Skip to main content

on glory

I finished a group study with some friends on Jonathan Edwards' treatise, "Concerning The End For Which God Created The World." This is a treatise on the glory of God -- why and how his glory is the ultimate (and final) purpose for our creation. You can read it online here. Page references below are to the Yale edition. Some quotes to ponder:

And 'tis farther to be considered that the thing which God aimed at in the creation of the world, as the end which he had ultimately in view, was that communication of himself, which he intended throughout all eternity. And if we attend to the nature and circumstances of this eternal emanation of divine good, it will more clearly show how in making this his end, God testifies a supreme respect to himself, and makes himself his end. There are many reasons to think that what God has in view, in an increasing communication of himself throughout eternity, is an increasing knowledge of God, love to him, and joy in him. And 'tis to be considered that the more those divine communications increase in the creature, the more it becomes one with God: for so much the more is it united to God in love, the heart is drawn nearer and nearer to God, and the union with him becomes more firm and close: and at the same time the creature becomes more and more conformed to God. The image is more and more perfect, and so the good that is in the creature comes forever nearer and nearer to an identity with that which is in God. In the view therefore of God, who has a comprehensive prospect of the increasing union and conformity through eternity, it must be an infinitely strict and perfect nearness, conformity, and oneness. For it will forever come nearer and nearer to that strictness and perfection of union which there is between the Father and the Son: so that in the eyes of God, who perfectly sees the whole of it, in its infinite progress and increase, it must come to an eminent fulfillment of Christ's request, in John 17:21, 23: "That they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." In this view, those elect creatures which must be looked upon as the end of all the rest of the creation, considered with respect to the whole of their eternal duration, and as such made God's end, must be viewed as being, as it were, one with God. They were respected as brought home to him, united with him, centering most perfectly in him, and as it were swallowed up in him: so that his respect to them finally coincides and becomes one and the same with respect to himself. (p. 443)

God's glory is God himself. And he desires to communicate (JE uses "emanation" in a different way than the Neoplatonists) himself and his goodness to his children forever. This would be like standing under a waterfall that is always fresh and never runs out. Our eternal condition will not be static, but will involve progressive growth in the love, knowledge, and happiness of God. More: he comes very close to Eastern Orthodoxy's doctrine of view of theosis. As Irenaeus said, "The Word of God, Jesus Christ, out of his boundless love, became what we are, that he might make us what he is."

One major application of understanding that our final outcome is glorification in God, is that this is the same glory that I should begin experiencing now. Glory begins in this life, whereby we begin to know God truly, love him dearly, and drink from the joy of the Lord:

God communicates himself to the understanding of the creature, in giving him the knowledge of his glory; and to the will of the creature, in giving him holiness, consisting primarily in the love of God: and in giving the creature happiness, chiefly consisting in joy in God. These are the sum of that emanation of divine fullness called in Scripture, "the glory of God." The first part of this glory is called "truth," the latter, "grace." John 1:14, "We beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (pp 529-30)

This is where John Piper gets the truth that "we glorify God best when we enjoy him most". That is, the one goal of God's glory includes both its internal reality within God (knowledge, holiness, joy) and its external emanation (being communicated) to the creature's good. Thus the two: the glory of God, and the good of God's people are one goal: the display of the glory of God:

The emanation or communication of the divine fullness, consisting in the knowledge of God, love to God, and joy in God, has relation indeed both to God and the creature: but it has relation to God as its fountain, as it is an emanation from God; and as the communication itself, or thing communicated, is something divine, something of God, something of his internal fullness; as the water in the stream is something of the fountain; and as the beams are of the sun. And again, they have relation to God as they have respect to him as their object: for the knowledge communicated is the knowledge of God; and so God is the object of the knowledge: and the love communicated, is the love of God; so God is the object of that love: and the happiness communicated, is joy in God; and so he is the object of the joy communicated. In the creature's knowing, esteeming, loving, rejoicing in, and praising God, the glory of God is both exhibited and acknowledged; his fullness is received and returned. Here is both an emanation and remanation. The refulgence shines upon and into the creature, and is reflected back to the luminary. The beams of glory come from God, and are something of God, and are refunded back again to their original. So that the whole is of God, and in God, and to God; and God is the beginning, middle and end in this affair. (p. 531)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

bible reading nov 1-2

  Bible reading for weekend Nov 1 -- 2 Nov 1 -- Hosea 7 and Psalms 120-122 Nov 2 -- Hosea 8 and Psalms 123-125 ================   "Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing." (Hosea 8:12) THE RESULTS OF SIN (ch 7-8). Notice the words and metaphors to describe Israel's sinful condition: they are surrounded with, and proud of, their evil (7:1-3); like adulterers in the heat of passion (7:4-5); their anger is like a hot oven (7:6-7); they are like a half-cooked (one side only) cake (7:8); their strength is gone (7:9); they are like silly doves easily trapped (7:11-12); they are undependable like a warped bow (7:16). In spite of all of this they are so proud of themselves! (We might say they have a strong self-esteem.) They have spurned what is good (8:3); they sow to the wind and have no real fruit (8:7); they are a useless vessel (8:8) and a wild donkey wandering alone (8:9); they regard God's law as a strange thing

bible reading dec 3-5

  Bible reading for weekend December 3 -- 5  Dec 3 -- Nahum 1 and Luke 17 Dec 4 -- Nahum 2 and Luke 18 Dec 5 -- Nahum 3 and Luke 19 ================ "The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness." (Nahum 1:7-8)  TIME'S UP FOR NINEVEH (Nah 1-3). The prophecy of Nahum is God's word to the people of Nineveh, part two. Jonah was part one, chronicling a city-wide repentance of Assyrians in the capital about a hundred years earlier. The closing bookend is Nahum, and the Assyrian empire is big, powerful, and aggressive. Notice the references to chariots (2:3-4, 13; 3:2). The Assyrians were a militarily advanced culture, and cruel in their warfare. Whatever spiritual receptivity they had at the time of Jonah was gone by the time of Nahum. Nahum may not have actually visited Nineveh, for it seems the book was w

Howard Hendricks on OT books chronology

When I was in seminary, Howard Hendricks (aka "Prof") gave us a little card with the books of the OT chronologically arranged. The scanned copy I have was a bit blurry and I wanted to make something like this available for our church class in OT theology ("Story of Redemption"). A few minor edits and here it is...