Today we started Thursday Theology, which is a journey through the Westminster Shorter Catechism using the verses that developed the answers. In other words, the questions and answers that make up the catechism are derived from large portions of Biblical truth. We will spend our time working through Scripture to determine if the answers given are a faithful representation of God’s Word (in an hour or less). Along with this, I will be writing a short summary of what we discuss and we will have the question and answer of the week in the bulletin for you to learn and practice with your kids. The wording comes from Modern language version (which is why chief end becomes primary purpose) for those who are familiar with the original.
Q.1 // What is man’s primary purpose?
A // Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.
Ps. 86.9, Isa. 60.21, Rom. 11.36, 1 Cor. 6.20, 1 Cor. 10.31, Rev. 4.11.
Ps. 16.5–11, Ps. 73.25-26, Ps. 144.15, Isa. 12.2, Lk. 2.10, Phil. 4.4, Rev. 21.3–4.
The question: What is the meaning of life? has been at the center of philosophical dialogue since the first conversations.We are given the answer in Romans 11.36:
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. God created and upholds all things for the sake of His glory. All things exist to make much of Him. People were created to experience His goodness in the created world.
The answer that the Bible offers us is less than satisfactory for most of us, because we want to be the source of something great. We want the purpose of life to be for our glory. Instead, God tells us that we must acknowledge that He is the foundation for all goodness. Our job is to act as mirrors for God’s greatness. We have no ability to make Him more glorious, but we can make His glory manifest by submitting to Him.
This is hard for us to do, because in order to glorify God, we have to set aside the desire to make much of ourselves. The good news is that putting away the desires of the flesh and turning to God will actually make us more complete. It is what we were created for.
In the garden of Eden, the catalyst for sin was forgetting the goodness of God and seeking to find that goodness apart from Him. Eve ate the fruit so that she could be like God apart from Him. The rest of human history has been suffering to maintain this perfect relationship with God, and we rejoice in the promise that one day the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8.21). The promise we get is that in the end we will see God’s glory perfectly and we will be completely satisfied:
Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21.3-4).