Over in gloryland–right here!

Over in gloryland–right here! June 10, 2022

What will we look like in heaven? What kinds of changes have to happen to us to get us there? These are the kinds of questions tackled in Graham Cole’s new little book Glorification: An Introduction. This book is part of the “Short Studies in Systematic Theology” series from Crossway–a decent series, though not nearly as good as their “Short Studies in Biblical Theology” books. (So far, who knows what will change as books continue to be published.)

Image: Crossway

In five short chapters (plus an introduction and a conclusion), Cole explores glorification from the perspective of God’s nature, God’s work, the plan of glorification, the aim of glorification, and the question of who will be glorified and who will not.

But what is glorification? Cole gives us a picture of it, but–like the Bible–he’s hesitant to give it a nailed-down definition. “Glory”, he tells us, is a word that has a meaning as a term in Scripture (the Hebrew means something to the effect of “weight” or “gravity” or “bigness” or some such), but it is not so much a characteristic of God per se, the way “omnipotence” or “aseity” are. Rather, glorification is more of “a descriptor that summarizes the attributes of God.” (pg 38) “Glorification,” then, is our 1) becoming more able to understand and rejoice in God’s attributes; and 2) reflecting those attributes more in our lives now in this life, as oppose to thinking about ‘glorification’ as something that we don’t need or have until we arrive in heaven.

The main issue I have with this book is that it doesn’t do much to distinguish “glorification” from “sanctification.” He says that we should do so (pg 72-73), but then doesn’t guide us through such an activity. And clearly there is both overlap between the two, and some kind of distinction as well. Furthermore, the overlap/distinction is somehow related to either our death or the return of Christ (or both). How? Well, I don’t know exactly. Which is why I think a couple of paragraphs on the topic should have been included.

Aside from that omission, this is a useful little systematic theology that forms a good place to begin thinking about glorification.

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast an Amazon Associate (which is linked in this blog), and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

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