Does God 'want' worship?


#1

Talking to a friend tonight and I don’t believe I’m remotely close to answering his question, and found myself asking similar questions. The question really leads to others as well, so I’m coming here in hopes that someone can answer this as if answering an atheist or agnostic. Quoting Scripture will not be an effectively persuasive starting point.

I myself have always had trouble with this question as I’ve asked it myself. I’ve gotten the answer before of “He wants it for our benefit.” etc., but have found that genre of answers unsatisfactory. I pray often, ‘thanking’ God, but honestly wouldn’t know ‘how’ to ‘worship’ correctly, or more importantly why God would desire worship. I guess I fully understand why He’d like to be thanked for all the gifts he’s given me, and if He wants worship for it as well, I know I should, but don’t understand why He’d want it.

I like Scott Hahn’s explanation of God, as our Father, Jesus our Brother, Mary our Mother, and how the entire Catholic Faith is the ‘family of God’. As a father myself, I would desire respect, honor, obedience, love and some graciousness from my children. I wouldn’t want ‘worship’, nor can explain why our God would want worship. Other than our happiness and being with Him, I can’t imagine why God would ‘want’ anything. Otherwise, why bother to create us? And to say that to ‘worship’ Him is part of how we can be happy, as my friend stated, seems ‘arrogant’. I’m not sure I agree with that statement, but understand the confusion as to why would a diety create a being (humans) whereby a main ingredient of how they can reunite with said diety would be to worship it.

Maybe I misunderstand the concept of worship. Thankfulness, I understand. Recognition, I understand. Worship? I guess one could argue that we should WANT to worship (due to our thankfulness), but that doesn’t answer the question as to if God ‘desires’ it, and if He does, even more importantly “why” would he desire it. Why would a diety ‘want’.

Obviously, I can’t say that I know the Bible, or probably from the answers I’ll get, our Catholic Faith; but when speaking with someone who is agnostic at best, I have trouble explaining this concept, and when I did tonight, found myself begging for answers as well.

He described his difficulty as one with “arrogance”. I believe he meant that he couldn’t understand why a diety would bother to create something so that it’s main purpose would be to thank it for being created, or that it would involve any element of worship. Kind of like, ‘what’s the point’? It was the basis for his questioning about whether there was a God at all. I started to tell him about how He wanted to share His love with us… then I quickly fell apart to “I really don’t know, but I’ll get you an answer soon.”. So, again, I came here…

Sorry if I offended people reading this. I can imagine my mother being in shock, crying out “Just believe!!!” hoping that’d end the discussion. It IS due to her faith that I’m Catholic, but obviously, it doesn’t mean I fully understand the logic behind everything we’re suppose to believe. Maybe we’re not required to worship? Is being very, very, very thankful enough? (I remember learning about the five levels of prayer - think I’m stuck on level 2)

Anyway, Thank you in advance!


#2

HI DAK,

An intelligent being does things with a purpose in mind. God is an intelligent being. Therefore he creates with a purpose in mind.

Here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says,

****293 ****Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: “The world was made for the glory of God.” St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things “not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it”, for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness: “Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand.” The First Vatican Council explains:

This one, true God, of his own goodness and “almighty power”, not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel "and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal

. . ."

In other words God creates so that he can manifest his love to creatures and be loved in return. To return God’s love through thanks, praise and prayer is worship.

WE cannot judge God’s actions on purpose as viewed by us, but on purpose as viewed by HIm. He is the maker. He decides what his creatures are supposed to be and do.

Verbûm


#3

I can’t give you a definitive answer (I’m sure others here will be able to) but I can tell you about my own experience. It might not help with your friend but it may be of use to you somehow.

When I first came back to full communion with the Catholic Church, I was filled with a bright shining light. I knew it wouldn’t stay at the same intensity for ever and it didn’t. Still, it matured into a warm, glowing light that I’ve always been aware of.

Since my return to the Church, however, I’ve been bombarded with thoughts that I never had before. I never questioned God’s existence or his love for us or anything else about Him even though I wasn’t in full communion with the Church. After I came back, I was flooded with those thoughts, usually after I had made some significant spiritual progress which made me think it was some form of spiritual warfare. Each attack was stronger than the one before but I was always able to fend them off, until recently.

I, too, started to think what an arrogant being God must be to create us just to worship him. And what’s with all these stupid rules? As I entertained those thoughts I became very angry with the whole set up and decided I didn’t need any of it. And then my little light inside went out. After days of thought, I came to the realization that life before the light wasn’t that good after all. Yes, I could sleep in and not worry about my behavior as much. But it was empty, cold, and dark.

As I was mulling that over, it dawned on me. My thoughts of God’s arrogance, an ego-maniacal despot creating us to worship Him, echoed those of Lucifer before the fall. Like Lucifer, I was essentially saying I will not bow and scrape before anyone; I will not serve! My thoughts also echoed what Adam and Eve must have thought at Satan’s prompting before their fall. It was the sin of pride - thinking I’m just as good as God. As soon as I realized that, the little light came back and life is good again - even if I am tired from getting up extra early to go to Mass. I experienced a little bit of Hell and the grace of God brought me back. Again.

Satan knows what buttons to push on each of us and he will use others if necessary. The battles get more difficult over time. Stay on your toes and hold onto your faith.


#4

Satan does know what buttons to push.

If you are getting closer to God, you will see a definite increase in spiritual attacks, especially at your own weaknesses.

Satan doesn’t need to concentrate on those who are mired in sin as they tempt themselves, compared to those who are coming back to Christ. Satan even made a personal appearance for Jesus before his public ministry.

Scylla


#5

Worship of God is communion with Him, and complete abandon to His love. The Mass is the supreme act of worship because we offer the supreme Love to Him, our own selves united to the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ and He offers the supreme love to us when we receive Him in Holy Communion.


#6

Many church fathers have stated that we are inequipped to define God in any way. We have neither the words nor the understanding. We can state what God is not, but never with any certainty what He is. Read some of Augustine for this.

Saying that, it is hard to imagine God desiring worship since that would be similar to what kings and people in power want. That might be trying to assign attributes of humans onto God. Additionally, one would think that such a being would be “above” wanting worship.

To an agnostic I would simply say, that I believe that God wishes communication. Our activities of mass, prayer, ritual prayer, etc, are our limited attempt to do just that. We each find different ways and means that work best for us. Some of what we do is merely meant to pay deep respect for our Creator for the honor of life he has bestowed upon us. So rather than say we are worshiping God, I would say we are conversing with Him.


#7

It seems to me that God’s desire that we worship Him is His desire that we know the truth and express it to Him. It is wonderful to discover the truths about God, and even more wonderful to then share it with the Him who is Truth - and led you to it.

Eg.
“Lord God, you are the Almighty One; Creator of us all; Source of all love. Next to You I am nothing. I love You. Thank you for creating me.”

If such conversation with God is what you mean by worship, then it is nothing more than conversing with God about the truths you have come to know. * Communication is necessary for there to be a loving relationship between two beings, between God and a human person. It must be a communication based on truth - the truth of who God is and the truth of who we are.*


#8

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.