Just recently my family and I got a new puppy. Almost instantly our 3 year old, Madison, became great friends with the dog. It is fun watching the two of them interact with each other. Just last night I was amazed that Madison in a simple way understood one of the greatest truths of Scripture revolving around “Imago Dei”, the image of God. Madison spoke to me how our dog is different than us and is only a dog.
In the beginning pages of the Scriptures the Bible tells us that mankind is different than all of creation because we are created in the image of God. There is debate over what that image exactly is, whether it involves the ability to think and reason or whether it is tied to having a soul–or a combination–but the important thing is we are special. Because of this image as Christians we fight for the rights of the unborn, and we value all human beings regardless of color, physical and mental capabilities, and age. The language of image is a theme that is also carried throughout the Bible and is a facinating study that I encourage you to do sometime.
After the fall, although mankind is still an image barrier, the image of God has been distorted. After the distortion image changes from something that was glorious to something that representes the fall of mankind. A variety of different images began to receive worship rather than God. Because of this false image worship, God put a prohibition on it which is found in the Ten Commandments (Exo 20). Like all of the other laws God gave to his people they did not follow this law, and throughout the Old Testament we read how God’s people continue to worship false images rather than the one true God.
However, as we get to the New Testament we learn about a different image, the True image–Jesus Christ (Col 1). This true and perfect image has come to restore what was lost at the fall because of Adam’s sin. The Bible is clear that those who put their trust in the finished work of Jesus are being conformed to the image of Christ, which is one of the more amazing truths of the gospel.
As you go about your day spend time marveling in the fact that God would love us so much that he would create us in his image, and despite our sin and shame that distorted this image, he sent his Son to fix what we have broken. Also, as you think about this image remember those people that you might not like are still created in the image of God, thus making them of great value. Finally, make it the joy of your heart to tell others that because of Jesus this broken world that we live in will some day be restored for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus!
The image of God is so obvious that even a 3 year old knows enough to see that mankind is different from the rest of creation, and the image of God is so profound and glorious that the True Image of God is our great hope. Would you put your faith in Jesus today making him the joy of your life?
To God be the Glory!!
-If you would like to read more about the image of God I would recommend to you the book “Created in God’s Image” by Anthony Hoekema. This is one of the best books I read in seminary.