What God Says and Does, 2: In His Own Image
Look in the mirror.
by Everett Wilson
February 25, 2012
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."—Genesis 1:26.
If you want to know what God is most like, look in the mirror. Though it may sound silly, that is what this verse implies we should do if we believe the Bible. We are required to take it seriously. It makes quite a claim about you and me when it says that God made human beings in his image.
Maybe we can't explain it, but we are forbidden to explain it away. We are something like God; in fact, we are more like God than anything else in his creation. If we forget that or even detract from it, we are left with nothing better to go on.
So go ahead, look in the mirror. You will not see God, but you will see a human person, one of many, all of whom resemble God, but none of whom duplicate Him. We are individuals; so is He. We are images of God, not His duplicates or replicates. Some of us are male, some are female, but each of us is an individual person. We love and are loved. We think, and are thought about.
God is not only the Origin of us; he is the Original of us. It is not remarkable therefore that the Bible will forbid us, in Exodus 20, to create an image of a human or other creature, even an imaginary one, and call it a picture of God. We must instead see any human as an image of God, a person of enormous stature among His creatures. Instantly upon creating us he granted us the fearful re-sponsibility of dominion over all the other living creatures of earth. It is a king or queen who looks back at you from the mirror. God has given you authority. He has not given you His power to create out of nothing, but He has given the ability and responsibility to make do with what he has provided. We are secondary creators--as inventors, designers, stylists, engineers, caregivers, musicians. Even a writer of fiction, said William Faulkner in his Nobel acceptance speech, "creates out of the materials of the human spirit something that did not exist before."
God alone starts from scratch. We are not God, but we resemble Him!
Can God be seen in other ways
Than crowned and seated on a throne?
Is God the source of matchless might,
Immovable as quarried stone?
Or could it be that God is glimpsed
In ordinary time and space,
A sovereign not remote at all
But seen in every human face?
--John Thornburg (copyright 1993)
The Covenant Hymnal, #95
About the Author:
Everett Wilson is not otherwise a medievalist, but it works for him to think of theology as the queen of sciences
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