C. S. Lewis on Praise & Love of God

Mentioned this quote by C. S. Lewis from his work Reflections from the Psalms. The context is that as an atheist, he saw all of the commands from God to love Him, praise Him, worship Him, honor Him.  At first it seemed as if God was vain, in need of some kind of affirmation from His creatures in order to function.  But then Lewis realized that the purpose of these commands was something completely other, it was an invitation to enter into the joy of God through experiencing Him deeply and finding Him to be good.  Here is the quote.

“But the most obvious fact about praise — whether of God or anything — strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. … The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game. … I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”


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