The Created in the Image of the Creator

Chapter 4 from The Preposterous God, very short

Chapter Two

The Created in the Image of the Creator

It is no wonder we are tempted to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. We are created in the very image of God. Image. What is this? When we look in a mirror, we certainly don’t see God, who does not look like we do; this is easily concluded.

What, then, does “created in the image of God” mean? We see from the biblical account that it took both the male and the female to express something of the nature of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

But “image” has much more to it than mere physical attributes.

We note that none of the animals God created, as depicted in Genesis chapter two, had a personal relationship with their Creator. That ability or status was reserved for the humans, Adam and Eve. Their relationship with God was personal to the extent that God actually communicated directly with this first couple. We see this in Genesis 3:8-13 after they disobeyed His one commandment:

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Image therefore takes on the idea of the capacity to have fellowship with, to know and be known by, and to communicate with, the Creator. This idea may seem strange, even preposterous to us, yet it is at the heart of the ultimate intention of the Creator. There is a lot more to the story. Genesis, after all, means beginning.

God Incarnate

Is the garden appearance a case of God becoming incarnate—physically present? Christian thinkers have been divided on this issue for the last two thousand years. The passage quoted in Genesis 3 above seems to indicate that an actual, physical Being was present in the Garden (Paradise) and literally spoke with Adam and Eve.

While the writer of the passage might have taken literary license and conveyed a most complex event into a manner more easily understood, there are also other possibilities, yet the minimum clear statement is that we find the Creator in real and actual conversation with a man and a woman. The Creator never spoke to any of the animals we find listed in Genesis chapter two, verses 18 through 23. But with Adam and Eve He did.

A Lonely Creator?

It has been suggested that the Creator was lonely, which prompted Him to create humans in order to have someone with whom to communicate and have a relationship. Neither the living organisms nor the angels satisfied Him, so fellowship would depend upon a Creature somewhat like Himself, a creature made in His image. Perhaps fellowship with human beings was the ultimate intention of the Creator. Perhaps He put that same desire for fellowship with Him inside of each human being.

Image—we humans are made in the image of the Creator. Do you ever have a sense of this? Have you read the writings of poets, heard the music of great composers, seen the paintings and sculpture of artists, or watched the films of talented directors, and seen the deep longings that abide in the spirit of men and women? Have you found in those creations the sound of a cry to know the Creator of all? The Creator is not lonely, as He is complete in His Being. However, we humans have a deep inner loneliness that can only be assuaged by a relationship with Him.

A Different Reason

We may never know why we are created in His image, and we may not really need to know. But just maybe the answer is that He loves us.

I can hear it now—the retort that the Creator can’t possibly love His creation. After all, look at the world and see the suffering throughout history. We are born and we die, and in between is turmoil and strife, with our best hope being a painless death. If love is the reason, then why the evil loosed upon us?

The Creator’s love is preposterous to us, given what we see in the world.

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