Two of the questions philosophers like to discuss are:
· Who am I?
· Why am I here?
I’m not a philosopher, but I do think these are legitimate questions that a belief system should answer. Some would say the answer to the first is that I am a few cents worth of chemicals and to the second is that I came into being because of some big bang that took place hundreds of millions of years ago.
It’s sad to me that there are those who believe this. First of all, I think such a view of mankind robs us of all dignity, and secondly, I think it takes a huge amount of totally blind faith to believe we resulted from some huge explosion with no intelligence behind it. I do recognize the right of anyone to believe that who wants to, but that’s not what this discussion is about.
As Christians, we believe the answers to the big questions like this must come from the Bible. Throughout this series we will refer to the Bible for answers to whatever questions arise. As often as possible, I will cite specific passages so you can go look them up for yourselves if you want to check my accuracy.
At times, however, a truth necessarily arises from the “gist” of God’s Word or from the nature of God’s character and cannot be pinpointed to specific passages. I’ll endeavor to minimize the truths of this nature in order to give you specifics as often as possible, but at times it will be unavoidable.
For the answer to our first question, let begin at the beginning: The first chapter of Genesis. This passage is quoted from the New American Standard Version, as will all our quotes be unless otherwise stated.
In verses 26-28, God said:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . .”
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
What does it mean when God says, “Let Us make man in Our image?” We can draw a couple of truths out of that statement.
First of all, the use of the words Us and Our tells us a plurality was involved. We, as Christians, believe in a triune God—a Godhead made up of three parts. This statement is where we begin to get that idea.
Secondly, He says, “. . .in Our image.” What does that mean? If you look in your mirror, you see your own image. It looks like you. That’s what an image is, whether it’s in a mirror or a photograph or whatever. It’s a reproduction that looks like that of which it is the image.
If that’s the case, does that mean God created us to look like Him? The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes” in my opinion. I can’t explain this in exact detail, since you and I were both created in His image but don’t look alike, but in some way, we do look like God.
Please don’t misquote me here. I’m not saying we are God, just that we look like Him. I don’t know what else that could mean.
Okay, so what does “according to Our likeness mean?” It means we are to some extent the same type of being that He is. God is a spirit being, and we are created as spirit beings. Again, I’m not according us with equality to God. I’m only saying that we have a likeness to Him. He’s a spirit, and we also, in our essence, are spirits. We are housed in bodies, but our essence is spiritual.
I hope this comes across to you as more than just pedantic nitpicking, because this is fantastic news. Have you ever wondered whether or not you have any intrinsic worth? Most of us have at one time or another—some of us frequently.
The answer is an unequivocal YES. You are created in the image of God and after His likeness. That makes you unique among His creations. You may love dogs and cats and other animals, and there is nothing wrong with that, but He did not create them in His image and after His likeness. Only YOU.
To avoid making this overly long, we’ll stop here. In our next session, we’ll continue with more from this chapter of Genesis.
What does it mean to you to be created in God’s own image and after His likeness? If you have had problems with self-image, how can this knowledge impact you? Other readers want to know what you think.
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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David – Thank you. You’ve done a brilliant job of explaining an element that once seemed complicated.
Thanks, Sheri. I hope God can use this series to touch lives and hearts.
I have read that passage of Genesis all my life but never took it for its literal value. There really is a spark of something extra within us that has made our species able to rise above that of beasts, to grow and learn and evolve in ways other creatures have not and cannot even after millions of years. That’s not to say we are better or worse (Lord knows there are times when humans are both) but every generation strives to do better than the one before. And what could it be other than the divine that calls us to always seek more knowledge, to give selflessly to others and to strive to be better than we are?
I love this idea that we are more than unique but we are also all connected to each other in this way, making us all equal regardless of our differences. I don’t have to be a super model to be beautiful because I am made in God’s image and therefore am beautiful beyond just a physical appearance.
It makes me think of glass. If you melt glass or break it into smaller pieces, in the end it is still made up of tiny grains of sand. In that way, we are all like tiny grains of God making up a bigger, beautiful whole. Without all of those grains, that stained glass would not be the same. It’s necessary in order for the window to be complete, just as we are all necessary for God’s vision to be complete. (Don’t ask me how I came up with that, it just came to my heart and I shared it). Great post David!
Thanks, Charity. I hope future posts in this series are meaningful to you.
Knowing that I have been created in God’s own image gives me more a sense of self-worth.
It should, Sharon. I can’t imagine anything greater.