Sunday, September 28, 2008

In His Image

What does "In His Image" actually look like? Consider how this may look different in some ways before the fall, after the fall, and after Christ.

OK, Edie, this may be the most challenging question you have posed to us to date.

'Image' has so many meanings and connotations. Are we concerned about image these days? Doesn't it seem like we are and have always been concerned about our image??

Certainly, after the fall, Adam and Eve were concerned about their image. Suddenly, they were naked! Suddenly, that was a problem. Worse than that, their image of being THE couple that walked with God was tarnished. Though created "in His image," could they still be considered "in His image"?

Did David's image change over time? The great faithful brave boy who became a mighty king, then had that run-in with adultery and murder. Bit of an image crisis.

Saul, the persecutor...image-challenged! The poster boy for the "Letter of the Law," he is confronted with Almighty God and forever changed. Paul, the now-Apostle, has to deal with the disciples and followers who only know of his past image. He explains in great detail in his books and letters, arguing with Jesus' friends, even, that, now truly, he is "in His image."

The root word for 'image' comes from a word that is related to 'emulate,' which means trying to equal or excel. When we were originally made, God created us in His image to be good and sinless. We can't even fathom that image today! Adam and Eve could walk with God because they were, to a point, equals. With the Fall, that relationship was broken. Our Creator still makes us in His image, but we are no longer in a position to walk without sin.

But, God had an image-restoration plan in mind.

Look at Jesus. Jesus was born "in the likeness of men," yet He was fully God. Jesus did not come to us in the full image or emulation of God alone. In fact, Jesus, the man, "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped." (Philippians 2:6)

How else can we relate to God when we no longer are fully in His image? Only through Jesus! The One who was God, the Word made flesh and came to dwell among us, who walked in the likeness of men. Because to be fully in His image was not something that WE would grasp. But, by believing in the One God sent, we could again be restored. Our sinful image replaced by that of our humble Savior.

* * *

'Imago' is a word used by counselors in talking with folks about their upbringing, their family life--getting to the root of what why folks respond in a certain way to situations in their life. Specifically, 'imago' means a picture or likeness of a person, as of a parent, usually idealized, constructed in the unconscious and remaining there.

We joke (and definitely not joke) about how our family history has a huge impact on our lives. We wonder what issues our children will present to their shrinks when they grow up. Counselors love to get to the 'imago' because it's very revealing how we form the images that we do, not only of our parents but of ourselves.

I think that if God didn't love us as much as He did that He wouldn't have given us the 'imago' of Himself within us. Some folks refer to it as "the God-shaped hole in my heart." When God created us in the image of Himself, the Son and the Spirit, I really think He also gave us the image of Him as our Father--the One who forever wants to draw us back to Him, the One who loves us unconditionally--an image to reflect upon, to worship.

God made us and gives us life. He gives us His Word that we might emulate Christ in what we do. He gave us the Spirit to guide, direct and counsel us along the way. He created us that we might know Him and return to Him, fully in His image!


Chatty Kelly said...

Okay, a new favorite post for me. This is just so right on. And you presented root words, but didn't loose me in process (like Beth Moore does when she starts telling me the greek & hebrew of stuff). You filled me with knowledge, without overwhelming me with knowledge. And that, my friend, is balance.

Really, really enjoyed it thoroughly. And yes - imago - love how you related it to our own parents screwing us up (or not) - - and in turn how we pray not to screw up our own kids (but yes - what will they tell their shrink about us!?)

Just loved this post!

Edie said...

I'm with CK, this was just great! I knew you would rise to the question.

"the 'imago' of Himself within us" This is good. I hadn't thought of that as part of "In His Image" before but that makes so much sense as it applies to all mankind and not just believers.

That's what I've often prayed about, is for God to show me what "In His Image" looks like in non-Christians. It's not really too difficult to see "His Image" in believers (hopefully) but it's another matter with the unbeliever.

We are to honor human life because (I typed it right!!) we are created "In His Image" so it seems to me that we should be able to *see* that to a degree in unbelievers too, or at least have an understanding of what it means.

As always, I love your thoughts Sue J. I hope you are doing well.

Debra said...

Sue J,

I am so grateful that you found my blog today and left me a comment because that led me to your blog and this most amazing post!

What a blessing! So beautifully written and definitely inspired by the Holy Spirit. Ministered to me immensely.

Blessings to you this evening, sweet sister!!

Edie said...

Hi Sue! I have to tell you, you made my day posting on this. When almost no one responded with even a comment I thought "Oh no, they all think I've pushed it too far this time!" lol.

I really didn't realize this would be as challenging as it was. I'm so glad you're a deep thinker who likes a challenge. The next one won't be quite so tough. (I think.)

My ADHD Me said...

Sue, that was just a wonderful post. I really did enjoy it.
After reading the question originally, I thought and thought. Finally I just knew I didn't have a clue how to answer it. I'm glad I came here for some insight.

The Patterson 5 said...

Beautiful post. A hard thought provoking question and you covered it with Jesus. Thank you