As one begins the journey into the grand story of scripture, the Metanarrative, and pops open the pages of the Bible in Genesis 1, he will immediately see that God is a worker. He was at work, creating and ordering his universe, bringing into tangible expression what was just a thought in God’s mind previously. By his very word, everything came into being and this expression, God’s creation, spoke of him. And God declared, “It is good.” While a declaration of the quality of the creation itself, it is also an affirmation of alignment, proclaiming that God’s creation reflects him according to its design. We see this same affirmation made in Psalm 19 as it declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge…”
God is at work expressing himself, revealing himself and his character to all creation, and we see from scripture that this expression is actually encapsulated in this term “Glory.” While it is easy to think of this concept in an abstract way as God’s fame, scripture actually paints a different picture of the term. God’s glory in the scriptures reveals that it is the tangible expression of God and his character which is meant to impress upon humanity who God is. We encounter God’s glory, taking it in through our very senses, through his workmanship, his acts in history, and especially through his very presence. This glory is meant to strike us, move us, and transform us.
It is through this glory that God makes himself known to the world; something that he does over and over and over throughout scripture. And while we see God expressing himself in various times and various ways, his glory, his tangible expression found its pinnacle in Jesus. God coming in very presence, taking on flesh and dwelling among us. As Hebrews 1 says, Jesus is the “radiance of God’s glory,” the very “expression of his being.” In coming, Jesus showed us the glory of God; a glory that not only revealed the truth of God in his words and actions but the fullness of God’s grace through the cross (John 1:14-18) . In fact, when John says in John 20:30-31, “Jesus performed many signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name,” he is reminding us of the introduction of his Gospel in 1:14-18.
While redemptive history properly gets highlighted for most of scripture, it is important to remember that God’s saving work is a facet of this bigger theme of scripture: God’s Glory. God is a revealing God; it is just in his nature, expressing himself in making known his character and his very being in tangible ways. It is through this glory, we will see, that God not only expresses himself but welcomes humanity, God’s special creation, into relationship and to participate in his very work in the world for our joy and for his name’s sake.