Sunday, April 29, 2012

In God's Image

Today, a discussion at church brought me back to a passage in the Bible that I have often read and that I believe garners more study. The Creation story. But not for the purpose of discussing creation vs. evolution because, quite frankly, I am tired of those discussions. For me, there are many interesting things that come out of the first 2 chapters of the Bible. Today I want to explore one concept, a concept that became real in my mind through the discussion - as though I hadn't really heard these verses before. I want to focus on Genesis 1:26-27, and specifically verse 27, which reads (in the NIV),
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Literally, in the way we define literal in today's society, this means that we are all made in the image of God. Literally, this means we should all look alike. Literally, since we have people in this world who look so different from each other, some would be made in greater likeness to God than others. Literally, this could mean that I, as an individual with a disability, would not be made in as much likeness to God as someone without any physical imperfections. Or, conversely, that individuals with physical, mental, cognitive, or other differences, are in actuality more in likeness to God. I really don't think this is what is meant by this verse. I do not believe that I am made with any less likeness, or more likeness for that matter, to God. The Message phrases this verse as follows:
God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God's nature. He created them male and female.
I've met so many people in my life who are non-verbal, or who have have a lower intellectual quotient, or who have physical limitations, or who have mental illness. I have seen God reflected in them. Sometimes, I see God's nature reflected in them more than I do in people who are 'normal'. That tells me something. It tells me that something inside of us, our inner spirit if you will, is made in God's likeness. Genesis 2:5-7 reads (the Message):
5-7 At the time God made Earth and Heaven, before any grasses or shrubs had sprouted from the ground—God hadn't yet sent rain on Earth, nor was there anyone around to work the ground (the whole Earth was watered by underground springs)—God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive—a living soul!
Did you catch that? God blew into his nostrils the breath of life! The Man came alive - a living soul! There are many passages in the Bible referring to 'the breath of life' in reference to the Spirit. So I wonder if "in the image of God" refers to his Spirit, the breath of life, in us. When his Spirit is present, we will be reflecting God's nature. We will truly be reflecting that image, as if we're a mirror image of what is happening on the inside.

What do you think?


Ty said...

and I truly think since we are all made in God's image- Christ-Bearers, we need to remember then there is no need for labels for together we make up the full image that is the Holy.
Thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you got it. Christ continually called us to be child like in our faith. Scriptures tell us that the things we consider great or wise are proved otherwise by the simplest of things. We can't put too much stock in the conventional views of what is perfection or greatness. I think that is anotheer reason He speaks to us in a still, small voice.


Bonnie said...

Absolutely! Very well put.

I think this is something important for us to realize for two main reasons... First, for one's own self-esteem and second, how we treat others. Despite all of our human flaws, we all have the divine spark in us!