Dec 21, 2012

God's Glory Through Man

Genesis 1:26–28

"God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth'" (v. 28).

Yesterday we looked briefly at the portion of the Lord's Prayer that ascribes the kingdom, the power, and the glory to God alone. Before moving to the last word of the prayer—"amen"—and the final question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism, we are going to look at the subject of our Creator's glory more closely. Dr. R.C. Sproul will help us examine what Scripture says about the glory of God as we base our next week of studies on his lectures from Ligonier Ministries' 2003 National Conference The Power and the Glory.

We begin our look at God's glory by noting the close tie that the Bible makes between the glory of the Lord and human beings. Reformed theology has long emphasized that the mission of humanity is to live coram Deo—before God in submission to His Word, doing all things to the glory of the Lord. This understanding is grounded in the first chapter of Genesis, which describes our creation in the image of God. As we consider the account of the six days of creation, we notice that there is a building crescendo of significance from day one through day six. The Almighty creates a planet fit for habitation and then, over successive days, adds creatures that are increasingly complex in their intelligence and abilities (Gen. 1:1–25). Finally, on day six, God makes man and woman in His image. The crowning jewel of our Lord's creation, human beings, with their minds and wills, are uniquely able to know and magnify the glory of God (vv. 26–31).

However, though the creation of man was a high point of God's creative activity, we find the real goal of the Lord's work on day seven. Genesis 2:1–3 tells us that on the seventh day, God rested from His original work of creation (though He remains active today in sustaining His creation; see Heb. 1:3). Moreover, the Lord hallowed the seventh day, setting it apart as holy. His creation was not finished until there was sanctified space and time. As magnificent as we are as God's creatures, our creation was not the final goal of our Lord. The final goal was a holy day for creatures who were made to be holy and to glorify the Lord (Lev. 19:2; Matt. 5:48). Being made in God's image and reflecting His holiness is to be our supreme aim, and when we do so, the Lord's glory shines brightly in us.

Coram Deo

Although humanity is the crowning jewel of God's creation, we are not its end goal. Instead, God made all things for His glory, and we glorify Him the most when we reflect His holy character. Because Christians have been born again by the Holy Spirit, we can serve our Creator, albeit imperfectly, and grow in our reflection of the Lord's holiness. This is a strong motivation to live a holy life, namely, to bring further glory to the name of our great God.

For Further Study