In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In previous weeks we’ve started looking at how God created humans. We’ve seen that God created humans male and female; and with living, reasoning and immortal souls. This week we’ll see how God made humans in his image.
In the very first chapter of the Bible we learn the profound fact that God created humans in his own image: ‘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, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:26-27). But what does it mean that humans are made in God’s image? Theologians have puzzled over this for centuries.
At a minimum, to be made in God’s image means we are like God. In fact God says in the Genesis passage that he wants to create humans in his ‘likeness’. This makes sense from the way we use the word image for other things. If you have an image of something, it is a representative of that thing. It is not identical to the thing, but is an image of it. Thus, God is the original, and we are a copy.
So how are we like God? This is where delving into the image of God gets complicated, because the Bible describes many attributes of God that humans also share on a lesser scale. For example, like God, we are moral, spiritual, reasoning, creative, emotional and relational beings. We also rule like God does. In the verses quoted earlier we see that immediately after talking about creating humans in his image, God speaks about humans ruling over fish, birds, livestock, and all creatures moving on the ground.
So we are like God in more ways than you might think which means humans are very, very special. But we must also note that the image of God has been damaged by sin. We struggle to represent well all those attributes listed earlier–for example we are not moral, we are very often immoral. So how do you represent God better? Repent of your sin and trust in Jesus and as you become more Christlike in your life, people will begin to see God more clearly in you.
Are you seeking to represent God in this world as you should?