Thursday, February 9, 2012

Glory, To Glorify

The words "glory" and "glorify" represent complex biblical concepts. The words can be used very simply--glory can simply refer to a shining brightness, and glorify can simply refer to praising God--but the words also have more complex theological and exegetical meanings.

Understanding the more complex ideas behind these words is essential to understanding how and why God operates in this world. It is especially important for understanding why God allows suffering and evil and why God does not elect everyone--two categories of questions that are stumblingblocks to Christian belief in the first instance and to acceptance of reformed theology in the second. The idea behind "glory" and "to glorify" is 1) that God delights in himself and 2) his purposes within the created order are expressions of that self-delight. Here is a simplified overview of these more complex ideas:

  • Glory = The weight of God’s perfections (the attributes of his being)
  • To Glorify=
    • When God glorifies himself it means
      • To demonstrate or reveal the weight of his perfections
        • God himself is the ultimate and sufficient audience for this demonstration.
        • Humankind is the proximal or intermediary audience for this demonstration.
    • When humankind glorifies God it means 
      • To magnify or draw attention to the weight of his perfections.
The following book is an excellent resource for understanding how and why God operates in this world: God's Passion for His Glory by John Piper

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