Him.
    (Luke 12:4-5)

    For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    (John 3:16)

    If you believe in Jesus (put your trust in him), you will have everlasting life instead of everlasting suffering as a consequence of your sins. If you reject Christ's payment for your sins on the cross, you'll have to pay for them yourself, and not a million years in the lake of fire will erase a single sin.

    So there's a few verses and thoughts to chew on.

    Once upon a time there was a man driving along a road, and saw a "grave danger ahead" sign on the side of the road. He kept driving. He said to himself "there's no danger ahead, not even a remote possibility. Stupid sign. And he put his foot on the gas and went around a bend, and flew off a cliff.