imago Deo

michelangelo
“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.”

(Genesis 1:27, ESV)

“Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
(Genesis 2:7, ESV)

Image of God.
Dust from the ground.
Eternal stamp on perishable paper.
An imprint that somehow makes dust seem desirable.
Dust of earth becomes shards of gold, made in God’s image.

So many things beautifully made: day, night, the great waters and the great light, living creatures in the skies and on the ground. But only humanity was made with the imago Deo. Trees “pleasant to the sight” sprung up from the very same ground from which came man, but the imago Deo was reserved for the pinnacle of his creation.

Even in light of the obvious special care and blessing God has placed on us from the very beginning, it is often hard to see God’s glory through humanity as a whole. Stand under the shade of tall mountain pines and see how quickly you marvel at how beautiful they are compared to our technological accomplishments.

The trees and skies have consistently “poured forth speech” and declared God’s glory (Psalm 19). But humanity created in the image of God has become barely a dim reflection of this glory.

Our lack is clearly evident. We are short on glory. We are in need of a return to God’s original intent for us, and our only hope of that is to be reconciled to God. This divine-human reconciliation isn’t simply about cleaning up our act. Following Christ is a putting on of a “new self”. Isn’t it ironic that this new identity is a return to an “old” identity from the beginning of creation? Being human as God originally created us means we resemble “the likeness of God” (Ephesians 4:24).

No one lives a life of God-like perfection, but we are considered “in his likeness” when we are reconciled to him. It seems that when walking close to the Creator it is difficult to tell the difference between Him and me. In light of my glaring flaws and failures, this is extraordinary.

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