If you could touch a statue of God Himself, how would you treat it?
I know down through the centuries, various paintings and statues have been created of Jesus and should the security get lax, you could actually reach out and touch it. But what if you could actually touch a statue that truly captured the essential essence of God Almighty? The intelligence, rationality, emotion, passion of God…how would you treat that type of masterpiece?
Every single day we actually encounter these very statues. No, they may not look like how God looks, but the essential essence—intelligence, rationality, emotion and passion—are present. The image of our creator—the image of God—is indelibility etched into every human you see.
And we are statues of the Almighty. We get this concept of being made in the image of God from Genesis 1:27.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
So what does it mean—really mean—to be made in the image of God? It’s so easy in our modern, scientific mindset to reduce humanity to chemicals, systems, and stimuli, but being human, and being in the image of God, is so very much more.
Truly, the “image of God” reminds us that humanity is set off from the animals. Just as animals are different from plants, so are humans different from animals. There is no animal ever recorded as being in the image of God. There is no other creature endowed with this gift.
Although it’s pretty hard to pinpoint what specific attribute gives us this image, we know that the entire human race bears this image. All of us: rich and poor, Christian and non-Christian, male and female, in the womb or aged—together we are created in the image of God.
In the original language of the Old Testament (Hebrew), the word translated as “image” has a sense of “copy.” This idea bears two awesome realizations:
- We do not create God in our image. He is not a copy of us.
- We learn who we are from Him—the “original”. We were patterned after Him and can find no true self-understanding apart from Him.
So why does all this matter?
Every human you see (and all those you don’t see) is a copy of the Creator—you included. It is the fact that we are not mere animals that stirs us to action to defend those who cannot defend themselves. It is this image of God inspiring us to action when image-bearers go hungry, are mistreated, overlooked, abused, ignored, marginalized, or made in any way to feel inferior.
The uniqueness of humanity is unmatched in the rest of creation. What would your corner of the world look like if you treated every human you saw with this level of respect?