Defining the glory of God is difficult – for a few reasons.
First, even though we (to the best of our knowledge) understand it, in some ways it is a challenge to put into words.
Second, and maybe more to the point, the glory of God encompasses so many aspects, that narrowing it down makes my mind spin. When I asked a group of ministry friends how they would define “fall short of the glory of God” to a child, they took several directions. We could follow any one of these directions for weeks and still not cover all the wondrous facets of God’s glory.
Here is what they said.
(A big thank you to these pastors and ministry workers for answering my question – I know you’re busy and this took some time.)
By the way, what is YOUR definition?
A baby lamb’s wool looks so white and pure until it walks through freshly fallen snow. (What we think is white and good and pure actually looks dirty next to freshly fallen snow. The glory of God is beyond what we grasp or think.)
Pastor Brad Iverson, Berwick Bible Church, Berwick, Pennsylvania.
Hi from Russia. Here is what I might spontaneously say to a child: “Because God has never committed any sin, He is not like any person we’ve ever known. His nature is totally pure and holy, meaning that God has a special glory about Him that we imperfect humans simply can never equal.
Rick Barry, Author editor, Russian translator. His book, The Methuselah Project, was recently published.
We all fall short of God’s perfect purity and goodness.
Pastor Paul Henschel, Osco Community Church, Osco, Illinois
[Imagine] God’s glory is like a beautiful, bright light made of hundreds of stars shining out from God Himself. Each star tells us something about Him: His love, forgiveness, perfection, power, knowledge. His constant presence and so much more.
Also, Hebrews 1:3 tells us: He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. We can look at the life of the Lord Jesus Christ and see what God is like.
Karen Apple, speaker, writer, consultant for those in kids ministry and young learners.
In the context of falling short of the glory of God, “the glory of God” refers to His majesty, bigness, perfectness, way far superior to what we are. We are breathing piles of dirt; He is the Creator of the Universe with immense power, wisdom, authority, and perfection.
Pastor Jeff Weddle, Rhinelander Bible Church, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
The glory of God is everything about Him that shows us how He wants us to live.
Pastor Jason (and Allison) Holm, Faith Evangelical Free Church, Grand Falls, North Dakota
The glory of God is His greatness, His splendor, His magnificence – all that He is. His glory is an outward display of all His amazing attributes.
(Lauri also mentioned Hebrews 1:3 – quoted above.)
Lauri Bogart, teacher in preschool ministry and also works with 4th-6thgraders during the week. She is from Glen Rock, Pennsylvania.
For a kid, I would say something like this with respect to “the glory of God” in Romans 3:23.
God made us so that we would reflect to the world around us what He is like, sort of like a mirror. When we sin, we’re not doing that [reflecting God] at all. In fact, we’re doing just the opposite.
In fact, as an added bonus … this is where I used my broken vase illustration in my sermon. I held up a glass vase as an example of who God created us to be. Then I put the vase in a bucket and threw a big rock in there, shattering the vase. On account of sin, that is who everyone of us is now. It would take an act of God to restore that vase to what it was meant to be. In the same way, it would take an act of God to transform us to be the people He created us to be. We can’t do it ourselves, no matter how hard we try.
Pastor Josh Hess, Friendswood Baptist Church, Camby, Indiana
Great answers and the glory of God well defined.
On Friday I will summarize the resulting definition and also include some learning activities to help us define fall short of the glory of God to our kids.
Again, thanks to all those who participated.