• Rev Jonathan Cole, Assistant Priest

Made in God's image

How do you picture God? What is God like? We’re told in Genesis 1.26 that humanity is made in the image of God. Not surprisingly, if we get the image of God wrong, then we get God’s character wrong and we also get people wrong.

If our predominant paradigm is that God is omnipotent, then God is power. It’s about using power to rule. So humanity being made in the image of God is about the accumulation of power to rule. Humanity’s main aim therefore would be getting power.

If our predominant paradigm is that God is omniscient, then God is knowledge. So humanity’s chief goal, therefore, would be the pursuit and discovery of knowledge. What makes people God’s image bearers is their capacity for rational thought.

But where does this leave the weak? Or those who are unable to think clearly? Are they not also made in the image of God?

As God’s people, it is important that we correctly understand who God is and what he is like. From there we can begin to see and understand what it means to be image bearers and live the lives that God created us for.

Genesis 1.26-27 tells us that God is communal; that God is triune, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God says, ‘let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’ God then creates humans, male and female.

The Triune God dwells in perfect, other person-centred loving relationships. God creates a man and a woman, both equally made in the image of God, to be in other person-centred loving relationships. God makes them to love God and to love one another.

If we understand that God is love (1 John 4.8), then our lives are shaped by that love; love for God and our love for our neighbours.

We exercise the power that God has given us in love. We exercise our rule over creation in love. We exercise our pursuit of knowledge in love.

Love sets the boundaries for the use of our gifts and abilities. In other words, what we do and say is to benefit others, to help foster the kingdom of God, here and now.

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