“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32)
“The greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances.”—Aristotle
While his Four Causes may not have originally been meant to quantify and qualify a group of people united under an ideology (Christianity is more than ideology, bear with me), Aristotle’s rules for the coming-into-being of a thing—be it a table, a chair, or a meal—fit solidly around the Body of Christ as an object in itself. In other words, there is metaphor to be found when viewing the Four Causes through the lens of Jesus.
And now we come to the end.
The fourth and “Final Cause” of Aristotle is “the object’s ultimate aim or purpose”. That which all three work together in order to see it off. Simply put, just as Jesus came for many reasons, all of which go back to His having obeyed His Father from the outset, our role as a body is the same. Any of the myriad things we do, they’re meant to be done to the glory of God. And another name for the ‘Body of Christ’ is the ‘Bride of Christ’.
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)
The beautiful thing about Mary is that, in spite of all of the practical and necessary work that needed to be done, she decided to skip ahead and simply enjoy Jesus. And in the end, that is what we’ll all be doing in Heaven.
“…Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (Revelation 21:9)
Contrary to some popular belief, Jesus did not marry prior to His crucifixion. While this might be obvious to some, the concept that Jesus desired a wife merely for the same psychosexual relational reasons as any man are spurious and ridiculous. All that aside, the worldwide church that He started is meant to unite with Him in a depth of relationship that even angels haven’t had the privilege of enjoying. (“Which things the angels desire to look into.” see 1 Peter 1:12) We get the privilege and honor of being members of Jesus’ Bride. Please don’t think this some elitist fantasy. The qualifications leveled at those in attendance are stringent and strict. Suffering. Loss. Pain. Hardship. Some of which is brought about by us, in ignorance. Life as a Christian is hardly a cakewalk in the park. We are called to share in the sufferings of Jesus, and much like the unmarried believer spoken of by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (7:35), to “attend upon the Lord without distraction”. If you fast forward to Revelation, the same is being done in Heaven: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.” (22:3, emphasis mine) Not sure what image crops up in your mind upon reading that, but if you consider whatever it is you’re already inclined to do here, I would say that it’s the same thing you’ll be doing there. So why not serve Jesus in that capacity now? Go to the head of the class.
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)
Anna saw it. She had essentially married herself to God after losing her husband early on. “And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. (Luke 2:37)
Mary, Martha’s sister saw it. So did Mary Magdalene. These women were geniuses because they superseded and surpassed all the superfluity of show and went to the head of the class. There’s more to life and love than earthly matrimony. It’s merely a metaphor for the ultimate aim of the church: to marry Jesus. That’s the “Final Cause”.
“For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)