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"To Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever"
- "The Chief End of Man" ?

This statement from the Westminster Shorter Catechism slips off our tongues very easily.

Question: "What is the chief end of Man?"
Answer: "The chief end of Man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

But is it true? I find nowhere in Scripture where it says our the chief end (our meaningfulness, our purpose, mandate, destiny) as human beings and humanity as a whole, includes enjoying God. Scripture does say fairly clearly that part of our "chief end" is to glorify God, but the second part is not to so much to glorify God as to do and be something else.

Scripture tells us clearly in the first chapter that the chief reason why God created human beings was that we shall represent ("image") God to the rest of Creation (Genesis 1:26-28), to 'shepherd' Creation as God would. (Note: "Man" here refers to both man and woman equally; both are given "rulership".) When we image and represent God to the rest of Creation, it experiences something of God, especially God's self-sacrificing agape love. Then it responds with joy, in ways it was designed to work and, in the process, it returns gifts to humanity. Enjoying God comes as a result of that - a virtuous circle of joy, in which all Creatures praise the Creator, all Creatures "glorify God".

And this is intended to be so "forever", in the New Earth and Heavens.


Question: "What is the chief end of Man?"
Answer: "The chief end of Man is to glorify God
by representing God to the rest of Creation,
and shepherding it, forever

As we, who are Christ's, allow the Holy Spirit grow the attitude of Christ in us, so the Creation recognises us as the "sons" of God that it has been eagerly waiting for, and environmental issues can at last become resolved, as well as justice issues (Romans 8, Galatians 5:22-23). Our attitude and mindset will be that of Christ, not of our selfish proud selves (Romans 12:2-3; Philippians 2:5-11; I Corinthians 2:16).

That is the "chief end of Man", which the Lord Jesus Christ died to make possible and to fulfil. May He do so! May we allow Him to do so. May we bring glory to His Name by putting aside our small ambitions and selfish interests and serve the rest of Creation, as God intended in Genesis 1.

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Compiled by Andrew Basden as part of his reflections from a Christian perspective. Copyright (c) Andrew Basden to latest date below, but you may use this material for almost any purpose, but subject to certain conditions.

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