Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An Important Aspect of the Image (Genesis 1:26, 27)

So these verses have spawned a LOT of debate over minutia with little to no resolution. Why does God say “let us make?” Are image and likeness two things, or one? What does it mean to be made in God’s image? OK, that last one isn’t exactly minutia. Feel free to consult any other commentary for non-answers to these questions. The good ones will list all of the various interpretive ideas pointing out why none of them really fit well here. At best a lot of good truths have been suggested, but even though they ring true, they fall short of a definitive answer.

Yes. Humanity shares a lot in common with the creator. We are rational. We are creative. We have responsibility and stewardship. We are spiritual beings. But while all of those ring true, they don’t feel complete, especially in the context of these verses. Dominion certainly seems to have something to do with this idea in verse 26. Many have suggested that we are God’s representatives, His symbol of authority in creation. But that is more an idea about what we DO in God’s image, not who we ARE.

To add my thoughts into the mix, I resonate most with something that others have hinted at. (Barth and Benedict XVI among others. Again an incomplete solution for sure.) To me the image of God must include the idea of relationship. It is Trinitarian. That idea is perhaps the strongest match for this passage. It fits from the “us” aspect of God’s statement to the way “male and female” takes the place of mankind in the triad of verse 27.

I like the idea that relationship is the climax of creation. That relationship between mankind and between humanity and God is perhaps the goal of creation. That the two genders are a vital aspect of humanity. That man without woman is incomplete and vice-versa.

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