Theology

Jesus Is Not an Egomaniac

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Author Amy K. Hall Published on 08/13/2016

Here’s John Piper’s take on the common objection that Jesus’ demands for love and allegiance (such as, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me”) are egomaniacal:

Premise #1: Love desires and works and is willing to suffer to enthrall the beloved with the fullest and longest happiness...

Premise #2: Being eternally enthralled with Jesus as the decisive revelation of God is the fullest and longest happiness in the universe...

Conclusion: Therefore, when Jesus tells us that we must love him—treasure him, be satisfied in him—above all others, he is loving us...

Here is the end of the matter: God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is not the act of a needy ego, but an act of infinite giving. The reason God seeks our supreme praise, or that Jesus seeks our supreme love, is not because he’s needy and won’t be fully God until he gets it, but because we are needy and won’t be fully happy until we give it.

This is not arrogance. This is grace.

This is not egomania. This is love.

And the very heart of the Christian gospel is that this is what Christ died to achieve—our full and everlasting enjoyment of the greatness of God.

Read or listen to the rest of Piper’s message (and for more on the objection that God is a selfish egomaniac, see here and here).

It’s important to note that usually the person making this objection is imagining how he would react if a fallen human being spoke as Jesus did. Of course any fallen human being who demanded this kind of allegiance would repulse us! But such a person repulses us precisely because he is fallen and unworthy of what he’s demanding. To begin with the assumption that Jesus is a fallen human being who is unworthy of His demands, and then to use the resulting repulsion to prove that Jesus is a fallen human being, is to engage in circular reasoning.

If one wants to evaluate the character of the Jesus of the Bible (and thus, the morality of Christian theology), then one must evaluate the Jesus of the Bible. Because of this, the question to consider is not, What would I think of a guy who demanded my love and obedience? That scenario is simply not analogous to the Christian view of Jesus; therefore, it could never lead anyone to a proper conclusion on the morality of the Christian view of Jesus. If one wants to debate the propriety of Christianity’s Jesus demanding our love, the precise question to debate is, If Jesus is God—our sovereign Creator—and is morally perfect and blindingly good and loving, then is it wrong for Him to call us to love Him above all others?