“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness…God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26a, 27
In the course of two verses, the writer of Genesis conveys four different times that humankind was made in the image or likeness of God, emphasizing the importance of this concept. Humanity was made to reflect its Creator!
When I was a child I used to hear these verses and wonder what physical part of my body was like God. Do I have His eyes? His chin shape? His feet? To hear the words “made in his image” constantly made me wonder what part of me might look like him. My mind could only comprehend “image” in the form of how I might draw a portrait or take a picture of someone. As I have grown, I have come to know that when God created us at the foundation of the world He was not seeking to make us look like Him in a physical sense, but rather in a spiritual sense. His desire was not to give us His nose, but rather give us His heart. It is clear by pure repetition that the author wanted to make sure readers did not miss this point. Humanity, you and I, were created to have a certain heart, certain desires, and certain longings in life. The issue is not that we were made this way, the issue is that the enemy has corrupted this message and worked hard to teach us something vastly different.
Moments after we read about the intention of the Creator for humanity to reflect Him, we learn of how things went drastically wrong. As a product of the fall, humanity is now at war with the idea that we are meant to reflect our creator. We are now convinced that to be all that we are meant to be entails selfish gain for me, myself, and I. The only way to my true self is to listen to my emotions, do what’s best for me, and climb my way to whatever I feel is right. Ironically, the effort to become our “true selves” often leads us into a downward spiral. We become everything to all people or nothing to no one. We become immersed in a community, yet all alone, or at the top of the corrupt ladder and left wondering why we feel so empty. We start to lose ourselves in our careers or our families or our hobbies and cannot tell who we actually are. This is because we were never meant to live in a way that reflects our own desires, but rather the desires of our Creator.
Let me propose that becoming all we were meant to be does not mean tapping into some deeper reality of ourselves, but it means getting to know our Creator. The trick is we often work to create some formula in our Christian walk. We say, “Well, I need X (success, contentment, a happy family), so let me do Y (Church and moral living) + Z (volunteering and donating money) and hope that the odds play out in my favor.” We wander through our Christian walk hoping for the best because we are giving our best, and then we are drastically confused when our kid still has cancer, or our family still hates one another. Our Christian walk is not about the good life, but about becoming who we were created to be — a reflection of the Creator. To become that, we do not need a formula or a list of do’s and don’ts. Instead, we need to get to know our Creator. We cannot become like someone we do not know. If I do not know my Creator’s heart through the reading of His Word and the involvement in His Kingdom, then I am forever going to be hopelessly striving to be something I have never seen.
Here at Compass Rose, we reflect on this idea that as human beings we are created uniquely. This is the beauty of creation, that we are all made in His image, yet because He is so vast and beyond our comprehension, I could not possibly reflect all of Him, but rather I need my neighbor and their uniqueness to help me get to know my God more. So to be human is to be created in the image of God, and in my Christian walk, I must work at reflecting that image by getting to know Him and getting to know His people. Together, we can come to reflect Him as we were meant to and show Him to the world around us. That is Kingdom work.
By LilyAnn Matchett, CRA Student Chaplain