As we saw yesterday, Adam and, of course, Eve were literal people, not symbols or myths but actual flesh and blood beings made “in the image of God.”
Obviously, being made in the image of God is something good, something sacred, something that bestows inherent value on us. What, however, does that really mean?
Read Genesis 1:26 carefully. What statement of intention seems to be linked to the creation of man in God’s image? That is, God says that humanity is to be made in His image, and then something immediately follows as a result. What is that, and how does that help us in our understanding of the concept of “the image of God”?
Genesis 1:26 is God’s statement of intention. God creates man in His image and then commands him to do something. Being created in God’s image appears to be necessary for a certain function; in this case, to have “dominion” over the rest of what God had created. Therefore, “the image of God” points to physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual endowments needed in order for humanity to fulfill God’s purpose for it. Whatever it meant to have “dominion over” the rest of the creation, it certainly entailed respect, care, and good stewardship. Humanity was, perhaps, to interact in a dynamic way with the “lower” created order in a way that reflected how God interacted with humans themselves. Being made in the image of God also means that humans were to represent God in the world.
What a responsibility!
Read Mark 12:13-17. How do these verses help us to understand what it means to be made in God’s image?
Jesus’ practical message seems to be “ ‘Give your money to Caesar; it has his image on it, and thus it belongs to him. But give yourselves to God. You bear his image, and you belong to him.’ ”-Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), p. 515.
How is this translated into practical terms? Most likely, we also show that we bear God’s image in our love, commitment, and loyalty to Him, as well as in the way in which we treat others. Again, being made in the image of God, whatever else it entails, is something manifested by our actions.