Read: Genesis 1:26-27
“26 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.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
The great American author and humorist, Mark Twain once said, “In the beginning God created man in His own image. And ever since, man has been returning the favor.” I’m sorry to say that Mark Twain is absolutely right. We see that often, especially among those who claim to speak for God.
What does it mean to have been created in the image and likeness of God? And, do we still (even after “the fall”) bear the Image of God, the “Imago Dei”? Those questions have been widely debated throughout history, and honestly, people have drawn different conclusions. I want to focus on one wide-scale misunderstanding: it is that God just created “man” in the image and likeness of God, and not woman too. Both male and female are affirmed, scripturally, to have been created in the image and likeness of God. That’s what v. 27 affirms, and I am thankful.
Being made in the image and likeness of God isn’t about our bodies. God doesn’t have a physical body, and several verses point to the invisible nature of God. Jesus says, “God is Spirit” (John 4:24), and the Old Testament prophets take pleasure in denouncing the physicality of the idols of the pagans.
Some might say it’s about the essence of gender, and not physicality, but such assertions about the exclusive “maleness” of God have big problems as we will see in subsequent WISH posts (so hang in there). Scripture affirms that God created both male and female in the image and likeness of God; we should too. That’s the big point in this week’s WISH post.
So, what is it about human beings, both male and female, that are clues to the meaning of human beings being made in the image and likeness of God? That is the question I will attempt to address in next week’s WISH post.
Shalom, Pastor Rob Nystrom