Continued from Creation: Images of His Glory
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 in Created in God’s Image, “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.”
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.”
As God’s image-bearers, we are also to exercise dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26, 28). God created human beings to serve as his vice-regents, reigning as his representatives and stewards over the created world. God placed the first man in the Garden of Eden “to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). As God’s delegated representatives on earth, human beings are intended to reign over the world—tending and maintaining it—not in exploitation, but in wise, responsible stewardship. Exercising this stewardship, human beings can reflect to the world the radiance of God’s infinite worth and glory.
Excerpted from Christ Formed in You by Brian G. Hedges