imago dei


You have to love getting to see the world through your kid’s eyes. There is so much to be discovered, learned, conquered, played with, challenged, enjoyed, etc. My six-year old is the ultimate when it comes to this (I think this probably goes for most six-year old kids). Everyday the litany of questions starts around the time he opens his eyes and ends about the time we force them shut. How does that work? Where does that come from? Why are you doing that? The list goes on. And recently he asked my wife a question from which she proved her motherly wisdom goes beyond this dope of a father by leaps and bounds. ‘Mommy, what does God look like?” She replied, “Well, the Bible says we are made in His image so I guess if you put all the people together in the world that might be a good idea of what God looks like.” And this answer worked for his little concrete world for the time being. But the beauty of this answer is found in the abstract rather than the concrete.

In the church we take Genesis 1:26-27 to be a true doctrine of creation, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” But I am not sure that this means we actually physically look like God. Rather I think it means that we have the capacity for God…the ability to act as a representative of God, if you will. The actual Hebrew word behind that word for image is the world selem. A selem was an image of a conquering king placed in a conquered territory to remind all the inhabitants of said territory who their true king was. If we are God’s selem then we are placed in this world to be a reflection/image and a reminder to the world around us as to who our true King is.

So maybe we don’t physically look like God altogether, but maybe by acting as his selem together we might get a better picture of what God looks like. Maybe when we all feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, proclaim freedom for captives, adopt the orphan, care for the widow, love our neighbor and enemy…maybe when we do these things all together we get a better picture of what God looks like. Maybe when we bring God’s Kingdom to earth then maybe we start to get a better understanding of what God looks like. And maybe then we all do look a little more like our Creator. May you find a way to be His image to someone today.

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