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Defining Glory Essay

1620 words - 6 pages

The theological mysteries of the divine being of God are evident to all who explore His inexplicable qualities. Even Herman Melville, a man starkly opposed to the idea of God, had questions for Him. In Billy Budd, Melville asks one of these curious questions. By sending Billy Budd, an innocent, good-natured sailor, to a ship where he would be condemned to death for an accidental crime, Melville asks why a good God would create man and place him on earth, knowing he would sin and be condemned to death. Sadly, it never seemed as though Melville found the answer to that question. But for those who adhere to God’s word, an answer to this mystery is easily found. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says that man is to “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” In Mark 12:29-31, Jesus details the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But ultimately, the purpose of man is described best in Isaiah 43:7 where it calls upon “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

As John Piper says in his book God’s Passion for His Glory, “The invincible end for which he [God] created the world… [Jonathan] Edwards says, is, first, that the glory of God might be magnified in the universe” (31). But this discovery presents another, deeper question. What is glory? What is glory and why would a self-sufficient, self-satisfying, and self-gratifying God desire it? Obviously it is something desirable or He would not seek it. But again, what could be so powerful or so intriguing that the omnipotent God would seek it in everything He does? And furthermore, how is such a pursuit not considered selfish and wrong? The problem requires more than an understanding of God’s desires. First, it lies in understanding what glory is. As is evident through the nature of glory, the nature of God, and the nature of man, God’s glory is something difficult to define, but man can be sure to know that it is not pride.

The first thing to be examined here is glory itself. In C.S. Lewis’ article The Weight of Glory, Lewis notes the complexity of the issue and he provides two ideas about glory that he himself called “wicked” and “ridiculous” (5). His first notion is that glory is in some way related to or equated with fame. However, Lewis rejects this idea. “Since to be famous means to be better known than other people, the desire for fame appears to me as a competitive passion and therefore of hell rather than heaven” (5). Just as one man can have more fame (or glory) than another, man’s definition of glory becomes a definition by comparison. A higher level of glory constitutes for a larger quantity and a higher level of quality for the possessor of that glory. However, this definition quickly falls apart when one realizes that there is nothing to which God can be compared. Therefore, his...

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