Human flourishing is the condition where a person is fully enjoying the life God has given to him or her because there is peace with God, the world, and others, and within himself or herself. This peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but rather the Biblical sense of peace, shalom, which denotes joy, contentment, fulfillment, and harmony with God and His creation. It expresses a rich, satisfying existence in which one is actively at rest. While hastening to note that this condition is not fully achievable in this world, it remains humanity’s hope and destiny and so draws us to pursue flourishing as we have been invited to do. Given this definition, we note that every human being throughout time longs for such flourishing. To say we long for this is to say we long to be fully human and to live in a fully human community.
Despite the incompleteness of human flourishing, God has ordained that we can attain significant degrees of this blessing even now. The proper pursuit of human flourishing requires godly wisdom that teaches us to live well in His creation, with Him, and with other people. Its basis is found in our identity as image bearers of God. In understanding, embracing and sharing the truth of our identity, we have the basis for love of God and others. Flourishing exists where this full orbed love is present and manifests itself in and through the communities and social structures we inhabit. Simply put, we flourish when we love fully and inhabit a humane culture which reflects and sustains that love.
The Institute for Human Flourishing wants to see this type of culture develop. It is a grand, exciting, and necessary vision given who God is and who He has made us to be. It is also a timely vision, as our culture continues to wrestle with questions of human identity, purpose, and meaning. We hope to play a small part in leading the way towards this ideal.