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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

For Christ's pleasure?

Revelation 4:11, in the KJV, reads thus:
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

At least one worship song is based on that verse, and uses the phrase "for Thy pleasure" in the same way.

I checked the Blueletter Bible. I'm not a Greek scholar, but do report that, of the 12 different English translations given for that verse, only 3, one being the KJV, use this phrase. The rest of them say that things were created by or at Christ's will.

I also checked the Greek lexicon provided by the Blueletter Bible, and found that the KJV almost always translates the word, θέλημα (thelēma), translated as "pleasure," in Revelation 4:11, as "will." In fact, out of over sixty occurrences of the word in the New Testament, Revelation 4:11 and Ephesians 2:3, which refers to a human attitude, not God's, are the only verses where it is not translated as "will."

Perhaps it is correct to say that the universe, and the things in it, were created for Christ's pleasure, but the case is not strong. I don't think we know why we were created. We're probably not capable of understanding the reason or reasons.

Thanks for reading.


George said...

True enough, Dr. L. But hasn't Rick Warren made a gazillion dollars writing his take on why we were created?

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, George.

I probably shouldn't say this, but I haven't read much Rick Warren, so I'm not familiar with what he has to say about the matter.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read a lot of Rick Warren either, but I think that it is safe to say that we exist because of the will of God (Eph 1:11). He wanted us to exist. He doesn't do things whimsically or without purpose, and the scriptures say that He does all that He pleases (Ps 135:6, 115:3). So I believe it is fair to say that we exist for the pleasure of God; even if lexically this fact is not established by Rev 4:11. "...and for Thy pleasure Thou hast created, for Thou has created all things..."

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, PastorJasonNRBC.

I agree with you completely, down to the close of your second parenthesis. We were created purposefully, because of the will of God. The "pleasure" I'm not sure of, because the translation of that word is apparently not the only legitimate way to translate Revelation 4:11, and, of course, because of the difficulty of understanding what Revelation means, generally.

Thanks for your comment.