Man’s Chief End

When the Westminster Shorter Catechism starts with the question, “What is the chief end of man?” It is implying that life has meaning, purpose. Such meaning is not possible without a Creator / God. If you ask an atheist what the meaning of life is, they will answer either, life has no meaning, or that the meaning of life is whatever you make it or want it to be.

Such an idea, life is whatever you want it to be, is quite popular today. That your gender is whatever you want it to be, man, woman, transgender, cat, a plant, fits with this Godless worldview.

As believers, we are not whatever we want to be, but we are creatures made and now remade in God’s image, as we will see as we go further in the Catechism, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness.

Just like a lamp, or a flashlight, has as its primary purpose to give off light, so ours is to glorify God! Now, a lamp may be decorative. I have some beautiful red lamps in my house. Red is my favorite color. Now, they are decorative. For that reason, I think they look great in my house. However, their primary purpose is to give off light. If they do not do that, I may not keep them.

Now, if my lamps and flashlights, along with other items in my home, suddenly had minds of their own and became self-aware. Perhaps one of my beautiful red lamps counts itself superior to others, because of superior beauty?

Yet, if one day an intruder breaks into my home and a heavy flashlight comes in handy as a weapon, maybe that flashlight considers itself superior to the lamps, thinking “I saved my owner’s life.”

Yet, the primary purpose or chief end of each of these, lamp or flashlights would be to give off light, and so ours is to glorify God.

If the lamps and flashlights are not giving off light, they are relatively worthless. If they had minds of their own, they might feel this worthlessness? Might they look to fulfill themselves in other ways?

Ungodly people look for fulfillment in things other than God. They have no clue about their created purpose or are rebelling against it. They look for fulfilment in things that cannot ultimately and definitely not eternally satisfy.

Too often, people who should know better, “God’s people” look for fulfillment in the wrong things too! Can we enjoy Him forever if we are not enjoying Him now?

13  “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13 (NKJV)


Returning to purposeful, God-glorifying thinking and living should be the primary goal of every believing Christian.

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)

It is the purpose of this website, the catechism, and look at question 2, of the Bible, to help us glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Thomas Boston on the Chief End of Man

Arnold Brevick’s Sermons on this question:

A Door to More | Sermon Audio

Living for God’s Glory | Sermon Audio