If you read enough in a given area you learn to recognize patterns, or at least you should. You begin to see the same issues come up or the same solutions more or less, but just in different dress. Once you get the pattern of problems in Origen, it is amazing how pervasive and long lasting they are. People go ground and round for centuries. This is one reason why the theology of Maximus the Confessor is so important and so liberating. Maxmus freed me from these problems. By the grace of God, he can free you too.
Here in John Piper’s remarks, you can see the implicit Origenism. In order for God to be God he must be God over something or more properly a cause of something.
It is a proper and excellent thing for infinite glory to shine forth; and for the same reason, it is proper that the shining forth of God’s glory should be complete; that is, that all parts of his glory should shine forth, that every beauty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may have a proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly manifested, and another not at all.…
Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all. If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifestation of God’s holiness in hatred of sin, or in showing any preference, in his providence, of godliness before it.
There would be no manifestation of God’s grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no misery to be saved from. How much happiness soever he bestowed, his goodness would not be so much prized and admired.…
So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world; because the creature’s happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect. (Concerning the Divine Decrees, 528, emphasis added. On page 350 of Desiring God) HT to Inhabitatio Dei
I suppose the appropriate set of questions for Piper would be the following. Is creation necessary in order for God to be Lord? Is the Son subodinate in essence in order for the Father to be Father and Lord over someone, lest God’s attribute of being Lord go unrealized? Is it any wonder that modern Arianism (Unitarianism) came out of theology like this? It doesn’t seem to dawn on Piper that he is now advocating a kind of daulism with the good dependent on the evil. What relation has God with the devil? Piper seems to think plenty. He has fully imbibed it seems the Hellenistic view that morality is dialetically conditioned, good has an opposite. (And people charge that Orthodoxy is baptized Platonism! Where Mr. Piper is this stuff stated in Scripture? So much for Sola Scriptura! ) I suppose the devil must be eternal now in order for God to be God too?! (I must confess I’d pay real money to see an exchange between James White and Piper on White’s claim that God fulfills the conditions on libertarian free will and Piper’s claim that evil is necessary for God to be fully God-Ah, the monkey and the weasel!)
As an aside, Piper’s view is also in principle reemniscient of Open Theism or Process Theism-God is incomplete without the world. Please, someone call Bruce Ware, quick! Who would have thought that Calvinism and Open Theism had so much in common?
Heaven deliver us from such madness. St. Maximus, pray for us!