What is the Chief End of man?
By Dr. W.R. Downing
Ans: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
1 Cor. 10:31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Rev. 4:11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
See also: 1 Chron. 29:10–14; Eccl. 7:29; 12:13–14.
This universe and everything and everyone in it exist for the good pleasure and glory of God. Man is the image–bearer of God, created like him and for him (Gen. 1:26–28). Man was created originally righteous to find meaning and fulfillment in serving God and enjoying his fellowship (Eccl. 7:29). See Question 33. The first man, Adam, was created to “think God’s thoughts after him,” i.e., to give the same meaning to everything which God had given to it by virtue of his creative act. See Question 31. In the context of primeval, unfallen creation, nothing more could be added to the joy and fulfillment of the first pair. However, in Adam the human race fell from its original righteousness and became intellectually incapacitated, morally depraved and sinfully empirical (Gen. 3:1–8; Rom. 1:18–25; 5:12; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 4:13–17). See Questions 34, 37 and 38. Salvation in time and human history is the redemption of the Divine image in man (Rom. 8:29). This necessitated the incarnation, humiliation and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5–11), and the union of believers with and in Christ (Rom. 6:1–14; 8:28–39; Col. 3:1–4). See Question 125. Ultimately, every Divine attribute will be glorified, either in the judgment or redemption of man and the universe (2 Pet. 3:7–13).
The nature and character of God revealed in Scripture form the basis for all truth, knowledge, hope and confidence for the believer. We trust God and rest in him by faith, not because of what he has done, does, or might do for us, to us or through us, but rather because of who and what he is, i.e., faith rests in God’s Person, not merely in his actions. We only find meaning and fulfillment when we do so in the context of the true enjoyment and glory of God.
Have you found the chief end of man? Are you realizing why God created you and situated you at this point of time in history? Is the glory of God your constant and highest aim? Do you find enjoyment in your relationship to the Most High?
From "A Catechism on Bible Doctrine" by W.R. Downing. Read online
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