John Piper’s “Christian Hedonism” Requires the Universal Salvation of All Mankind

by Phillip on December 3, 2012

John Piper and “Christian Hedonism.”

For those not familiar with this term it was coined by Pastor John Piper back in the eighties with his book entitled Desiring God. The basic premise was that God’s glory is actually intertwined with our enjoyment of Him. In fact he modified the answer to the Westminster Catechism question, “What is the Chief end of man?”:

“The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

This idea most certainly begs the question of Piper: if God is MOST glorified when we are enjoying Him and He has the ability to draw all of us into that desire and love for him then why wouldn’t He? (If you are a Calvinist.) On the other hand if you are a believer in free-will (Arminian) then this beautiful idea of being “most glorified” is just a hopeless wish by God which will never be realized. He will never be MOST glorified, only a LITTLE glorified. This is because God will fail to have the worship of billions of His image-bearers and instead receive their hatred and rebellion for all eternity. I don’t think this is what Piper had in mind but it is where this idea leads. He has yet to take his theology to its logical end.

However, this incredible insight by Piper is actually a powerful revelation of God’s intimate connection with His image-bearers. God will not be fully glorified until ALL His creation is in alignment with His heart and fully enjoying His beauty and glory! Saint Irenaeus put it this way: “The glory of God is mankind fully alive.”

It must then be true that, “in Him we live and move and have our being” and that His plan is to be “all in all” …”everything to everyone!” (Acts 17:28; 1 Cor 15:28)

John Piper doesn’t realize it but he is forcing us to see that there cannot be any other way! “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” For a Calvinist like Piper that should mean only one thing: He will indeed receive ALL the worship and glory!

“Let EVERYTHING that has breath praise the Lord!”  Psalm 150

“…so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:11

Sara April 25, 2013 at 10:08 am

“God will not be fully glorified until ALL His creation is in alignment with His heart and fully enjoying His beauty and glory!”

What about the devil and fallen angels? They are God’s creation, and I don’t suppose that they will be enjoying His beauty and glory.

admin April 25, 2013 at 11:13 am

Great question Sara because many people tie in the future of Satan/demons along with those who do not accept Christ and this is misleading. What happens to Satan/demons? I don’t know exactly and I don’t think we need to know the details. The Church Father Origen said that the restoration included Satan himself. Who knows?

However, it is interesting that Paul said, “God is reconciling all things to Himself” which he said included “things under the earth” so that could be a reference to Satan etc., Especially when the context had just listed what those things were: “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities” (Col 1:16). So it appears that the “all things” what were created are the same “all things” that will be reconciled.

And who knows what reconciliation looks like for an entity like Satan/demons. They were not created in the image of God as human beings were. Our ORIGINAL purpose was to be conformed to His image and likeness. That was never the purpose of Satan/demons. So how they glorify God may be that they have served their purpose and then are annihilated like we are told Death will be.

Or it could even be argued that they really have no substance anyway for they make up the “kingdom of darkness.” And darkness is not anything but simply the absence of light. It is literally “no-thing.” The way darkness is destroyed is by the light taking over. It is light that “overcomes” the darkness John says (John 1).

There are lots of ways to look at this other than seeing it as some conundrum for God–that He can’t actually do what He said He was going to do which is to “reconcile ALL things.” The one thing we can be sure of is that we as image-bearers were in God’s mind even before the world began, before He even said the words “Let us make man in our image” on that 6th day. (John 1; Eph 1) We know that His word does not return void (Isa 55:11) and on the 6th day again God said in Jesus: “It is finished.” What is finished? His work of RE-creation. His grand purpose:

“With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. ” (Eph 1:8-10)

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Col 1:19-20)

Jon May 4, 2013 at 10:05 am

I think what also gets unpacked along with all the speculation about the Devil/demons is the idea from Revelation that Satan will be tormented “day and night, forever and ever.” However, “day and night” indicates this is happening within the realm of time so it can’t be an eternal reality. In addition, the word translated as “forever” is plural as in “ages” and would therefore need to be accurately rendered “forevers and forevers” making absolutely no sense.

Whatever one’s view of revelation is (which there are a plethora) the realities of time/eternity need to be sorted out before we can go on making doctrines of final destinies from this book. It is after all called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” not a revelation of a bunch of future events (of which there is no consensus within the church). Pastor Peter Hiett has helped to point us back to the original intention of Revelation: to reveal Jesus.

You can read his book, “Apocalypse Now” here:

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