Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Why God Created - Part 2
Last time we talked about the fact that God created the universe for his pleasure and glory. But what does "glory" mean? The root word behind "glory" means heavy or weighty. We sometimes use the word weighty in the sense of deep or important such as when we way this is a weighty topic. I think of when Dick Chaney was nominated for Vice President, the media was saying that George W. Bush needed someone like him because Chaney had "gravitas". That meant he was weighty in the sense that he had strength and character and experience whereas it was claimed that Bush was a light-weight. So glory has to do with the weight or density of something rather than brightness or shining.
God is glorious because he is packed to the point of overflowing with all of his attributes. God is love. That means God is full of love. God's wisdom is glorious because he contains all wisdom and knowledge. He is packed full of it, so to speak.
What Edwards and Stevens (see references below) helped me to understand is that the Bible speaks of glory almost like communication. When we communicate with someone, we first have the thought inside of ourselves. Then we express our thoughts in action of some kind, usually words, but sometimes gestures. That information spreads out to a listener and is received. Finally there is a response or reaction of some sort in the listener. That's the whole purpose of communication to transfer a thought or idea from one person to another such that there is a response.
Glory functions in a similar way. The glory of God, i.e. the weightiness of God's goodness, beauty, truth, righteousness, etc. is first in him.
“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1, NKJV)
“Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory.” (Ezekiel 10:4, NKJV)
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)
Then, his glory flows out from him. The fancy word is "emanates". It spreads out and broadcasts from him. Creation is an example of this. God's desire to create, spread his glory out in the creation of the universe.
“For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”” (2 Peter 1:17, NKJV)
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:” (John 17:22, NKJV)
Since part of that creation are conscience beings such as angels and human beings, we are a result of that creative act and, because we and the angels are conscience beings, we are observers of God's creation. If God had not created conscience beings there would be no audience except the three persons of the trinity themselves.
“And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”” (Exodus 33:18–19, NKJV)
““I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward.” (Ezekiel 39:21–22, NKJV)
“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1–2, NKJV)
“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16, NKJV)
Finally there is a response on the part of the receivers of that glory. It produces an effect in us and we can respond and reflect God's glory because we are made in his image. As God's glory is reflected from us, it can be seen by others and the process continues and God's glory expands.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, NKJV)
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NKJV)
“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15, NKJV)
“Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”” (Psalm 50:23, NKJV)
The End For Which God Created the World by Jonathan Edwards which is given in its entirety in God's Passion for His Glory by John Piper
When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy by John Piper
Why God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation by Ben Stevens