#1 The Purpose of Humanity

You were created in God’s image for a great purpose, “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” As light is to the sun, God’s glory is the sparkling of the deity. God cannot be made more glorious, just like the sun cannot be made brighter. But God’s glory, like the sun, can be reflected. To glorify God is to advertise Him (Ps. 19:1); He is life’s most significant reality, radically worthy to receive glory, honor, and power (Rev. 4:11). We glorify God when we make it our goal to please Him in all things (1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Cor. 5:9).

Most of us have asked the question, even if we’ve used different words, “What is the chief end of man?” (WSC Q/A 1). It is universally human to wonder, “Why am I here? Where am I going? Does it even matter?”

The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism affirms the biblical assumption that we have a purpose, and invites us to discover ours. And it is impossible to aim too high. Pursuing a chief end helps us focus. No ordinary goal can provide ultimate comfort in life and death.

To answer the question of purpose requires us to grapple with our personhood—what is the chief end of man? So we must know what a man is. More personally, what does it mean to be me? Am I responsible for creating value for my life, or do I have inherent worth that I experience as I live according to how I have been designed? Too many people don’t know how to live because they haven’t yet grasped who they are.

The catechism helps here too, reminding us that God made us “male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures” (WSC Q/A 10). If God “made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24), His revelation will tell us what it means to be human. Because everything God made reflects Him (Rom. 1:20), people bear God’s image in a broad sense. But human beings also bear God’s image in a narrow sense. With far greater complexity than the rest of creation, people think, feel, and freely act in ways similar to God. Humanity was “created in the image of God, and is therefore God-related…. God was the original of which man was made a copy.” And it takes both genders to begin to approximate the glory of God. Everyone has a biological identity that specifies their calling to live as male or female, equal in value, with differing vocations (Gen. 1:27; Gal. 3:28–29).

And our unity in diversity helps us to exercise “dominion … over every living thing” (Gen. 1:28) even as we submit to God as creatures.

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