Question: “Why did God make you and all things?” Answer: “For His own glory.”
It struck me today, though not for the first time, that this is a truly profound and crucial theological statement. It’s from our little Children’s Catechism, and kids have been learning this truth for centuries. But I think if we really knew that truth, really knew it down in our bones, we would avoid a lot of errors. There is more that needs to be known, for sure- it is not sufficient. But it is necessary- without this piece of information, you’ll misunderstand and misconstrue everything. That statement right there cures the Arminian error, I believe. That’s just one example.
How many times in the Bible do you see God saying something like, “So that you will know that I am God” or “for My holy name’s sake” or something similar? These are all statements about God’s self-revelation and how fundamental it is to the whole existence of the universe. This is why everything exists.
Good theology is the reason we don’t have slavery anymore, and is the reason why you have cell phones and cars and democracy. That’s not to say of course that the company that built your cell phone is Christian, but it is to say that we as a culture and civilization are still reaping from the long trail of benefits from the building of our civilization in northern and western Europe by people who were Christians. They believed that God had made all people in His own image and that God made the universe orderly and understandable, and made man to understand it. These ideas led to the scientific revolution, the concept of human rights and all the rest. That’s not to say they were all perfectly worked out instantly. Some might cite slavery in the US or Europe as a counterexample. But the remarkable thing wasn’t that slavery existed. Slavery has existed everywhere for all of history. The remarkable thing, the thing that requires explaining, is the push to end slavery, which happened entirely in places with a long Christian heritage.
Because they knew God. And they knew that God had created the very universe to reveal Himself. They wanted to know Him better, and they paid attention.
In a society rapidly rejecting Christianity and the civilization which sprang from it, I expect we’ll be finding out soon whether this thesis is correct, whether a liberal, free, scientific society can long exist without the theological framework which gave rise to that society.