Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why God Doesn't Like Pride

I've heard some people say that God doesn't want us to be proud because only he can be proud. I even read an article once on why God can be selfish and proud while we cannot. The main thrust of the argument went like this: He's God and can do as he likes.

While I appreciate the focus on God and his sovereignty, I must say I find that argument philosophically and theologically shallow.

Plato wondered how it was decided that certain things were virtuous and other things were sinful. He asked if God (or the gods) just decided on a whim to prefer honesty over deceit, declaring, "Humans must be honest because we say so" -- or is there something inherent within honesty that made God (or the gods) say, "We acknowledge honesty to be superior to deceit"?

My answer is: neither. Honesty is superior to deceit because it more accurately reflects the character and nature of God. That is why we are told to be honest; honesty is godly.

It is the same with humility. God is not opposed to pride because it is something only he can possess; God is opposed to pride because pride is unlike him.

For a brief time, God came to earth in the flesh -- in the person of Jesus. One of the few times Jesus actually described himself, he used words like "meek", "humble", "lowly". Not words we typically associate with God -- perhaps because we have crafted God in our own image and imagined how we would be if we had access to his power and resources.

This is why pride is so insidious: it gets in the way of me serving others; it resists the building of true community; it hinders the process of being transformed from within into a more godly person.

When seen in that light, God's not the only one who doesn't like pride; I don't like it very much either.