High Thoughts of God’s Glory by Edward Leigh (1602-1671)

From all God’s attributes, emerges the glory or majesty of God. This is the infinite excellence of the Divine Essence, as referenced in Hebrews 1:3, Exodus 33:18, and Psalm 29:9. This glory is often referred to as the “face of God” (Exodus 33:20), and as an “inaccessible light” (1 Timothy 6:16). Full comprehension of this glory is exclusive to God alone, but its revelation and obscure vision are granted to us in this life through the things we see and hear in the word. This vision becomes clearer in the life to come, where we will see God face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12, Matthew 18:10).

God is and will always remain exceedingly glorious (Exodus 15:11, Deuteronomy 28:58).

The term “glory” sometimes refers to outward radiance, like the Sun’s glory; at other times it denotes outer adornment, like long hair is a glory to a woman. However, it primarily signifies the exceptional regard by which one is esteemed above others.

Glory is the splendor, clarity, or radiance of something, which emerges from its perfection or eminence compared to other things. God’s glory is the perfection of His nature and attributes, infinitely surpassing and outshining the perfection of all creatures.

We praise things that are good, honor things that are excellent, and glorify things that are extraordinarily good.

Glory, at times, is used metonymically for that which forms the basis of glory (Proverbs 19:11, 20:29). Sometimes God’s glory signifies His very essence and nature (Exodus 33:18). At other times, it refers to some of God’s attributes (Ephesians 1:12), such as His grace and goodwill, which He displays to reveal His glory. Occasionally, it represents a significant and marvelous work of God (John 11:40), like His grace and mighty work in resurrecting Lazarus (Exodus 25:16, 40:35). This signifies some extraordinary splendor, which God created to demonstrate His magnificence and glory.

Glory is essential, signifying the incomprehensible excellence of the Divine Nature (Exodus 33:13). It can also mean the acknowledgment and celebration of His excellences, often referred to as glorification, which can vary in degree.

Similarly, God’s glory can be interpreted in two ways:

  1. The inherent excellence and value that makes Him deserving of esteem and praise.
  2. The actual acknowledgment of this excellence.

So, God’s glory is two-fold.

First, it is Internal, further divided into:

  1. Objective, denoting the excellence of God’s Divine nature. His Majesty is so excellent that He is infinitely worthy of praise, admiration, and love from all.
  2. Formal, His self-awareness, love, and delight in Himself. God’s self-recognition and self-love are infinitely more glorious than any love and praise He receives from all creatures, men, or angels. This indicates an infinite worth in God’s nature, satisfying an infinite love and delight.

God’s objective and formal glory has been most fully present from eternity. Hence, when God is said to make all things for Himself or His glory, it does not suggest He could have more of this inward glory.

Secondly, it is external; which is, again, twofold:

  1. By way of object, seen when He made the Heavens and Earth and all the wonderful creatures, which are said to declare His glory (Psalm 19). Objectively, they are the results of His glorious wisdom and power, serving as objects of men’s and angels’ praises. Just as man’s glory consists in outward ornaments, God’s glory consists in having such creatures, men, and angels, to be His followers.
  2. Formal, when men and angels know, love, obey, and praise Him eternally.

Scriptures everywhere extol the Majesty and Glory of God:

  1. Essentially, when they call God Great, Most high, glorious, the God of Glory (Acts 7:2), the King of Glory (Psalm 24:8), the Father of Glory (Ephesians 1:17).
  2. Efficaciously, when they assert that all the earth is full of God’s glory (Isaiah 6:3) and present God’s glorious and wonderful works for our contemplation (Exodus •2:18), He means He will show so much of His glory as a creature can behold and live. We cannot see its fullness.

God is glorious in His nature (1 Corinthians 11:7). His glory overshadows all other glory (Isaiah 6:2, Genesis 18:17, 1 Kings 10:13).

Edward Leigh, A System or Body of Divinity (London: A.M. for William Lee, 1654), 194–196.


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our ring of reformed sites.

You have Successfully Subscribed!