Is God Self-Glorifying or Other-Oriented? How About Both?

There is an interesting pseudo-dialogue going on between the blogs of Ben Witherington and John Piper right now concerning the nature of God as it is represented in the Incarnation. You can read it here:

Witherington’s Original Post

DesiringGod.org Response / Slam

I call it pseudo-dialogical, because it is clear that the initial response from the DesiringGod website was primarily a knee-jerk reaction, that did not give due attention to the heart of what Dr. Witherington was saying. That is, of course, my opinion and you must judge for yourself. However, I hold the thought of both Piper and Witherington in high regard, so I am more interested in promoting healthy dialog. To this end, I posted the following comment on the DesireingGod.org blog, and I am awaiting a response:

I understand the knee-jerk reaction to anything that implies (on the
surface) that God created man for any reason other than his own
glorification. However, the argument that Dr. Witherington seems to be
setting up is not saying this at all. Instead, what he seems to be
suggesting is that the Incarnation itself is not primarily a matter of further
glorification, but rather an act of other-oriented love. This does not in
any way deny the first statement, for only redeemed humanity, empowered by the
Spirit, can ever offer sufficient glory to the Creator, and then only after the
fullness of the Kingdom has come. But that doesn’t necessitate that the
Incarnation itself is merely a means to that end.

I’d be interested in hearing a dialogue on this, rather than a
knee-jerk smearing of Dr. Witherington’s character.

Dr. Witherington’s response to the claims of his critics, though not directly noted as such, is a good step in the right direction, but I am very interested to see further response from Piper’s camp. You can read this second post at:

http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2007/12/did-christ-come-to-please-himself.html

Enjoy!

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