The Divine Dance of Glory

Graham Cole has this to say about the glory of God in the Trinity:

“In his famous high priestly prayer of John 17 Jesus prays to the Father, ‘I have brought you glory on earth’ (v 4), and, ‘Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began’ (v 5). In an earlier chapter Jesus teacher that the Spirit is the one who will glorify the Son (John 16:14). The life of the triune God appears to be from these biblical hints one of mutual glorification. If I am correct, other-person-centredness has always been true of the inner life of God. Love and glory are not in antithesis. If so, the triune God is no narcissus, no lonely monad in need of praise. Rather, when we as creatures are commanded to glorify God (eg Revelation 14:6-7) we are called to a practice that is true to the very nature of God…we enjoy him, albeit in a creaturely mode, in an analogous way to how the uncreated persons of the triune Godhead enjoy each other.

Cole concludes:

“According to Cross, Lamm and Turk, three things epitomise the late Middle Ages: in architecture, Chartres cathedral; in philosophy, Aquinas’s Summa Theologica; and in literature, Dante’s Divine Comedy. With regard to the last, Dante ends his trilogy on the note of ‘The love that moves the sun and the other stars.’ Dante has captured the divine motivation in this last line of his magnificent poem, but not the divine goal. The divine goal is to make ‘little Christs’ to his glory. The motive of divine love and divine pursuit of glory gives the Scriptural narrative its unity. If the God of the Bible is understood in non-trinitarian terms, then such a goal seems prima facie unworthy even of God. God is the celestial egotist. However, if God is really triune, that divine dance of mutual love and glorying, then glory is other-person-centred, even within the Godhead.” (G Cole, God the Peacemaker, pp 227-28).

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