What Is the Purpose of Life?


The first question of the 1646 Westminster Shorter Catechism aks:

Q: What is the chief end of man?

Today, we might ask – “what is the meaning of life?”

The answer given by the Westminster Assembly was:

A: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Note that the answer is not phrased in the man-centered way a modern Evangelical would expect – in order that God might have a relationship with us free creatures. If it was true that God, in eternity past, did not have full and complete harmony and satisfaction in His inter-Trinitarian relationship, then there would be something lacking in Him. He would prove to be less than perfect and thus cease to be God. Impossible!

No, the Puritans rightly understood that as an absolutely perfect being, God can only aim for the highest and best good in all His actions. Anything less would be less than pefect.  What is the highest and greatest good?  He is.  Therefore, as He is the highest and greatest good, all His actions must relate to His own honor and glory (as ours should).

The Purtains, however, didn’t stop there. They go on to say that not only is God’s glory the ultimate end (or goal) of all things; but that we (His Creatures) should enjoy Him for all eternity. As John Piper sets out to prove in his book, Desiring God – our God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.

It is the Puritan’s contention, then, that the whole meaning, purpose, and goal of life is to seek God’s glory and to find our complete and full joy and satisfaction in Him – for all eternity.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor 10:31)

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. (Ps 73:26)

Soli Deo Gloria

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