It’s in the first chapter of the Bible, so clear that it could not be mistaken for anything else, yet so mysterious and deep that no matter how many times we might try to wrap our brains around it, we will never grasp the full meaning of the honor. An honor we have grown as accustomed to as our own skin, and often as weary of, it seems.
“In the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.”
In the image of God. No other creation has that privilege, or that responsibility. So wondrous and terrifying that at the thought of it, humanity tends to respond in one of two ways: run far and fast in denial of the very thought, or kneel in awe at the gracious blessing of being created in the image of the Creator.
No man has seen God at any time, the Bible says, yet His image is traced – however faintly, however thinly, however difficult to recognize – in every soul that walks the face of the earth. From oldest to youngest, from richest to poorest, some indistinguishable element is shared between us all, the signature of God’s image. How? (And we might also ask, Where?)
Perhaps the place we are least likely to recognize this stamp of majesty is when we look in the mirror, when we consider ourselves.
Me? Created in the image of God? We might put up a brave front for another, or for everyone, but only we know our own thoughts, and how doubting and rife with such very human emotions they are. Only we know the dark thoughts, the heartless words, the faithless prayers that have left our lips or dwelt in our heart.
Me, in the image of God?
It seems almost a joke that such a thing would even be hinted at in the Word of God. But there it is, not only stated in the beginning, but whispered throughout, in words that hint at our transformation slowly through this life, and then drastically and wondrously in the next. It is something we cannot ignore, or if we do, only at our own peril.
For if it is true – if this concept so rich with meaning that it is nigh incomprehensible is our portion and destiny – perhaps we should do more than simply nod and mutter, “What a great promise.”
Perhaps we, if we are brave enough and humble enough, should respond with the awe of one who grew up in poverty and obscurity to suddenly discover he is the son of a king and rises to sudden glory and majesty.
For we, created in His image, are also given the promise that we can be His children. Adopted and taken from a life of spiritual poverty and obscurity into His royal family. Not only stamped with His likeness, but now called one of his own.
How is this possible?
Because He who is the Image of the invisible God too bore the weighty cloak of humanity and passed through this world sinless and spotless, yet accepted the scourge of sin and death for all mankind. That we who still walk this weary world may be branded with a new promise. Of life eternal. And more.
Of being recreated in the image of God, taking on His nature by taking on the nature of He who walked these torn lands so long ago.
In the image of God created he them. Created he us.
And that was only the beginning of the story.