Q2: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God by enjoying him forever
In the last post, I explained the first part of this answer – man’s chief end is to glorify God. Now before I explain the statement “by enjoying him forever”, I want to explain what we mean by “glory” or “glorify”.
I’ve been using the words “glory” and “glorify” alot in the past three posts, so what do I mean by them? What is “glory” and what does it mean to glorify something or someone? Well, I’ve been helped greatly by John Piper on this subject, and you can listen here to him as he gives a definition for God’s glory, which I extrapolate further to form a definition of glory in general.
The way we define glory is “a display of the value and worth of something” – that’s it. Glory is the display of the value and worth of something. All thing have the potential for glory, because all things have value and worth. Although, it’s important to note that everything’s value and worth in this world is tied to God in some way. He determines the value and worth of all things, and the glory of something has to do with how well it glorifies God. But, the definition of the word “glory’ is simply the display of the value and worth of someone or something.
So what does it mean then, to “glorify” something or someone? We glorify something when we attribute to it the value and worth it deserves. To glorify something is to value it properly.
So…the glory of God is the display of his value and worth, and we glorify him when we value him rightly. The way we say it is that the glory of God is the display of how much of a treasure he is, and we glorify him when we treasure him rightly. Another way to say it, of course, would be then that we glorify God by enjoying him. You cannot glorify God without enjoying him. You cannot say “God is my greatest treasure” and not enjoy him.
Now what I want to do is to share with you why we see this “enjoying God” as being essential to the chief end of man. Obviously, you can see simply from our definition that the glory of God requires that we rejoice in it in order to glorify him. But, there are other reasons as well.
First, God is this way, in that he is chiefly motivated by his own pleasure which finds its climax in his glorifying himself. And since he makes us in his image, we are wired that way also, except of course that we find our chief pleasure in glorifying God, not ourselves (since we’re made in his image not our own). So, our chief end must be in accord with God’s chief end, since we’re made in his image.
Also, scripture calls us to seek joy in God always. Paul commands us to “rejoice in the Lord always”. The Psalmist commands us to “delight ourselves in the Lord.” This means that joy in God is not an option, it’s a command! When we combine this with the close connection we see between glorifying God and enjoying God, we see that the highest calling on men is that they find all their joy and satisfaction in God.
So, the chief end of man is to glorify God, and the chief end of man is to enjoy God – they are one and the same, which is why we say “the chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever.”