Posts Tagged ‘image of God’

What does it mean that we are “made in the image of God”?

January 1, 2010

There are a few important points to see here…

Firstly, it is clear in Genesis 1 & 2 that human beings are different from the rest of creation.  So while evolution may be a part of God’s creation, it is unlikely that humans evolved from some other animal, because we were set apart and made differently.

Michelangelo portrayed God as looking like a human. While that is not the meaning behind "being made in the image of God" it is a powerful reminder that humans have uniquely close relationship with our creator.

Secondly, this statement from Genesis is not about what we look like or what God looks like.  Rather, the concept of being “made in God’s image” is about our role on earth.  It says in Genesis 1 that God commanded humans to rule over creation, to subdue it.  In other words, just like God is a ruler, he made us stewards and rulers over creation.  No other part of creation has ruler-type status, humans are on top, for better or worse.  So you can forget those movies like “Avatar” or “Day After Tomorrow” where Mother Nature steps in and takes control.  That’s not the way God made it.

Finally, there is a very specific thing that comes along with the whole package of being made in the image of God.  Namely, that we have a will.  We can choose what we want to do, we can go the direction we want to go, just like God.  So when God gave humans the command to care for and rule over creation, we actually have the option to say ‘no’.  No other creature is like that.  God has a will and as creatures who are made in his own image we have our own wills.  God gives us commands to follow, but we can choose to disobey.  Thus sets up the great tension of the Bible.