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New City Catechism 4.3

Question 4: How and why did God create us?

Answer: God created us male and female in his own image to know him, love him, live with him, and glorify him. And it is right that we who were created by God should live to his glory.

Many people wander aimlessly through life, or even intentionally end their lives, because they lack any sense of purpose. Purpose is what gives hope and motivation to go on living. It presents us with a goal that is higher than ourselves, which is something for which every human heart longs. Scripture teaches that the purpose for which we exist is to glorify God. Or, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

In the Bible, God’s glory is the open manifestation of who he is. Think of glory as God “going public,” so to speak. And when God “goes public,” the result is awe among all created beings, and inexpressible joy among those who are welcomed into God’s presence. God’s glory and our joy are two sides of the same coin, for it is specifically in making himself known to us that we find our deepest delight. And we who behold the glory of God come to resemble the glory that we behold, for God’s purpose is to glorify himself by perfecting us in our design to reflect who he is: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:11-12).

So did God create the world and all that it contains because he is a God of love, or did he create for his own glory? The answer is yes! These two things are not at odds with each other. May we live in view of the purpose for which God made us: to know him, love him, and glorify him even as we are glorified by the redeeming work of his Son.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Exodus 6:1-8. What do you think it means when God says, “And you shall know that I am the Lord?” What does this passage teach us about why God sent his Son to save us? What does that mean for how we should live our lives?

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