“Can you help me understand D&C 93:36?” Ensign, Apr. 1995, 61
Richard D. Draper, assistant professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University.
The Bible Dictionary describes glory as a “manifestation of the Divine presence” (p. 681). Further, the Bible Dictionary says the glory of the Lord is “the fulness of the majesty of God, revealed in the world and made known to men” (ibid.).
His glory, as the scriptures teach, is part of God’s very nature, which he can bestow upon others. Moses, for example, “saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence” (Moses 1:2).
This scripture shows that God’s glory is an enabling agent that made it possible for Moses to bear God’s presence. God’s glory endowed Moses with sufficient influence to understand, to a degree, the nature of God’s work. God showed Moses the workmanship of his hands, “but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease” (Moses 1:4). He then explained that “no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth” (Moses 1:5).
God’s glory, as D&C 93:36 states, is “intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” To understand how light and truth constitute intelligence, we need to see how light and truth are used in the scriptures.
In a scriptural context, light is more than physical luminosity; it has its spiritual or more refined counterpart. We get a glimpse of the breadth of meaning associated with the word light when the Lord states, “The light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings” (D&C 88:11). The Savior described himself as “the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (D&C 93:2). This light, which “is in all things, which giveth life to all things,” is “the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne” (D&C 88:13).
The light of Christ—the power by which the earth, sun, moon, and stars shine and were made—not only makes vision possible, but activates and stimulates the intellect (D&C 88:7–11). The Bible Dictionary says, “The light of Christ is just what the words imply: enlightenment … and an uplifting, ennobling, persevering influence that comes upon mankind because of Jesus Christ” (p. 725).
Thus, light is the ever-present life- and law-giving power that “proceedeth forth from the presence of God” (D&C 88:12) that manifests itself, among other ways, as living energy and intellect.
The scriptures link light with truth. Often, the two words appear together in the same verse (see D&C 93:29, 40, 42; Ether 4:12). The scriptures state, “Truth shineth. This is the light of Christ” (D&C 88:7). We also read that “whatsoever is truth is light” (D&C 84:45). Truth, in turn, is also characterized as knowledge (see D&C 93:24).
Truth is linked with light because truth, or knowledge, is acquired through the power or the enabling ability of the light of Christ. Without that influence, a fulness of truth and comprehension could not be gained.
As attributes of God’s nature, truth and its light are part of God’s glory or divine presence. Because of these attributes, God “comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him” (D&C 88:41).
The scriptures attest that we can become partakers of that glory, but only upon obedience to the commandments.
“He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things” (D&C 93:28; emphasis added). If our eyes are single to God’s glory, our “whole bodies shall be filled with light, and … that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things” (D&C 88:67).
By hearkening to the voice of the Spirit, which “giveth light to every man that cometh into the world” (D&C 84:46), we receive more light (see D&C 50:24) until we come “unto God, even the Father” (D&C 84:47).
Thus, the glory of God is his intelligence, meaning, in other words, his truth and light, which are his knowledge and comprehension, his power and divinity. These are elements of God’s very being that his children are to seek if they are to be like him.