Theology…the study of God, what we see in scripture and in his creation gives much to pause over and contemplate, especially over his creation of man. As my class has been looking at the study of man, I have had a lot of questions bumping around in my head. Last week we looked at the Imago Dei, or image and likeness of God. I find the narrative of our creation fascinating in Gen. 1:26-28
“26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
God said; let us create man in ‘our’ image. Then God created man in ‘his’ image, in the image of God he created male and female.
He interchanges pronouns referring to God from singular to plural giving the first hints to the complexity of his triune nature. I am also taken back by the fact that male and female were created in the image of God. Together male and female comprise the concept of man…mankind…the image of God. Together as we live in community and family we represent or cast the shadow of God’s image. Image in the Hebrew means literally shadow or outline while likeness means the resemblance of that shadow to the person. The two words are synonymous and fit well into the Hebrew writing style with repetition for effect.
So that begs the question what is the image of God. We received comments in my class about what part of our DNA or appearance resembles that of God? Actually, John 4:24 says that God is spirit. If God is spirit, than his image is spirit. Somehow, he endowed us with a spiritual element, something that set us apart from all other creation. Here are some aspects to the Image…
3. Morality or conscience, we can choose to sin or to abstain.
4. Social relationships /love
5. Intelligence, seen in Adam naming the animals as well as how we can string words together connecting with ideas and concepts.
I often wonder at the care and detail God put into making man, the complexity of the our eye, how we think, listening to the heartbeat of a loved one, the complete individuality of each and every person ever created, and many more. However, I just as often wonder at the concept of being made in the Image of our creator. With that brings great responsibility as well as a special set apart amazement. What really does his image look like and how can I best resemble that? And why are man and woman both necessary for us to have the image of a triune God represented on this planet?