Real Joy

The Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches us that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to englorify-god-and-enjoy-him-foreverjoy Him forever.” It’s no mistake that the Westminster Divines, authors of this document, put this question and answer first in their catechism. They knew that it is of the utmost importance that we first glorify God. All that is good; all that is right; all that is eternally important flows from the recognition of God as God. We must notice that proper joy comes from glorifying God. There is eternal happiness wrapped up in that statement.

Another recognition missing from the formula of TWTH, is the fact of sin. That man is a sinner is a foundational fact of life. Because we sin we are incapable of keeping God’s law. In order to achieve the happier life promised by TWTH, every person on earth would need to keep each of its commandments. Though it can be in no way equated with God’s Moral Law, the formula of TWTH is still too hard. Sin bars the way. Only one way remains. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. Without accessing the power of Christ’s atoning work on the cross of Calvary, one cannot achieve eternal happiness.

The Way To Happiness is simply another attempt to takeover; to hijack the truth of God’s Word. There have been many such attempts. They’ve been know by various names: theological liberalism, cultural liberalism, “New Age” religion, rationalism, pop psychology, psychiatry, “modern” science, the new hedonism (you know, the sexual revolution). Each of these is an attempt to make us feel better; to bolster our self-esteem; to reach our full potential – to find the way to happiness. This is Satan’s way to accomplish just the opposite. God’s Word teaches that without Jesus we can all feel better all the way to Hell.

How Majestic is Your Name

As I complete this portion of my thoughts on Global Warming, etc., let’s consider some common Christian objections to over-the-top environmentalism.

People are more important than plants and animals  True. We are to have a concern for our fellow man. Men are created as a higher order than plants and animals. Look at Psalm 8:

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

    the th-3moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Man is “crowned with glory and honor.” He has been given “dominion.” That dominion is OVER “all things;” over beasts and birds, and fish.

Environmentalism is New Age.True and untrue. Environmentalist activism is New Agey. It’s primarily based on Pantheism. But remember that Pantheism itself is not very new. It’s the basis for some very ancient religions, such as animism, Bhuddism, Shintoism, etc. Seventeenth century philosopher Spinoza was a proponent of Pantheism in his day. He was expelled from the Jewish community in Holland for his views. True environmental concern need not be anchored in the New Age, if one carefully considers the Biblical mandate to cultivate and subdue the earth.

The mandate to rule and subdue infers no cruelty, no massacre of the gifts we’ve been given. Remember Psalm 8? He made us ruler over the works of His Hands. We are to be benevolent rulers.

So, to recap, God has created all things that are created. When He had finished that, He turned it over to us to manage – ON HIS BEHALF. It’s a turnkey operation. If your father turns over the company business to you, do you thinks it’s wise to turn around and run it into the ground? Of course not. James 1:16-18 teaches,

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Why would we ruin His good gift of use of the earth?

On the other hand, we are to utilize the earth, not idolize it. If you need wood, cut down a tree. If you need food, plant crops and harvest them; or kill an animal and eat it. This is part of God’s plan for man; His highest order of creation.