Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Image of God

"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, NIV).

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Whatever else it means, it must mean that people are special to God. He cares about plants, animals, and the environment. In fact, he has charged humanity with taking care of them, managing them, and "ruling" over them. However, they were not created in his image. Men, women, boys, and girls have a special place in God's heart because they bear his image.

The image of God has been believed to have been many things over the years: intelligence, the ability to communicate, creativity, and many other attributes. However, can the image of God be equated with abilities? While some animals may have a higher IQ than a severely mentally disabled child or a comatose man, the person would still bear the image of God lacking in animals. Intelligent men have no more of the image of God than simple men. The deaf and mute Helen Keller bore the image of God as much as the great communicator Ronald Reagan. An artist and a musician have the same image of God as a paralyzed woman in a hospice.

God's image must be linked to a spiritual component within us.

Since people have been created in the image of God, anyone who respects God must respect those who bear his image. This is especially important to remember when interacting with people who differ from me in language, culture, temperment, religion, and choice of sins. We may be different, but I must remember our common Creator.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Psalm 103

I am grateful that God has revealed his identity. Through his creation, we would have known that some kind of deity existed, but what kind? We would have been clueless.

The Bible points to a God "who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things." He "works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed." He is "compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love."

God has a character worth worshiping. When I notice his qualities in people, I admire those people. When I consider where those qualities originate, I worship.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In the Beginning

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The Bible starts with a profound statement, but how else could it begin? If anything exists, something (or someone) must have always existed. In the natural world, something does not come from nothing. The material universe does not appear to be eternal. It seems to be expanding from some point of origin, and it seems to be subject to decay (which indicates an end to everything at some point in the future). For the natural universe to exist at all appears to call for a supernatural origin. This fits well with the first verse of the Bible.

So where did God come from? How long has he existed? How could I possibly understand any answer to those questions? Those are natural questions with supernatural answers. Unless God created himself (and that would be the ultimate paradox), he must have always existed. If so, the concept of time is nearly irrelevant to God. I could ask God, "What were you doing 10 trillion years ago? 100 trillion years ago? 10 billion trillion years ago?" But I could never come to a time when he would not have existed.

Furthermore, when I have been with God 10 billion trillion years, I will still not be close to his age. He will continue to be infinately older than I am.

In so many ways, Genesis 1:1 is humbling to me. I see God as so far above me that words cannot be found to describe the expanse. As the song states, "I stand to praise you, but I fall to my knees."