Genesis 1:26-27 – “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1 says humanity has been created in God’s image. The implications of the imago dei (image of God in Latin) within us are beyond what we can even fathom. The repetition found in Genesis 1:26-27 show that this wasn’t some passing comment God slipped in through Moses when the creation of the world was recorded in Genesis 1. God shows that we are not just created in God’s image, but we are created “after our (God’s) likeness.” But then he repeated this concept two more times in v. 27 when it said God created man “in his own image, in the image of God he created him.” When we today want to make a significant point while we are talking, we raise our voice. When the writers of the Old Testament wanted to make a significant point, they repeated themselves. Three-fold repetition should make us stop dead in our tracks. We are created in the image of God.
We were created to image forth to the world who God is and what God is like. We were created like God in more ways than we will ever fully understand. We were created as more superior than the rest of creation. We were crafted with the masterful hands of God as holy and perfect while being in relationship with God. Within the Trinity there is perfect fellowship, therefore instilling within each of us a need for relationship with God and with others.
As the story tells us, sin came into the world through Adam and Eve and marred the image of God within us. It is not destroyed, but it is broken. The imago dei is this God-shaped vacuum that Pascal says we all have that drives us to long to know our Creator.
Since God’s desire was for humanity to image forth who God is and what God is like, this is one of God’s primary desires for us as Christians. Romans 8:28 says we were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. One of salvation’s primary purposes for us is that the image of God in us be restored to do what we were created to do and be: be like Christ so the world would know Christ. Paul said in Ephesians 2:4-7 that God intervened while we were dead in our sin to raise us with Christ, so that the world would know the incomparable riches of God’s grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Once again, we are saved to show the world who God is and what God is like. Salvation restores the image of God in us.
The implications of this are enormous. As we are conformed to the image of Christ, how are we showing the world who God is? How are our neighbors coming to know Christ by getting to know us? How are our employees that we manage learning the servant leadership of Jesus by the way we lead our employees? How are our kids being given a good representation of Jesus by how we love them? How is the culture around us experiencing both the holiness and love of God in the way we interact in the world? How is the church pursuing racial unity in the world so as to show the world that God is the unifying God who will draw men and women from every race and every ethnicity? While the image of God within us was marred, Christ came not just to reconcile us to God, but also to bring healing to the imago dei within us as well.