TO BE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD means we are designed to display God’s nature, character, and glory. As a mirror is made for reflection, so God created us to be mirrors of his character, instruments for reflecting his glory.
Created in God’s image, we are invested with special dignity and entrusted with particular duties. Our distinct worth as human beings springs from being God’s image-bearers, the unique reflectors of his character on earth. The rest of creation declares God’s glory, speaking of it vividly in a great variety of ways (Ps. 19:1). But we reflect it, actually making it, in small part, visible and tangible.
One of the supreme ways we reflect God’s glory is by relating to other human beings in God-honoring ways. We ascribe glory to God’s name by reflecting his character to others. As Anthony Hoekema writes, “We should not think of the image of God only as a noun but also as a verb: we are to image God by the way we live, and the heart of the image of God is love for God and for others.”
To be God’s image-bearers means we are created for relationships. This is implied in Genesis 1:26–27: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Why does the text connect being created in God’s image with being created male and female? Not because God himself is both masculine and feminine— he is unequivocally masculine. It is because God himself is a community—a trinity of persons, existing in eternal self-giving love. In creating man and woman together, he created a community. God created man to image his glory, but his glory could not be adequately displayed by an individual living in isolation from others. God himself says in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that man should be alone.” As John Ortberg writes,
Community is rooted in the being of God …. The Trinity exists as a kind of eternal dance of joyful love among Father, Son, and Spirit …. God created human beings because he was so in love with community that he wanted a world full of people to share it with. He wanted to invite them all to the dance. And life within the Trinity was to be the pattern for our lives.
At the core of our nature as God’s image-bearers, we are relational beings. This involves a threefold relationship: “between man and God, between man and his fellowmen, and between man and nature.”
- What is at the heart of imaging God?
- Have you ever thought about relationships in light of the Trinity?
- Are there any relationships in your life that need special attention today?
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Eternal Three-in-One God, Thank you for creating me in your image and giving me the capacity to love. You are love and I will never truly know love until I truly know you. I want to know you more. Help me today to live in the light of your love. And fill my heart with your love, that I might love others. Amen.
From To Be Like Jesus: 40 Meditations for Your Journey Toward Christlikeness by Brian G. Hedges