Adults Have a Greater Capacity to Glorify God

Dr. Eric Johnson, from my recent conversation about personal agency and childhood conversion:

I would argue that adults have a greater capacity to glorify God, because of the enhanced capacities to do so that emerge in adulthood. Consider, e.g., a 7-year-old child singing a worship song in a children’s choir. It is precious and God receives glory (“out of the mouth of babes”!). But the child does not have the capacity to deeply “enter in” to the words. In contrast, consider the 30-year-old who has suffered a great deal and is painfully aware of his sinfulness and also of God’s holiness and then of Christ’s love and compassion for him, dying on the cross. For that person to praise God in that song, mindful of all these complex realities—doing so as a little child—is to do so with a greater depth of heart, perhaps with bittersweet tears of joy, so that the older person is able to glorify God more, is able to be an image of God more fully, than the child. We might consider this the existential quality of Christian faith that in part is what distinguishes adults from children.