Is there a better way to understand the idea that God made us for his glory?
Yesterday we focus at this phrase from the Nashville Statement:
“Many deny that God created human beings for his glory.” ~ Preamble to Nashville Statement.
I ended my post asking this question. And, “Yes,” there is a better way.
In the Old Testament, the main understanding of “glory” when applied to God is God’s visible splendor, or God’s overwhelming presence.
Where God’s glory IS there is God’s presence.
We see this in God’s appearance at Sinai when God’s glory rests on the mountain. We see this with the construction of the tabernacle—God’s glory rests on it. The same with the Temple.
In Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of God roaming the desert the idea refers to God’s presence. And in Ezekiel’s vision of the glory leaving the Temple—this also refers to God’s presence.
Indeed, the psalms and prophets speak of God’s glory filling the earth and the heavens. This can only mean God’s presence—an overwhelming display of splendor when God is near.
Made for Glory
If we are to affirm that humanity is made for the glory of God, then this means we are made for the presence of God. We are made to dwell with God.
Now that is Good News.
And you know what else is good news?
That God’s main desire and main work in the world is to overcome whatever barrier keeps us from dwelling with God.
God is working to bridge the distance by coming to humanity, coming to us. From the call of Abraham, the raising up of Israel, the promises of David, to the send of the Son, to Jesus’s death and resurrection—God is coming to dwell with us.
This is the hope coming at the end of all things:
“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them.” (Rev. 21:3)
Glory and the Nashville Statement
What does all this have to do with the Nashville Statement?
If we have been made for God’s glory—meaning God’s presence—and if God is constantly seeking to to dwelling with us so we can dwell with him, then public statements like the Nashville Statement should be acts of hospitality and welcome.
If God longs for us to live with him then our theological statements should express this. Indeed, they should be expressions of God’s love with and for us and others.
Certainly we should not reduce God’s love and living with God to vacuous statements and platitudes. Living with God is rigorous work. The Old and New Testaments are witness to this. And God’s presence demand standards of holiness and purity.
But those proper concerns should not be elevated to a controlling theme in our theological systems.
Immanuel—God with us—should be our theme, our inspiration, or hope, and our joy. Nothing less. Nothing more.