Genesis 1:26-27. 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
All of life begins with God and with his love. But what does it mean to be alive? Were we made by God simply to be loved by God? The answer the Bible gives is actually way better. Better than being loved? Yes.
To be alive is to image God. The image of God or Imago Dei has been stamped into every human being. Every person bears God’s image and likeness. Nothing else in creation can make this same claim. Only us. This means the purpose and meaning of all of every human life is for it to image God. To be his lookalike. But how? Let’s break it down:
Let US – Our singular God is also a plural. The Trinity. A loving community of three that exists as the one God.
our image – to image God is to represent him. Like an idol represents a deity, or a servant represents a master, or a son represents his father and family, we were created to represent God and his great love to the rest of creation.
our likeness – the likeness of God is the revealing of God. We were created to reveal God and his love to the world. In our spiritual but also physical being, we make the invisible God visible.
You see being made in God’s image and likeness is even better than simply being loved. It is the ability to love in return. Life is meant to be a cycle of being loved and loving in return. God pours love and glory out onto us and we pour it right back toward him and his creation. In this way we participate with God’s life. You may have noticed verse 27 ends with male and female. The communal God created a community that could represent and reflect his other-centered love toward one another. That’s life!
But the really big idea behind the phrase “image of God” is son-ship. A son or daughter is born in the image of their father and mother. The Bible says that Jesus is the eternal and uncreated Son of God and therefore he is the eternal image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4. …Christ, who is the image of God.
Colossians 1:15. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Jesus is the ultimate image bearer of God. Why? Because he IS God and yet, as the Son of God, he is FROM God at the same time. Like every son images their Father, so too Jesus, the only begotten Son of God images his Abba. He always has and he always will. You and I were created to image THE IMAGE, Jesus. In his incarnation, Jesus Christ took on flesh and the invisible image of God became the visible image of God. In his humanity, Jesus displayed the perfect image and likeness of the Trinity. And now, in Christ, the divine image is restored in us by his indwelling life. This is our destiny. To be like Jesus is humanity’s created goodness restored.
1 Corinthians 15:49. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus].
“To live is Christ” restores the image and likeness of God to humanity as we become like Jesus. But this restored image of Christ in us is a process. A process of learning to live from his life. A process of learning to receive and then share the love of God and in so doing to image him to the world. A process that one day will be complete when we finally see Jesus face to face.
How do you see your life? What would you say is your purpose? What gives your life meaning? Is it image bearing? Is it God’s cycle of receiving and giving love?
You in Christ
Meditate today on how being in Christ restores your purpose as the image and likeness of God?
Christ in you
How can you make the life of Christ, the love of the invisible God, visible today?
Playlist: Image of God
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