Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 1

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

From the very first words of the scripture, it is made clear that God created man for Himself. In Genesis God says “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth…” (Gen 1:26). We were made to reflect God’s glory and we were created for the specific task of ruling over creation in imitation of His rule over all things. As our creator, He is entitled to define our purpose as a potter does with clay. Thus we find our purpose and chief end not in our own philosophy or desires, but in God’s revealed will. Our purpose in this life is to glorify and honor Him and to take great delight in doing so. Every single human being ever born was created by God with this end in view.

Not all have lived up to the purpose for their life. Indeed, most people in this world would give you a very different answer to the question, “What is the purpose of your life?” What we must remember is that this is not the chief end of believers, but rather the chief end of all mankind. Everyone ever born will be held to the same standard whether they believe and acknowledge God or not. What is so glorious about the Christian faith is that we know man’s purpose in this world! And in Christ we can fulfill it! For without Christ everything is, in the words of the preacher of Ecclesiastes, “vanity and a striving after wind.”

In Christ, and through the indwelling teaching and aid of the Holy Spirit we can see all of life from an eternal perspective. This gives us a foretaste of that joy that will be ours in the new heavens and the new earth where we know Him fully and are fully known. In that day we will rejoice in His goodness and praise His character with our every thought, word, and action forevermore!

Please Read Psalm 86:1-17