The concept of glory is all over the scriptures. Glory is mentioned over 600 times in the scriptures, honor is mentioned nearly 200 times, and related concepts like praise and worship and worthiness are also hit pretty hard.
So it was discouraging when I realized I didn’t know what glory way, and so it was encouraging when I came on a simple definition of glory that made sense. In short, glory is earned love. The man who has glory is the man who excites admiration because of his merits. (See more here). Having a definition for glory has opened up the scriptures to me.
But my definition does not fit the scriptural usage perfectly. There are still a number of scriptures that talk about glory like it was some kind of shining stuff, maybe a spiritual substance.
That was an example. Perhaps its metaphor, but this passage and many others speak of God’ glory as something great, terrible, and blazing, in the presence of which none can stand.
Here’s another passage of scripture that’s been on my mind. It’s also about glory. Pay attention, poppets, it’s the passage this post is about:
And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down.
This story makes sense with my basic definition of glory. Satan wanted to do something praiseworthy such as saving everybody, and wanted the praise to go with it. Christ was willing to act as a Savior without the glory (which, ironically, was a more meritorious attitude than Satan’s, which meant Christ got the glory and Satan didn’t). (While I’m doing asides, let me add another one: isn’t this passage fuel for the fire for the folks who argue that God’s power consists almost entirely of his moral character? I think it is, seeing as how in verse 1 Satan asks for God’s honor and in verse 3 God says Satan asked for his power. Honor is power.)
But using that basic definition, what does glory have to do with destroying free agency in verse 2? If you understand glory as God’s visible godliness, then Satan asks for glory not just because he wants it, but because he needs it. He wants to come down among us in the full blaze of God’s glory, which will ensure that we will all be saved. Because living in the presence of Godly glory, none of us will be able to sin. Satan’s plan is to strip us of our agency by making goodness too obvious.
One of the complaints against God is that He is so far away and so hidden. He has to be.
Apply it to the Garden. God withdrew while Adam and Eve were tempted. Probably he had to. Having eaten the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, they had to depart. It wasn’t an arbitrary punishment; it was inherent; knowing good and evil and staying in God’s presence were incompatible.
Apply it to salvation. If only the good can survive the presence of God, then in the day of judgment whatever parts of our character that we have let become sinful will be blasted away. Only those have been wholly committed will be able to remain whole. Some of us will become crippled innocents and some of us will become Saints.