Our purpose – to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.
Lesson 10 from The HOPE Study Guide
He did not create them to be gods. But as the moon reflects the light of the sun, so Adam and Eve were created to reflect the light of God.
– The HOPE, Chapter 1
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
– Westminster Catechism, Shorter Version, Written in the 1640’s
OBSERVE & CONSIDER
In the previous lesson we considered the truth that man was created in the image of God. In this lesson we will consider God’s purpose for creating man. There are many verses in the Bible that, if studied in total, would help us understand God’s purpose for creating man. However, there is not just a verse that singularly sums up this subject, at least not in a manner that would satisfy most Bible scholars.
There is, however, a document containing a statement that attempts to sum up what the Bible says about God’s purpose for creating man. This document is known as the Westminster Catechism, and the statement to which we are referring appears above. This statement is widely accepted among Bible scholars as accurate, and it provides a point of reference as we consider what The HOPE says about God’s purpose for creating man.
Without a doubt, the brightest visible object in our world is the sun. It is so bright that gazing directly at it can cause irreparable damage to our eyes. Yet God’s brilliance is immeasurably greater than even that of the sun. In 1 John 1:5 we learn that God is pure, undiluted light. And in Exodus 33:20 we are told that His glory is so great no man can look directly at God and live! So how can people behold the glory of God if He is so intensely brilliant that no man can look directly at Him and live?
Recall that Romans 1:20 teaches we can learn of God from the world He has created. The HOPE excerpt above draws upon this Biblical principle in comparing the relationship of the sun and moon to that of God and man.
The HOPE video says God did not create man and woman to be “gods” themselves, but to reflect the light of God as the moon reflects the light of the sun. When a man truly considers the light that shines from the moon, he must ultimately consider its source, the sun. In this way, the moon draws attention to the brilliance of the sun. When we reflect the light of God in our lives, we cause others to consider His glory. In other words, we glorify Him, which brings us back to the purpose of man as stated in the Westminster Catechism (Matthew 5:16).
To take this line of thought a step further, consider that the moon “does” what the moon “does” not as the result of effort, but because of its unique relationship to the sun. If the moon could manufacture its own light, then it would take glory from the sun. But because the moon is incapable of producing light, the sun really gets all the glory.
Some people try to generate light (glory) for God, but like the moon we are not the source of light. That is why we read in John 15:5, “apart from Me you can do nothing.” However, also like the moon, our capacity to reflect His light is the direct result of our personal relationship with Him. Bringing glory to God is not so much a matter of what we do for Him, but rather what He does as a result of our relationship with Him.
ASK & REFLECT
- Do you have the kind of relationship with God that enables you to reflect His light and glorify Him?
- Is your relationship with Him growing more and more intimate, so that you might be more and more effective (and reflective) in showing His glory to the world around you?
DECIDE & DO
If you were unable to answer the first question positively, go to the Knowing God section of this study guide.
Prayerfully read and consider the steps explained in this section, then follow them without delay. If you are not ready to move forward in your relationship with God, then simply ask Him to make you ready.
One modern day Bible scholar has modified the above statement from the Westminster Catechism to say that the purpose of man is to glorify God by (instead of and) enjoying Him forever.1 Are you enjoying God today? If not, you should be. Perhaps you need to stop and refocus on what is really important.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
- John Piper, God Created Us for His Glory. (© Desiring God Ministries, 2006; from a sermon dated July 27, 1980). (http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1980/238_God_Created_Us_for_His_Glory/). Retrieved November 15. 2006.
1John Piper, Worship: The Feast of Christian Hedonism. (© Desiring God. From a sermon delivered September 25, 1983). (http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByTopic/85/406_Worship_The_Feast_of_Christian_Hedonism/). Retrieved November 14, 2006.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.