It is from the very first chapter of Genesis that we begin to see what makes humanity unique in creation; human beings are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Being made in the image of God is one of the foundational theological starting points for those in the Christian faith when we come to examine our place in the universe. It is because of our “image of God-ness” that we believe that each human life is sacred.
We do not question that God made us as human beings physically but there is some question as to what it means to our being created in the “image of God”. We do know that because of this image there is an interconnection of relating with each other and with our Creator.
But what is our connection with “God’s image”? In Paul’s letter to the Colossians he writes that “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation” (Col 1:15). And to the Corinthians he writes, “the God of this age has blinded the mind of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4). So how are we made? To be made in the image of God is to be embodied and embedded in the story of creation. Paul speaks to this in Romans: “For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that we might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Rom 8:29).
Adam was first created in God’s own image. He fell from God’s image and glory through his sin. When we were born, we were born in Adam’s sinful image. But God’s purpose is to redeem and restore man back to His image and to reflect His glory and divine character.
God sent His son, Jesus, to restore His glory through mankind and return man to His likeness and image. Jesus descended from the glory of God to this earth so that we could receive His glory in us and be restored to the image and likeness of our Creator.
The Bible says that our relationship with God personally, and experiencing the love, joy, peace, and fellowship with Him has come at the expense of Christ’s death on the cross. That’s how we become acceptable to God. “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).
God’s plan and purpose is to make us into His image. Our purpose is to be conformed to the image of Christ in the manner in which we live, breathe, think, act, worship, and glorify God. I find it interesting that scripture does not focus so much on the “stuff” that we are made of as it does on what we are made for. We are made to live our lives so that we continually are being conformed to the image of Christ. Hence, fulfilling God’s purpose of being made in His image.
- Pastor Amundson