Over the last few days I’ve been bouncing around questions about God’s purpose in creating us (mankind). Various purposes have been proposed. For me the most interesting of the ideas has been to glorify him. When we talk about glorification what exactly do we mean? Why would God need to be glorified? If he is all that the Bible claims he is glorious already. I put it out there that I thought that might be a bit narcissistic. Make that a lot narcissistic. In any case it developed into a rather pleasant exchange with David who said, “Interesting, I always thought our purpose was to glorify God (and no I don’t just mean singing hallelujah in the clouds – please).”
We went back and forth exploring what exactly this means – to glorify God. So here are some definitions:
v. il·lu·mi·nat·ed, il·lu·mi·nat·ing, il·lu·mi·nates
1. To provide or brighten with light.
2. To decorate or hang with lights.
3. To make understandable; clarify: “Cleverly made attacks can . . . serve to illuminate important differences between candidates” (New Republic).
4. To enlighten intellectually or spiritually; enable to understand.
5. To endow with fame or splendor; celebrate.
6. To adorn (a page of a book, for example) with ornamental designs, miniatures, or lettering in brilliant colors or precious metals.
7. To expose to or reveal by radiation.
1. To become lighted; glow.
2. To provide intellectual or spiritual enlightenment and understanding: “Once you decide to titillate instead of illuminate, you’re on a slippery slope” (Bill Moyers).
3. To be exposed to or revealed by radiation.
One who has or professes to have an unusual degree of enlightenment.
Pretty simple really…
God is light.
The plan is we become like Him.
We are light.
We illuminate (glorify) God.
I imagine a force and power in that light that makes the process richer than the description, but I’m daft.
I did ask. I actually really liked his reply and had a lengthy response all typed up in the comment section and then decided to make it an article to itself. You see I’m not hostile to the gospel. It’s something I’ve believed for the better part of my life and mostly look back on with fondness (if you discount The Hard Stuff). It’s principals and teachings have guided me through most of my life. If I’m hostile toward anything it would be against those who think they have all the answers, who think they’ve arrived. I’m not even really hostile toward hypocrites, at least not the ones who know that they are and admit it. Self admission: I’m a hypocrite. Can I practice everything I preach inside or outside of religion? Maybe, but if I’m honest I don’t. I’ve shouted absolute truths from the roof tops but when it came right down to it, where the rubber meets the road, I realized truth is actually pretty relative. When it comes down to the hard decisions in life, where reality meets ideal, absolute truth looks pretty much like a train wreck.
As for David’s answer. That sounds really nice. And I hadn’t considered David daft at all. Sometimes we have thoughts that are awfully difficult to verbalize. But I do have questions about it.
1.) I’ve always thought the goal was to become like him. But that’s not the way he created us(assuming you believe the literal translation of Genesis). He created us innocent and naive and it really pissed him off when as Genesis 3:22 says, “And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” Was that the goal in creation? For us to become like him?
2.) We glorify God by becoming like him, which in turn illuminates him – shows him off so to speak. Again, to whom? For what purpose? Am I missing something here?
See the picture I have in my head is this: In the beginning there was God – outside of time and space, no beginning and no end. He at some point created the angels and heavenly hosts. Do they not illuminate him? Maybe not enough. So he creates earth and puts things in it, including us humans. And apparently he’s still not satisfied. Does this all-powerful, all-knowing God keeps botching his own glorification process?
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Why is that the more I read these accounts in Genesis it sounds like a human attempt to explain things that they just didn’t understand? Kind of like when a 4 year old asks where babies come from?