Re: DOXA (Eph. 1:6 and Luke 2:14)

James H. Vellenga (
Wed, 22 Jan 97 10:12:03 EST

> From: "Carl W. Conrad" <>
> (others' comments omitted)
> I need to say here that I readily agree that the Biblical writers didn't
> see things in the manner I expressed it, nor, I suspect, do most believers
> see them thus either today. I don't think that we can dispense with
> anthropomorphism in the language of worship and probably not wholly in the
> language of theology--how, after all, are we to talk about what is
> transcendant but in the language of our own realm of experience? However, I
> think that there may well be a degree of self-deception and vagueness in
> some of the way this language of "glory" is used. I do think that
> worshipers endeavoring to "give God the glory" are often, in fact, giving
> expression to their sense of creaturehood and servanthood rather than
> actually making God in any sense greater than God is.


Hear! Hear! Although I count myself a charismatic, so that I naturally
gravitate toward people who use such phraseology, I have long been
frustrated by the seeming meaninglessness of "giving God the glory" in
terms that I could understand. I think it was this very frustration
that made me pay attention over time to the usages of DOXA and DOXAZW
in the NT, and to try to make some coherent sense out of them. And
hence ultimately the observations of my preceding note.

> On the other hand,
> and I suspect this is the real point of the language, and perhaps it is the
> point that you were trying to make last month: the endeavor to "give God
> the glory" intends to enhance the discernible presence or rather the
> discernment of the presence of God in our world. Perhaps that's it: our
> language talks about "glory" as the discernible presence of God in our
> world, but what we endeavor to do in worship--at least inasmuch as we talk
> about "giving God the glory"--is to point other human beings toward
> discernment of God's presence in our world and all that it implies.

Maybe. Perhaps my wanting to make DOXA or glory something visible
and/or palpable comes out of my backgrounds as physicist and engineer.
If it _can_ be visible and/or palpable, most of us don't experience it as
such most of the time. My suspicion is that for the ancients (OT and
NT) it was something like a black body radiation field -- invisible
most of the time, but visible if the temperature of the black body
gets raised sufficiently. But that's the speculations of a physicist.
But in practical terms, I think what you say is what most of us
experience -- we live and speak so as to enhance the discernment
of the presence of God in our world. Whether or not there is something
more substantial or concrete under that is another question.

Thanks for your response.


James H. Vellenga |
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