Have you ever had one of those moments when you said or did something and somebody stopped and said “that’s so your Dad!/Mom”! Maybe it was you who realized that something you said or did reminded you of your parents, or another influence in your life. Human behaviour often mimics those around us, or those that have gone before, and in the case of humans, the Bible tells us that we were created in the image of God. (Gen 1:26,9:6). Additionally, just as Adam fathered Seth “after his own image” (Gen 5:3), Those who follow Christ are being “conformed to the image of [God’s] son.” (Rom8:29).
As image bearers, there are a couple of things to note:
- Knowing God’s character helps us to understand people.
- Knowing people provides illustrations of God’s Character.
- Knowing people does not equate to knowing God.
To clarify these points, consider the trait of creativity. God created the universe and everything in it (Gen 1:1). Similar to God’s creative traits, people have all sorts of creativity – music, visual arts, language, fashion and child-bearing. Music in itself will not tell us more about God’s character, but there are similarities to human creativity and God’s creation. More importantly, it tells us what’s different between God and his creation.
God’s ability to create requires nothing but himself; Human creativity innately comes from within the creation itself.
Genesis 1:1 describes the beginning as being “without form and void” yet from that state came everything. Beginning with nothing is uniquely God’s prerogative; humans, on the other hand, need a starting point; a canvas and paint for example. In physics terms, this is called the Law of Conservation of Energy; that it cannot be created or destroyed but changes from one state to another.
God made everything with a purpose. “let us make man in our image, after our likeness” He said in Gen 1:26.
As created beings, made in the image of the creator, does it not then make sense that the origin of the best attributes of humankind are found in their creator? But there are limitations to an image: A photograph is unable to convey the full presence of the individual it represents; a statue may physically show the appearance of a person but cannot convey their personality and character. Even with the incredible advances of technology, an image is never the same as the original, but God’s plan is to see his creation “conformed” to the image of his son (Rom 8:29).
What attributes of God are you pursuing in your life? Perhaps it’s to create, or to be kind, loving, slow-to-anger? God’s character serves as the guide on the attributes worth adopting.