Do Everything for the Glory of God

Religions 9 (12):754 (2021)

Authors
W. Scott Cleveland
University of Mary
Abstract
St. Paul writes, “whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10: 31 NABRE).” This essay employs the work of St. Thomas Aquinas and the recent philosophical work of Daniel Johnson (2020) on this command to investigate a series of questions that the command raises. What is glory? How does one properly act for glory and for the glory of another? How is it possible to do everything for the glory of God? I begin with Aquinas’ account of glory and the pursuit of glory for God’s glory and Aquinas’s answers to some of the above questions that can be drawn from his discussion in De Malo. I defend Aquinas against criticisms from Daniel Johnson and present his own interpretation of the command. I advance the discussion through adding two additional interpretations that do not rely on a controversial assumption Johnson makes. Next, I address the puzzle of how we can intend everything for the glory of God using Aquinas’s three-fold account of intention. Finally, I discuss the relation between charity and the desire for God’s glory and how regular, actual intentions of one’s actions for the glory of God increases charity.
Keywords glory  goodness  God  action  charity  Thomas Aquinas
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