While holiness expresses God's transcendence, his glory concerns rather his immanence to the world. One text can be seen to combine both concepts: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa. 6.3). God is invisible, but his glory (Hebr. kābôd) manifests itself in theophanies, usually associated with storms, fire, and earthquake (see Hab. 3.1–19; Ps. 18.7–15). Such resplendent events both reveal God's presence and reflect his transcendence, concealing him as it were. In the Yahwist (J) tradition, God shows himself present in a pillar of cloud or of fire (Exod. 13.21), while for the Priestly (P) tradition “the glory of the Lord” settled on Mount Sinai and appeared to the Israelites below “like a devouring fire” (Exod. 24.17). Also according to this tradition, the radiant glory of the Lord so transfigured Moses' face that he had to wear a veil to conceal it (Exod. 34.23–35; cf. Matt. 17.2; 2 Cor. 3.7–18). It was this same manifestation of the divine presence which filled the Temple when it was dedicated (1 Kings 8.11); Ezekiel described it as leaving the Temple (Ezek. 10.14), going into exile with Israel, an exile from which it would return (Ezek. 43.2–5).

Though the universal character of the divine glory is often referred to (e.g., Pss. 97.6; 145.10–13; Hab. 2.14), in later biblical traditions this universality is particularly stressed (Isa. 35.2; 40.5; 60.1–3; 66.18–19; see also Luke 2.30–32).

When Paul speaks of “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4.17), he is recalling the etymology of the Hebrew word (which is derived from the root kbd, whose primary meaning is “to be heavy”). For Paul, the “glory of Christ” (2 Cor. 4.4), particularly the risen Christ, is a manifestation of the glory of the Father (Rom. 6.4; cf. Mark 8.38 par.). In the gospel of John, on the other hand, the glory of God, possessed by Christ in his preexistence (John 17.5), now dwells in him on earth. The prologue to this Gospel continues the statement that the “Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us” with another regarding seeing the glory of the Son (1.14), and the rest of the Gospel describes particular manifestations of that glory (2.11; 13.31). Similarly, for the author of the letter to the Hebrews, the Son “is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being” (1.3), somewhat like personified Wisdom, “a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty” (Wisd. of Sol. 7.25).

Leopold Sabourin, S. J.