The Purpose of Man’s Existence

Icon of the Transfiguration of Christ

Icon of the Transfiguration of Christ

As Saint Gregory Palamas also points out, Christ is not only the Sole Revealer of God, He is also the Sole Revealer of God’s purpose in His creation of man. In simple terms, what is true of Christ’s humanity can also be true for us – by grace. Christ is unique in that the union of human nature with His divine Person is hypostatic or personal. But the consequence of this hypostatic union, namely, the exchange of the natural properties of each of His two natures (the communicatio idiomatum), serves as a model for our own salvation and deification (theosis). What is true of Christ’s humanity can also be true for us – by grace, that is to say, as gift. This is how salvation is understood in the tradition of the Orthodox Church; not in merely moral or ethical terms, but as the attainment of Christlike perfection. This is the purpose of our human existence – to become by divine grace what Christ is by nature.

Veniamin, Christopher (2013-09-10). The Orthodox Interpretation of Holy Scripture: St. Gregory Palamas and the Key to Understanding the Bible (Kindle Locations 140-151). Mount Thabor Publishing. Kindle Edition.

NOTE: The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks “What is the chief end of man?” The answer given is famous for its depth and concision: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” This is not a bad answer, but it is incomplete — because Presbyterian theology derives its Doctrine of Man from the accounts of the fall, rather than from the creation accounts.

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