Fred is professor of theology at Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute and a member of Grace EFC in La Mirada, California.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost! As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
The glory of God is from everlasting to everlasting, but while the praise of the Trinity will have no end, it had a beginning. There was never a time when God was not glorious as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit. But there was a time when that singular glory (singular because, to gloss the Athanasian Creed, there are not three glorious, but one) had not yet disclosed itself so as to invite creatures to its praise.
To join in the ancient Christian prayer called the Gloria Patri, directing praise to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is to come into alignment here in the world “as it is now” with triune glory “as it was in the beginning.”
All theology ought to be doxology, but Trinitarian theology in particular is essentially a matter of praising God. This doxological response is the praise of a glory (ἔπαινον δόξης, Ephesians 1:6,12,14) that always was, and whose epiphany in time entails its antecedent depth in eternity.
Those whom God has blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ are summoned to join that praise: “Blessed be God the Father, who has blessed us in the Beloved and sealed us with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:3–14, condensed).
Reprinted with permission from The Triune God (New Studies Dogmatics series), by Fred Sanders (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016).