If God delights in the creatures’ participation of his happiness for its own sake, then it is evident that the communication of good is not merely a subordinate end, but must be allowed the place of an ultimate end

For if it be for its own sake, then it is not wholly for the sake of something else as its end. But ’tis evident that God delights in goodness for its own sake, by such places:

  • Micah 7:18, “He delighteth in mercy.”
  • Ezekiel 18:23, “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”
  • Ezekiel 18:32, “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.”
  • Ezekiel 33:11, “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
  • Lamentations 3:33, “For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.”
Such passages of Scripture show, that God delighteth in the creatures’ happiness in a sense that he doth not in their misery

‘Tis true that God delights in justice for its own sake, as well as in goodness; but it will by no means follow from thence, that he delights in the creatures’ misery for its own sake as well as [in their] happiness. For goodness implies that in its nature, that the good of its object be delighted in for its own sake; but justice doesn’t carry that in its nature, that the misery of those it’s exercised about is delighted in for its own sake: as is evident, because justice procures happiness as well as misery, according as the qualification of the object is; but it carries the contrary in its nature, viz. that misery be not delighted in for itself, but only for further ends.

—Jonathan Edwards
Miscellanies 461. End Of The Creation.