The Divine Purpose
Before digging into the concepts surrounding life after death, I think there is value in understanding God’s revealed purpose. I have explored the divine purpose of God in another article, but I will look to summarise this here.
The divine purpose of God is a subject that is not much revealed in scripture. I mean, why did God create us? What greater purpose does our existence fulfil? Answer these questions and we will move some way towards understanding what happens to us after we die.
Let’s start with what appears to be the foundation principle. In Frank Viola’s book “From Eternity to Here“, he postulates that God’s ultimate purpose is to expand communion in Trinity. God’s purpose is to expand the relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit to a community of spirit beings. Those spirit beings are all devoted to enhancing the glory of this communion.
The divine purpose of God therefore is to express the boundless love and desire for relationship between the entities of the Trinity to a community comprising all of humanity. Genesis 1:27 states, “God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” (NET). We are created in His image so that we can form a profound relationship with God.
Glorifying the Communion of Trinity
It is asserted that the primary purpose of creation is to glorify God. 1 Cor 10:31 for example directs us to “do all for the glory of God”. God doesn’t “need” anything from us. To glorify Trinity is an invitation to recognise and acknowledge the greatness, love, and character of God. It is a way for us to align ourselves with God, find a relationship with Him and experience the transformative power of His presence. Sharing God’s purpose is therefore a gift of communion that we are invited into, so that we might grow spiritually and have a deeper connection with our creator.
We are created to reflect God’s attributes or character and to bring honour to Him through thought, word and action.
Communion with Trinity
The divine purpose of humanity is to display the principles of fellowship and communion central to the Trinity. This is demonstrated in the unity of man and woman in Eden and the examples of the Bride and Bridegroom in scripture. The divine purpose is that God’s love and grace to the world be expressed in intimate communion. Indeed, a healthy and loving marriage serves as a powerful model of the relationship between God and His creation.
The incarnation of Christ and His ministry in the earth was the most significant step in advancing the divine purpose of restoring communion between God and humanity.
The Role of Free Will
The role of free will is generally fairly tricky. I will do a separate article in the future on this topic. Free will coexists with God’s foreknowledge. Whilst God knows what actions we will take, we are still free to take those actions out of our free will and moral agency. What God seeks from us is an adult, mature and informed choice to enter into relationship with Him. Our free will, exercised freely by a critical thinking adult who chooses out of genuine love, communion with Trinity is fulfilment of the divine purpose. It is the response of love to the love of the Trinity. It also implies that we have reached maturity and responsibility for our actions and moral decisions. We have grown up and chosen the path of love.
Participation in the Divine Purpose
A mature Son or Daughter of God does not wait for direction. They actively pursue and engage with the divine purpose. The purpose of God is that we actively participate in God’s message of love and salvation to those around us, furthering His purpose.
Stewardship as Preparation
Don’t ignore the parable of the faithful servant in Matt 25. Our stewardship of this earth here and now prepares us for full participation in the ageless purpose of God. “Well done… you have been faithful in a few things… I will put you in charge of many things…” Matt 25:23 (NET paraphrase).
God gives us responsibility for the management of the earth. Then God invites us to participate in something greater.
Growth and Transformation
God created us as His children so that we can grow and transform into maturity. All of our challenges, trials and difficulties in life are so that we develop, grow and transform into a closer relationship and alignment with Trinity. Our characters are being developed to conform to the image of God.
Eternal Fellowship and Worship
In summary therefore, the divine purpose of God with creation is relationship: eternal fellowship and worship in communion with Trinity forever is the ageless purpose of God. Rev 7:9-10 gives us a glimpse of this multitudinous communion.
After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. They were shouting out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”