Tw Cen MT – The theologian C. S. Lewis, in his essay The Weight of Glory, writes “Glory suggests two ideas to me, of which one seems wicked and the other ridiculous. Either glory means to me fame, or it means luminosity.” He concludes that glory should be understood in the former sense, but states that one should not desire fame before men (human glory), but fame before God (divine glory).
Glory is also used simply to express God’s majesty and honor, or God’s miraculous power. classical understanding of God conceives of God as being the most glorious being. The doctrine of the Imago Dei teaches that humans also share or participate in divine glory as image-bearers. Like a mirror, people reflect God’s glory (though imperfectly). Christians are instructed to “So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
In opposition to the desire for glory from God, stands the desire for glory from man. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, cautions that the desire of glory from man is a sin (though not a mortal sin). He lists vainglory as a capital vice.
In both the Old Testament and New Testament glory is often described using radiant or luminous imagery. For example, the prophet Ezekiel writes in his vision:
Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.”
Glorification is the third stage of Christian development. The first being justification, then sanctification, and finally glorification. (Rom. 8:28-30) Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, the full realization of salvation. There are two events that occur during glorification, these are “the receiving of perfection by the elect before entering into the kingdom of heaven,” and “the receiving of the resurrection bodies by the elect.”
While purgatory deals with the means by which the elect become perfect, glorification deals with the elect becoming perfect. After the final judgement, all the righteous dead shall arise and their bodies will be perfected and will become a glorified body. Only then can they enter Heaven. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis’s Weight of Glory: “If we were to see them in their glorified forms we would be tempted to bow down and worship them.”
When you’ve had your fill of glory so much so that it weighs you down, why not transfer that burden to God?