Mike Bird On God’s Glory

The new issue of Themelios has a review from Michael Bird onTom Schreiner’s new NT theology book, and has some wise words considering the idea that “God does all things for his glory.”

Second, while there is ample grounds for postulating that God acts out of a concern for his glory (e.g., Exod 14:4; Isa 48:11), I think it is important to add that God’s self-magnification relates intimately to God’s love as well. For instance, in Ps 115:1 (ESV) we read, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” whereby God’s glory is something placed in service of his covenant love. God’s love and glory are complementary aspects of his character and actions, so we can properly say that God’s glory and God’s love are different sides of the same coin. God is glorified in order to love, and God loves in order that he would be glorified. The love and glory of God are centrifugal, and they invade a world that rejected his glory and spurned his love so that all of creation would be filled with his love and glory. Thus, while God’s self-magnification is a genuine biblical theme, we should stress also the inter-permeation of God’s self-giving love with God’s concern for his own glory and so disarm suspicions that God’s self-magnification is a form of divine self-interest. In this sense, I would like to have seen Schreiner tease out this relationship between love and glory and so synthesize Eph 1:3–14 and John 3:16.

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