God as Worthy of Worship
In the second lecture, Wolterstorff explicates what he calls the implicit understanding of God within the Christian liturgy as a whole (or as it accords with the convergence of the five traditions he is considering), the third and highest level of implicitness (see lecture 1). The highest level of implicitness is the assumption that God is worthy of worship. This understanding of God, says Wolterstorff, leads us in Christian worship to acknowledge the unsurpassable excellence of God. There is a definitive orientation taken on in worship, which he calls an attitudinal stance. This way of orienting ourselves toward God in Christian worship evokes (at least) awe, reverence and adoration of God. Awe is the proper response to God’s creative and redemptive glory; reverence to God’s holiness as untainted perfection; and adoration to God’s love for humanity. Thus, the implicit understanding of God as unsurpassably excellent and thereby worthy of worship is manifest in our attitudinal stance, or orientation towards God in worship.
Nicholas Wolterstorff taught at Yale since 1989 until he retired in 2002. Previously, he taught at Calvin College, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Notre Dame and has been visiting professor at several institutions. He is past President of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division) and serves on its publication and executive committees. In addition to numerous articles, he has written the following books: Religion and the Schools; On Universals; Reason within the Bounds of Religion; Art in Action; Works and Worlds of Art; Education for Responsible Action; Until Justice and Peace Embrace; Faith and Rationality (co-author); Rationality in the Calvinian Tradition (co-author); Lament for a Son; and Keeping Faith: Talks for New Faculty. In upcoming years, he will be the Wilde Lecturer at Oxford University and the Gifford Lecturer at St. Andrew’s University.