Towards Understanding More About the “Glory of God”

Chris —  June 12, 2013

The Heavens Declare the Glory of GodEverything should be done to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). But most of us would struggle to define the concept of glory of God.

Andy Naselli recently posted helpful summary thoughts on God’s glory based on Philippe Paul-Luc Viguier’s MDiv thesis. He concludes:

 God’s glory is

  • the ever-increasing revelation of His essence and purposes,
  • displayed through His Word, His works and His felt-presence,
  • which calls for the receiver’s unity and reflection,
  • and tells of His incomparable goodness, beauty, and praise-worthiness
  • as perfect King, Savior, Judge and Creator,
  • and of the unequaled reputation attached to His name.

Here for the rest on the glory of God.

James M. Hamilton gives this definition of God’s glory:

I would suggest that the glory of God is the weight of the majestic goodness of who God is, and the resulting name, or reputation, that he gains from his revelation of himself as Creator, Sustainer, Judge, and Redeemer, perfect in justice and mercy, loving-kindness and truth.”  James M. Hamilton, God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment, page 56.

John Piper adds:

First, an attempt at the impossible—a definition of the glory of God. The reason I say it is impossible is that glory is more like the word beauty than it is like the word basketball. You can define a basketball by saying its round, inflated, about nine or ten inches in diameter; it’s used in a game to bounce and put through a hoop. But you can’t do the same with the word beauty. We all know it exists, but the reason we can talk about it is because we have seen it, not because we can say it.

What might help get at a definition of the glory of God is to contrast it with the holiness of God. God is holy means that God is in a class of perfection and greatness and value by himself. He is incomparable. His holiness is his utterly unique and perfect divine essence. It determines all that he is and does and is determined by nothing and no one outside himself. His holiness is what he is as God which no one else is, or ever will be, and it signifies his intrinsic, infinite worth.

Then we hear the angels in Isaiah 6:3 say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.” The glory of God is the manifestation of his holiness. God’s holiness is the incomparable perfection and greatness of his divine nature; his glory is the display of that holiness. His glory is the open revelation of the secret of his holiness. In Leviticus 10:3, God says, “I will be shown to be holy among those who are near me, and before all the people I will be glorified.” When God shows himself to be holy, what we see is his glory—the beauty of holiness. The holiness of God is his concealed glory. The glory of God is his revealed holiness.

So here’s my effort at a definition: The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of his manifold perfections.

See notes on “glory” for Romans study and How Would You Define God’s Glory?

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