While we will never fully comprehend the divine-human relationship this side of heaven, I believe God’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith, by Bruce A. Ware, brings us ever closer to understanding the mystery of the divine-human relationship with solid biblical truth and tangible hope. The author demonstrates that a deep understanding of God’s complete control of all things leads to the real and lasting comfort for those who place their faith in the one true God.
In 9 chapters, divided into two main sections, the theological and the practical, Ware thoroughly investigates and provides clarity around the divine-human relationship in a way that both challenges and edifies one’s understanding in order to transform one’s life of faith. His stated purpose is to address the question, “How should we conceive of the divine-human relationship” (page 23) in all of its glorious mystery and majesty in order to fully live out the Christian life in confidence and contentment?
Part one is a study on divine providence at two levels: God’s preservation of and governance over that which He created. He provides theological insight concerning the relation of divine providence to six key categories: human freedom, moral responsibility, good and evil, natural law, salvation and the “practical expressions of the Christian faith, such as prayer, evangelism and Christian service” (page 22).
Ware considers real questions that many thoughtful Christians ask about the mystery concerning the nature of God and His relationship with creation. He tackles divine providence relative to the very nature and character of God Himself and the world God created, challenging readers with this question, “What rethinking of God’s very nature is required as we consider the reality of the God-world relationship required by the doctrine of divine providence?” (page 23). It seems his overall objective is to help believers fully understand and embrace the essence of Christian living in this world now in spite of not having all the answers to all their questions about God, His nature, and humanity. This section is a bit tough to study, but well worth the effort in order to fully appreciate the second half of this book.
Part two “shifts our attention to some of the ways in which this doctrine of divine providence affects the outworking of our Christian faith” (page 31). In light of the understanding gleaned in part one, we go on a journey from the academic to the very practical. Ware leads readers to a deeper understanding of God’s relentless, loving pursuit of us through the practical exploration of three key elements of the life of faith: suffering, prayer, and service. In this section, the control of God and the comfort of the believer becomes tangible as we glimpse God’s purpose in a refreshing new light. Ware does a remarkable job of helping the reader grasp God’s design for our relationship with Him in all that He allows us to experience through suffering, in all He calls us to through prayer and service, and ultimately in all we are as we live out our Christian life.
Our focus in counseling and teaching is to point others to true hope. The faithful study of this resource will equip you to unpack the mystery of the divine-human relationship with others in such a way that you can provide real hope and help as you walk with them through their journey of suffering. It will equip you to biblically and theologically answer faith questions regarding God’s supremacy and sufficiency. It will edify your own prayer life, and will likely provide you with new energy to serve others for God’s glory and your good. It will also serve as a great resource to prepare for biblical counseling exams.
- “Great intimacy of relationship occurs as we live before him, depending on him and seeking his mind and will for our own” (page 32).
- “The immanence of God can only be rightly understood in light of his (prior and continuing) transcendence; but we also err in understanding God if we focus exclusively on his transcendence and neglect his immanence” (page 36).
- “The God of the Bible loves and seeks us out with such eagerness and persistence when he himself stands in no need whatever of the objects of his love” (page 56).
- “Now we turn our attention to one of the most astonishing and wonderous of all biblical teachings, that the God who rules over creation, and through creation, also rules with creation, in an intimacy of relationship that ought to elicit from within us unending amazement, awe, wonder, and thanksgiving” (page 131).
- “Christians should never be led to think that, if they were really spiritual, they should “feel good” about suffering and evil. Absolutely not. But notice: it is quite a different thing, as we shall see, to feel good about God in the midst of suffering. Suffering is not good; God does not think so, nor should we” (page 166).
- “As with James, the only possible way that believers can rejoice and not despair in the face of suffering is if the good hand of God is in those very sufferings. Take away the providential hand of God, take away the good purpose served by the suffering, take away the character formation, hope, and holiness that stand behind the suffering, and you take away all the reason to rejoice” (page 174).
- “…prayer has to do with one simple thing: relationship. One great and glorious reason why God devised prayer was as a mechanism to draw us to himself, to help us see how much we need him, to face us constantly with the realization that he is everything that we are not” (page 187).
- “That God is both absolutely sovereign and fully self-sufficient forms the basis, again here, for the expression of his tender-hearted generosity in commanding his children to ‘serve the Lord’” (page 196).