Created in God’s Image: What It Means and Why It Matters
As a child, one of the first Bible verses I memorised was Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” I recall learning it through a song by ‘The Donut Man’, and can still vividly remember the dorky artwork on the cassette tape that accompanied the melody! At a young age, I embraced the idea that God was the Creator of this beautiful world. Growing up, I was taught that I, too, was God’s wonderful creation. However, it wasn’t until recently that I delved deeper into what it truly means to be created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27).
Have you ever thought about this incredible truth? What does it mean that you and I are created in the image of our Creator? I recently spent time looking to Scripture and reading about what this means. I hope what I discovered encourages, humbles, and challenges you, as it did me.
Reflection of God’s Attributes
We reflect God’s image in the way that we reflect some of His many attributes. Our ability to create, reason, think rationally, and experience emotions are just a few of the ways we mirror His image. The list could go on, highlighting the many ways in which we reflect God’s image. Moreover, being created in God’s image means that we reflect His image in our relationships with Him and with others. We are created to live in interdependent relationships that reflect our Triune God.
Responsibility to Steward Creation
Genesis 1:26 reveals that, as bearers of God’s image, we have the responsibility to rule over creation. This stewardship entails caring for the earth and its resources, recognising that they have been entrusted to us by our Creator. We are called to care for the world around us, preserving its beauty and sustaining its abundant life.
Inherent Value and Purpose
Psalm 8:4-6 emphasises God’s exultation of mankind, acknowledging our significance in His eyes: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour.” Being created in God’s image means that each and every one of us has inherent value, dignity, and purpose. But what is that purpose? I think sixteenth century Augustine captured it beautifully in these words, “Thou hast made us for Thee, and our heart is unquiet till it finds rest in Thee.” Scripture shows us that our souls yearn for God (Psalm 84:2, Psalm 119:81, Isaiah 26:9). Jesus Himself proclaimed that He is the bread of life, the source of eternal satisfaction for all who come to Him (John 6:35). Our true and lasting fulfillment is found solely in the one who created us.
Created for His Glory
Scripture consistently affirms that we have been created in God’s image for His glory. Colossians 1:16 declares, “All things were created by him and for him…” The apostle Paul exclaims that everything is from God and for God, and to Him belongs the glory forever (Romans 11:36). Jesus exhorts us in Matthew 5 to let our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify God (v.16). In Ephesians, we are reminded that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good deeds (Ephesians 2:10). Whether we eat or drink or anything we do, we should be doing for the glory of God (Colossians 3:23-24). Psalms also reminds us that God is glorified when in us when our thoughts are set on His ways and His Word (Psalm 1, Psalm 119:11).
Our Imperfect Reflection
Of course, we know that in this fallen world we don’t reflect God’s image perfectly. Jesus alone was the perfect image of God. As followers of Christ, we are called to reflect Jesus’ example. Praise God that we who are in Christ are being renewed in knowledge after the image of our Creator (Colossians 3:10). Just as a sculptor chips away to reveal a masterpiece, our transformation to become more like Jesus is a deliberate process. Romans 12:2 encourages us to, “…not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
As I’ve looked into this topic I have been incredibly encouraged, humbled and also challenged in what it means that we are made in God’s image. This profound truth reminds us that we all have inherent worth, value, and dignity. It causes us to see that God has kindly blessed us with our capacity to think, reason, and create. It highlights to us the importance of meaningful relationships with God and others. It reminds us of our responsibility to steward God’s creation with wisdom and care. Ultimately, being created in God’s image signifies that true and lasting satisfaction can only be found in the One who formed us. As we find our satisfaction in Him and seek to follow Jesus’ example, we bring glory that is due to God.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things, to him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36)
For His glory,