Made in the Image of God
The first chapter of the Bible says that human beings are made in the image of God. This is a curious turn of phrase that often doesn’t mean much to modern readers. Ancient creation stories always ended with the God creating a temple in which to be worshiped. And the last thing you would put in such a temple would be the god’s image (an idol). The Genesis story follows the same pattern. God creates no temple (implying the whole world was his temple) and then he caps it off by placing his image (us) in that temple.
If I disrespect the image of a god in a pagan temple, that god’s followers would be horribly offended and upset. And yet, if we often don’t feel at all upset when people are dehumanized, exploited, or profaned or disrespected. We might even do it ourselves. This shows we might not even believe that people are image-bearers at all. And while it’s true, the image is distorted and twisted by sin, it still commands respect.
Jesus comes and shows us what it looks like to be the image without being distorted. By accepting him by faith and allowing the Holy Spirit to work, we become more like the image we were always intended to be. Jesus shows us what that looks like. Showing deference to all others made by the creator, but demanding it from none. He loves, even when others disrespect him.
Check out the first installment in this series Caring For Creation