Written by R.A. Goodnight
(All verses from ESV unless otherwise noted.)
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image’ . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”Genesis 1:26, 27
Found in the opening statements of The Bible, these two verses have serious significance. It explains our origins and the origins of everything around us. It gives us clarity into God’s view of human sexuality when confusion seems to abound (I am not just referring to the “male and female” part of the verse). And, when these verses are understood in a more complete manner, it gives us insight into how we can have a satisfying and meaningful life.
I believe that when considering the creation account, many only think of the natural image that God bestowed upon us. This is how they would define “made in the image of God,” that like God, we have head, shoulders, knees and toes. Physiologically and emotionally we are like God, as similar as flesh can be to spirit. And this is true, we were made in the natural image of God. But there is so much more truth in these verses than only this.
Along with the natural image, we were also made in His moral image. What does this mean? In the beginning, prior to the corruption of sin, God gave us the ability to see choices and decisions as He did—to know the difference between right and wrong. It was as if His standard of morality was part of our DNA, and through that, He gave us the ability to choose good and to do good because we were good. (Genesis 1:31) That was until the fall. This ties in closely with the third way that we are in the image of God.
God chose to make us in His political image and to use humans to be the means by which His current creation as well as future creation would receive His blessings.
God also created us in His political image. No, we are not referring to Democrat vs. Republican or any other politicized human definition. What we are referring to would be the original reasons that God brought us into existence or, simply put, our original purpose. Further, we are referring to the abilities He gave us to fulfill that purpose (such as His moral image, to tie the two points together). Let’s unpack what it means to be made in His political image some more.
The first truth that I find of interest is that God Himself chose life (our theme for 2020). Originally, there was nothing—we were nothing. But God chose to bring forth life from nothingness. What does God do next, or more importantly, what does He NOT do next? Once His creative works were done, God could have chosen to be the primary means by which His creation would be taken care of and blessed. What do I mean? He could have named the animals Himself. He could have cultivated the Earth beyond Eden Himself. He could have chosen to directly create all future generations of mankind Himself. But that is not what He did.
To the contrary, God chose to make us in His political image and to use humans to be the means by which His current creation as well as future creation would receive His blessings. The scriptures state that He blessed us, humans, and then commissioned us with a purpose. We are His representatives on Earth, the stewards of His creations. We were chosen to take care of the animal kingdom. We were chosen to take care of the Earth itself. We were chosen to be the method by which mankind would continue to grow, to bring into existence future generations of life and introduce them to God. The same as a political entity today would represent the government who sent him/her, we are God’s ambassadors. We are equipped to fulfill our original purpose with His natural image, His moral image and His political image. (Genesis 1:28-31; 2:5, 15, 19-20) Yes, God chose to bless and protect life through life—through me and you. And His purpose for us has not changed. (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17) That truth resonates through time and helps us understand part of our purpose. The question becomes, how can we live up to the image in which we were made? How can we fulfill our original purpose, as we represent God, and choose life as He does?
The first and foremost way is that we must choose the truth even when it is difficult. Why did I choose truth as the first way? Because the lie (the opposite of truth) was the first weapon used against life. Not a rock, not a sword, not a gun—a lie. (Genesis 3:4, 5) If we struggle to even side with truth, any other steps we attempt to take will be difficult. Remember what we discussed regarding being made in God’s moral image. It is true that we are currently under the influence of sin and have lost that perfect moral image. But, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, God has restored to all humans (not just those who follow Him) a measure of the moral image. (Romans 2:14, 15) He has given us, even in this life, what we need to side with truth and choose life.
We are equipped to fulfill our original purpose with His natural image, His moral image and His political image.
Beyond that, there are many practical ways that we can choose life. There are several good groups right here in Tulsa doing some great work to be ambassadors of God. Any of these groups would welcome help. In this edition of the magazine are several articles regarding The Demand Project. This is a group of folks, that in some of the rawest ways possible, are reflecting the image of God and choosing to protect life. If there is any cause that we could get behind, the combating of human trafficking should be an easy one. This group could use your training, your brain, your time or your financial support. (www.thedemandproject.org)
Another group in Tulsa is Restore Hope. The principle ways Restore Hope supports life is: hunger reduction, homelessness prevention and emotional and spiritual healing. These are practical ways that our community is being impacted for good. Beyond financial support and food donations, this group is looking for fellow ambassadors of God to help with receptionist work, food pantry help, or even prayer volunteers. Check out their website for other ways that you can help (www.restorehope.org)
In conclusion, Paul reminds us, “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:9) Do you see yourself and a worker alongside God? You should, but you should also see this as a great privilege to be able to work alongside The Creator of life itself, to be a means to bestow His blessings upon others. Let’s take our original commission seriously. As we move through 2020, I challenge each of you to pick one of the great charitable organizations in Tulsa and get involved. For God . . . for Christ . . . and for life!