I love seeing the creative hand of God. Whether it is gazing at the amazing rock formations as you travel down to the valley or standing in awe of the tall pines in the Pinals as they sway back and forth, dancing in the wind. However nothing beats seeing a newborn child. Holding a baby in your arms is a glorious reminder of the goodness of God, because this child is not simply like the other creatures that God has made; no, a child is an image bearer of God.
The creation of man and women is God’s crowning climax in His creative work. This is told first in Genesis 1:26. “Let us make man in our image after our likeness. And let them have dominion…” After God creates the universe, planets, the earth and everything in it, He created mankind in His image to be the ruler over it all. He then gives man a special mandate saying “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion…”(Genesis 1:28) Mankind is blessed with abundance and blessed with work.
Mankind is given something that no other part of creation is given; man is built with the image of God within him. When God created man, He created him out of two basic components; namely, the material and the immaterial (or spiritual). The Bible tells us that when God created Adam, he used the dust of the earth, breathing into the dust the breath of life, thus adding the spiritual matter to the physical substance. (Genesis 2:7) This is an amazing fact because no other creature is said to be made out of these two components of material and immaterial; man alone is created with these aspects. Therefore, man alone has the spirituality necessary to commune with God. We are created in this manner that we might have fellowship and a real relationship with God. We are made to worship God, made to have a connection with God. God has created us with this special capacity to know Him, which, although marred by sin, will be fully realized at the consummation of His Kingdom.
Now, because all people are created in the image of God, all people have inherent worth and dignity. All people matter because all people are made after the likeness of their Creator. This too, has been argued throughout history. Many times certain people groups have chosen to look down on other people groups because they were believed to be inferior in some way. This kind of thinking has led to horrible consequences, including slavery, murder, torture, and other unspeakable acts that have appeared upon the stage of history.
The disbelief of people being made in the image of God has also led many to consider that people have no more worth than any other animal in the world. However, to put animals on the same level of importance as people is to miss the many and varying differences between humans and animals which show that humans are made in the image of God. For instance, no animal has the need and desire to create works of art for mere pleasure. Humans, on the other hand, create paintings, poetry, and music for expression and enjoyment. God is the Creator, and so as humans are made in His image we have a need and desire to create.
Another way in which we recognize that man is made in the image of God is through man’s natural tendency to be a moral agent. By this we do not mean man is completely and fully moral in all his ways. However, mankind has, as a whole, a general moral outlook to life. Throughout history, various societies and people groups have created laws and regulations in order to govern its people. We must first recognize that this is because God has written His law on our hearts. Romans 2:15 tells us that men naturally “show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” That is to say, all people then have an innate knowledge of God through His law because they are His image bearers.
Mankind also should recognize God through creation because of the image of God placed in him. As David writes in the 19th Psalm, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” As we gaze into the vast landscapes of space, pondering the beauty of the stars and planets, we must stop in that moment and glorify God. The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans tells us that the creative order of God “clearly” reveals to mankind the existence, power, and glory of God. (Romans 1:20)
You are an image bearer of God. You are not some creature that is only here by chance. You are not some cosmic mistake. You are God’s creation; remember that next time you look into a mirror.
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ