Isaiah 42: Is God Arrogant?
I have heard it said before that the God of the Bible is arrogant, and as I was reading Isaiah 42, I came across a verse that I assume proponents of this position could use to demonstrate why it is obvious that God has some kind of inflated ego.
Isa 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
Basically, God is reminding everyone yet again that He is greater than any kind of idol. In fact, we should not give glory to anyone else. Why can’t God share? Sure, God might be the top priority in our lives, but can’t we only give Him 75% and distribute the other 25% as we see fit? He is still on top, so why can’t He just be happy with that? Why is he so arrogant to believe that He deserves all of it?
I think it is important to realize just to we are talking about here. A few verses earlier, Isaiah introduces God’s speech in the following way.
Isa 42:5 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:
We are talking about the infinite Creator of the universe. We are talking about the one being in the universe who is able to speak matter and energy into existence. We are talking about the omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect ruler of all of creation.
How could anyone possibly compare to Him?
There is an interesting distinction to be made here if we try to compare God to anything else in the universe. Let’s say we try to compare God to a human being. Human beings are pretty impressive creatures, but there is no way to compare finite, weak and morally imperfect creatures to God. If we had to decide between those two where we ought to put our praise, we should choose the greater one. That makes sense. You praise what is most impressive.
Now, say you want to give a human one unit of praise. After all, there are some people who are pretty impressive here on earth. However, God is infinitely greater than even that human. Now, what happens mathematically when something goes to infinity? Everything else goes to zero because in comparison to infinity; it is not anything.
I think this similar concept applies to God. In comparison to whatever praise you might think a human or anything else for that matter deserves, God is infinitely more, and in comparison, the praise left over for the human goes to zero.
God doesn’t demand praise unjustly is my point. He deserves all the praise because of who He is. It is not arrogant to claim to be and establish your position as exactly who you are.