II. For what end did God create man?

To this the catechism answers: "that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him, and live with him in eternal happiness, to glorify and praise him." The glory of God is, therefore, the chief and ultimate end for which man was created. It was for this purpose that God created rational and intelligent beings, such as angels and men, that knowing him, they might praise him forever. Hence, man was created principally for the glory of God; that is, for professing and calling upon his holy name, for praise and thanksgiving, for love and obedience, which consists in a proper discharge of the duties which we owe to God and our fellow-men. For the glory of God comprehends all these things.

Obj. But the heavens, and earth, and other creatures are also said to glorify God. Therefore this was not the end for which man was created.

Ans. When creatures destitute of reason are said to praise and glorify God it is not that they acknowledge or celebrate his praise, but because they furnish the matter and occasion of glorifying God, which belongs properly to intelligent creatures. Angels and men, by the contemplation of these works of God, discern his wisdom, goodness, and power, and are thus stirred up to magnify and praise his name. To glorify God, therefore, is the work of creatures possessed of reason and understanding, and if there were not beings of this description to discern the order and arrangement which is manifest in nature, unintelligent creation could no more be said to praise God than if it had no existence. Hence, we are to regard those declarations in the book of the Psalms, in which the heavens, sea, earth, &c., are said to praise God, as figurative expressions, in which the inspired writer attributes to things, void of reason, that which belongs properly to intelligent creatures.

2. There are other reasons for which man was created, subordinate to the glory of God. His knowledge, for instance, contributes to his glory, in as much as he cannot be glorified if he is not known. It is, moreover, the proper work of man to know and glorify God; for eternal life consists in this, as it is said: "This is eternal life, that they might know thee, the only true God." (John 17:3.)

3. The happiness and blessedness of man, which consists in the enjoyment of God and heavenly blessings, is subordinate or next in order to the knowledge of God; for his goodness, mercy, and power are manifest from these.

Obj. But the felicity and happiness of man, his knowledge, and glorifying of God, are properties or conditions with and in which he was created; that is, they are a part of the image of God and of the proper form of man. Therefore, they are not the ends for which man was created, and belong more properly to the first question, which we have already considered, than to this second, which treats of the end of our creation.

Ans. They are a part of the proper form and end of man, but in a different respect; for God made man such a being, that, being blessed and happy, he might rightly know and glorify him; and he created him for this end, that he might henceforth and forever be known and praised by him, and that he might continually communicate himself to man. Man was, therefore, created happy, knowing God aright, and glorifying him, which was the form he received in his creation; and, at the same time, he was created for this end that he might forever remain such. It is, therefore, correct to include both these things in speaking upon this subject; because man was created such a being, and for such an end. The first refers to the question what, in respect to the beginning; the other, to the question for what, in respect to his continuance and perseverance therein. So in Eph. 4:24, righteousness and true holiness, which constitute the form and very being of the new man, are said to be the end of the same. Nor is it absurd that the same thing should be declared the form and end in a different respect; for that which is the form in respect to the creature, is declared the end in respect to the purpose of the Creator.

The fourth end, for which man was created, is the manifestation, or declaration, of the mercy of God in the salvation of the elect, and of his justice in the punishment of the reprobate. This is subordinate to the knowledge and enjoyment of God; for in order that he may be known and communicate himself unto us, it is necessary that he should make a revelation. of himself.

The fifth is the preservation of society in the human race, which, again, is subordinate to the manifestation of God; for if men did not exist, God could not have those to whom he might reveal himself. "I will declare thy name unto my brethren." (Psalms 22:23.)

The sixth, is a mutual participation in the duties, kindness, and benefits which we owe to each other; which, again, contributes to the preservation of society; for it is necessary to the continuance of the human race, that peace and mutual intercourse exist amongst men.

This first creation of man is to be carefully compared with the misery of mankind, and with our departure from the end for which we were created; that by this means, also, we may know the greatness of our misery. For our knowledge of the greatness of the evil into which we have fallen, "will be in the same degree in which we are brought to apprehend the superior excellence of the good which we have lost. This brings us to consider what the image of God was, in which man was created.