Genesis 1: 24-31
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
What does it mean for humankind to be “made in God’s image”? Most of us mainstreamers are probably more comfortable, whether we choose to admit it or not, with the idea of ourselves as that sinful creature who simply can’t do any better because our brother and sister Adam and Eve screwed it all up for the rest of us. I mean, that’s easier, right? It sort of gives us something toward which we can strive. It means that if we’re really, really good and do it all right, then God will somehow get us out of this mess that we as humanity have gotten ourselves into.
But, then, how does being “made in God’s image” reconcile with that? Keep in mind that an image is not the actual thing; it’s not necessarily even an ideal, unmistakable replica. An image is a reflection, something that makes one think of the real thing, something that makes one feel as if the real thing is close. Without a doubt, we are not God. Not even on our best days. Not even on Mother Teresa’s best days. But we are made in God’s image. We are made to reflect God to the world around us. No longer can we dismiss ourselves as hopeless, sinful creatures. There’s too much work to do! What we need to do instead is get out the Windex!
You are God’s image. That does not mean that you are perfect; it doesn’t even mean that you don’t sin or screw up, intentionally or unintentionally. It just means that there’s more riding on it than God simply pulling you out of the game at the end. After all, what sort of God are you reflecting right now?
Go and be God’s image in the world!
Grace and Peace,