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Beginnings in Genesis – No Mere Mortals

January 31, 2008

‘let us make humankind in our image’ gen 1:26

Only of human beings is this said and no other creature carries the divine spark in the way we do. The Scriptures tell us that even though the angels are greater in might and power than us (2 Peter 2:11) it is not even said of them that they are in God’s image. Every human being is this invested with eternal significance.

This perhaps sheds new light on the command not to create likenesses of God. For God has placed his image all over the world and he wishes us to pay due homage to it by recognising each individual as carrying the image of God. Thus the New Testament says love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and then, love your neighbour, created in his image, as you love yourself.

God2_2Likewise does James get indignant when he says:

‘With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who have been made in God’s likeness.’    James 3:9

The other implication of this is that every human being is worthy of respect and being honoured from the
poorest to the mightiest. No one individual is more worthy than another.

CS Lewis wrote:

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest, most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are in some degree helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

So you! Yes you, reading this; the image of God. The person who smiled at you this morning in the queue; the image of God. The family member you’ve fallen out with this week; the image of God. That woman you envy, the guy who sold you your lunchtime snack; the image of God. All round you today; images of God. Everywhere.

The image of God.

Would it really hurt to bless the image of God with a smile?


From → Genesis

  1. asharedadventure permalink

    Good point, it’s important to know who we are in Christ, our authority and how truely special we are. As you say, it’s also crucial as we walk in love to recognise how special others are. Those words by C.S Lewis are powerful especially the point that “we are helping each other to one or other of these places”, it highlights a responsibility we have. Sometimes it’s easy to forget we are ALL made in God’s image and it reminds me of a church I visited not so long ago, a church that is doing very well I might add. During the sermon a certain attitude was encouraged and I quote..”There is no such thing as an innocent muslim”… and at one point the congregation were actually chanting “No more Alah!”… Interesting way to treat Gods sons and daughters!!

  2. That’s UNBELIEVABLE Joanne…I hesitate to even ask was it a local place? God forgive us.

  3. virtualmethodist permalink

    Joanne… it’s not just who we are in Christ, but who we are, full stop, end of sentence. Who we were created to be. That is what makes the comment and the chant you heard in that church doubly chilling…

  4. asharedadventure permalink

    You’re absolutely right, well pointed out. Before we could do anything at all, God through pure love, created us in his image, it makes it all the more amazing. By the way Glenn, it is a local church with a large congregation majority of which are in their 30s, 40s and 50s, it also seems to be doing very well financially, all of which make it all the more surprising and scary.

  5. and another thing…as far as I’m aware Arab Christians in Mid East call their Christian God, Allah.

  6. Wonderful stuff.

    My NT prof likes to point out that Israel was the only culture in the ancient near east which didn’t have any image of their God in the temple. It was possible for those in the surrounding cultures to treat the image of their god with reverence, and then go and treat people like crap. But for Israel, the image of God is in their neighbour, which changes everything.

    I’ve been blogging on a related theme over at jayber crow and I’d love to hear your thoughts…

  7. virtualmethodist permalink

    Glenn… You are absolutely right re the Allah comment… A friend of mine got into a lot of trouble in the US when immediately after 9/11, and again in the subsequent invasion of Iraq, he had his congregation refer to God as Allah in a responsive prayer.
    Joanne… the fact that the church you refered to seems outwardly successful doesn’t surprise me at all. It depresses me but doesn’t surprise me. Aim low and you’ll always find a market!
    As for the comment on the lack of images of God in Judaism… very interesting… you’ve got a good NT prof!
    Wonderful discussion throughout this strand… You’ve inspired me to dig out & dust off some of the stuff I did for New Irish on Genesis a few years ago. I’ll be posting it on Virtual Methodist, but in reading over your posts and the discussion I think I would have handled some things differently now… But that is good… I’d be disappointed if I looked back and thought there was nothing I could do better.

  8. Very interesting, I didn’t know that about Arab Christians. You prompted me to do a wee search and apparently Arab Christians not only use Allah to mean their Christian God but the use of Allah in Arabic-speaking Christian churches PREDATES Islam by several centuries. It highlights the importance of continually renewing our minds with Gods word – the Truth – that God created All of us in His image, and how dangerous it can be to conform to the patterns of this world. A world that can look for and focus on apparent differences whilst not seeking or even wanting to find appropriate, accurate knowledge.

  9. Thanks all for this. I’ll check out virtualmethodist and hop over to the pacific northwest to see Jayber as well.

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