Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Overflowing glory

A slightly lengthy excerpt from Church Dogmatics II/2, p 169, which didn't make it into my Monday post:

"Because there is no darkness in God, there can be no darkness in what He chooses and wills.  Nor is there anything midway, anything neutral, between light and darkness.  In aim and purpose, God is only light, unbroken light.  What God does is well done.  Our starting point must always be that in all His willing and choosing what God ultimately wills is Himself.  All God's willing is primarily a determination of the love of the Father and the Son in the fellowship of the Holy Ghost.  How, then, can its content be otherwise than good?  How can it be anything else but glory - a glory which is new and distinctive and divine?  But in this primal decision God does not choose only Himself.  In this choice of self, He also chooses another, that other which is man.  Man is the outward cause and object of the overflowing of the divine glory.  God's goodness and favour are directed towards him.  In this movement God has not chosen and willed a second god side by side with Himself, but a being distinct from Himself.  And in all its otherness, as His creature and antithesis, this being has been ordained to participation in His own glory, the glory to which it owes its origin.  It has been ordained to exist in the brightness of this glory and as the bearer of its image.  In all its otherness it is predestined to receive the divine good which has been revealed and communicated.  This is what is ordained for man in the primal decision of the divine decree.  The portion which God willed and chose for him was an ordination to blessedness.  For to be able to attest the overflowing glory of the Creator is blessedness.   God willed man and elected man with the promise of eternal life.  Life as a witness to the overflowing glory of God is eternal life."  (Bold added).

That is to say:

Everything God wills is good and glorious because at base it comes from his own inward life of perfection as he is from eternity and through eternity Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The creation of humanity is already the overflow of this goodness and glory; I take it this means that our very existence as people owes itself to God's choice to be himself in this particular overflowing way.

The predestined end of humanity is the experience and enjoyment of God's glory; that is to say, human beings move from their creation as the overflow of God's goodness and glory to their consummation as the witnesses of God's goodness and glory - meaning those who in themselves derive their greatest joy from God's goodness and glory and therefore those who attest it.

Real blessedness and true life is to stand in the position of those who know God's overflowing glory, both as recipients and - because this glory is overflowing - as communicators.  In the present age, one can imagine this communication as evangelism; in the age to come, won't it just be praise?

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