Within the Reformed tradition, it is a considered a fundamental principle of doctrine that the 'Chief End' of Man, of Creation and most importantly of God Himself is His own self glorification. We see this in the Westminster Catechism, throughout Calvin's Institutes and by so many within the Puritan tradition, e.g. Johnathan Edwards writing an entire essay on the subject; 'A Dissertation Concerning The End For Which God Created The World '. In fact, one of the 'Solae' of the Reformation, 'Sola Deo Gloria' shows how central God's glory was in the minds of the reformers.

'Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.' - Westminster Catechism, Shorter

'And God had regard to it in this manner, as he had a supreme regard to himself, and value for his own infinite, internal glory.' - Jonathan Edwards, 'A Dissertation Concerning The End For Which God Created The World'.

'The meaning of all this is, that the world, which was made to display the glory of God, is its own creator' - Calvin's 'Institutes', Chapter 5.5. (Calvin is here referencing Virgil, but acknowledges the the world was created for the display of Gods glory).

'Zeal in Christianity is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way' - J.C. Ryle,

This doctrine is so singular and remarkable that it can properly be described as the defining principle of Reformed theology. My question is, what are the pre-reformation precedents for this doctrine? I.e. do we see this teaching in the writings of Augustine, of the Schoolmen, in the Eastern church etc..? Although I can clearly see its Biblical precedent, it seems to be a question that was not explicitly addressed until the Reformation.

  • 1
    God is Love, I John 4:8, and God's purpose is to 'bring many sons to glory', Hebrews 2:10. I think that your first sentence mis-represents the Deity, nor do I think that the Reformers themselves would agree with your definition. – Nigel J Dec 26 '18 at 19:01
  • I agree with Nigel's comments. You should support your assertion with some references. – user43409 Dec 26 '18 at 22:07
  • @NigelJ I've put up some references for you. I'd be interested in why you think the reformers would disagree with what I've written. – Elie Bergman Dec 27 '18 at 13:40
  • I can't answer your question as I have searched but I can and do support every statement that you brought forth. We seem to forget that God did not create us for our own glorification but for His and His alone glory. As a reformed believer, I certainly agree with your opening statement. I could certainly go into great detail about this but that is not your question – Little miss piper Dec 29 '18 at 15:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.