I remember how proud and excited I was the day I brought my oldest son, Jon, home from the hospital. Everything had changed. I drove more carefully, I was protective of my baby and Mary Ann, a new sense of responsibility enveloped me.
As he began to grow and develop I started to recognize some of me in Him and it warmed my heart. Jon is a combination of Mary Ann and me, in many ways he is our image even though he is a unique individual in his own right
Any mother knows the awesome miracle of a child that has come from her womb. Here is “flesh from my flesh.” The bond between mother and child is a deep and profound one.
There is a mystery in creation that will remain a mystery until we see God face to face. When He chose to create men and women, why did He choose to create them after His own image? Here is God, the one who has no beginning and no end, who is three persons in one, living in perfect unity and fellowship (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit), who is divine, holy (morally pure), transcendent (above all things), sovereign (has all power), and yet he chooses to make men and women in His image! None of the rest of creation was made in His image – just men and women.
In making us in His image, God gave to us a dignity, an importantance, a kinship with Him that is unique and unparalleled. Just as Jon has “me” in Him, God planted something of “Him” in us that made us unique, important, precious to Him.
We are not random creatures here by fate to be buffeted by the capricious winds of history. We are men and women, precious to God, known by God, and made in His very image.
What does it mean that we were made in His image?
First it meant that we could have intimate relationship and fellowship with the eternal God of the universe and more astonishingly He desired (and still does) that relationship. Just as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have fellowship with each other, we can have fellowship with one another and with Him.
Second, we were created with a moral dimension unlike the rest of creation. We were created with the ability to choose holy and moral actions over immoral and evil actions. That is why, even after the fall, we sense guilt and shame when we do something we know to be wrong. We have a built in moral compass, affected by the fall but whose residue remains.
Third, we have a desire to connect with God. You see that desire wherever you travel in the world whether it is Buddhists trying to achieve a higher level of consciousness, Hindu’s seeking to please or appease one of the forty million plus Gods of Hinduism, some capricious and some good, the world is Islam seeking to achieve paradise, animists trying to appease the spirits in the rocks, hills and trees or even new age varieties where some kind of connection with the divine and eternal is the goal.
That desire to connect is nothing other than the residue of a perfect creation, now marred by sin but where the dim perfection of the original creation still echoes down through humanity in a yearning for relationship with the transcendent.
All of this can be summed up by a certain majesty and glory that God created when he created men and women. Which is why the fall and the destruction brought by sin is so sad. The thief came to destroy all that God created and we are infected and affected by sin and the fall.
What we cannot lose sight of is the amazing dignity that God created in men and women in his original creation and his still undying love for his creation that would motivate him never to abandon even sinful creatures.
There is nothing God will not do to win his creatures back – those made in his image – including the death of His own son on the cross to pay our penalty and restore our relationship.
That is what we mean to Him. That is why there is no sin He will not willingly forgive, no guilt He will not willingly remove, no life he will not gladly redeem. He wants us back. We were meant for Him and He love you and me with an undying, amazing and eternal love.
If you are a parent you know something about that kind of love. What would you not do for your son or daughter, made in your image? Even when they go their own way, do their own thing, inflict pain on parents, we want them back, we love them dearly – they are ours.
We are God’s and he loves us with that same parental, undying love, even when we stray and cause His heart pain. Why does God love us? Why will God intervene on our behalf? Why does He welcome even prodigals back and welcome them warmly? He made us for fellowship with Himself. He made us in His image. He loves us with an undying love.