Image of God
The first stop on my journey from the bed to the office every morning is the bathroom mirror. I am unaware of how I will look to the world until I see the reflection of my image, revealing all of the things I need to address before going out into public. The reflection of my image has a purpose.
According to the creation account we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Simply stated, there is something in mankind, of all of God’s creation, that reflects who God is in a unique way (imago dei). But how?
Primarily, the image of God in us is His way of showing the world who He is and what He has planned for us. We are meant to represent, reflect and reveal God to the world through His image in us. Theologically this is a more functional view of the meaning of God’s image but it cannot be separated from the more substantive view. The way that we will reflect who God is to the world is through the shared characteristics He has placed in us.
God is love. When Mother Theresa loved the poor in tangible ways, it revealed God’s love and plan.
God is just. When Martin Luther King stood up for equal rights for the races, it revealed God’s sense of justice and plan.
God is creative. When Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel, it revealed God’s creative beauty.
God is wise and rational. When Solomon ruled the Kingdom of Israel, it revealed God’s wisdom and logic to the world.
I’ll pause now because I can already hear your objections to some of my examples. These people did not PERFECTLY represent who God is to the world because of sin. The image of God in mankind is marred because of the fall into sin. Our best attempts to represent, reflect and reveal Him to the world will be polluted by our own agenda, greed, desire for power or lust.
Sin marred the image of God in us, but the redemptive work of Jesus begins the restoration process. We are being “transformed from glory to glory” (II Corinthians 3:18) and one day “we will be like Him for we will see Him as He is” (I John 3:2). My ability to represent, reflect and reveal who God is to the world increases as I surrender to this transformational work of Christ in me.
Has God given you a sharp, logical mind? Surrender it to Him and let Him use that part of you to reflect who He is to those around you? Do you possess a burning passion for justice? Surrender that to Him and let Him lead you to a cause to support the underprivileged and in that way reflect Him. Are you musical, artistic, visionary? Surrender that to Him and allow Him to use you to inspire others toward Him.
When we aren’t exactly sure how God wants us to reflect Him to the world, we can always love. The greatest command is love (Matthew 22:37), the greatest of the gifts is love (I Corinthians 13:13) and God is love (I John 4:16). We are never so much like God as when we love.