This week at Fellowship was a little out of the ordinary. My friend Jeremiah the “guest speaker” and he did a topical sermon on Baptism (usually Fellowship goes slowly through books as a church: the Book of Acts took us something like 5 years). To me, Baptism was something that Jesus’ crazy cousin John started right before Jesus' ministry started and that it is now something that Christians just do as part of their faith. Jeremiah spoke about how Baptism fits into the “Big Story” of God’s interaction with humankind.
That “Big Story” starts with God creating the world and the first humans to live in it. The idea that stuck in my head throughout the sermon and even after I left the service comes from Genesis account of that creation:
So God created [humans] in his own image, in the image of God he created [them]; male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’
Genesis 1:27-28 ESV
The point is this: ALL humans are created in God’s own image. I often glance over that phrase and contently think it implies that God looks like a more rotund version of Gandalf without the pointy grey hat or friendly eyes.
What does it actually mean that you and I are created in the image of God?
God’s first command to humans after creating them reveals the first attribute of His imprinted image on us that I’ve been thinking about: authority. He tells them to fill the world and subdue it; He’s entrusting the world that He just finished creating to them. Growing up in Catholic School I remember this idea being called “Stewardship” but is synonymous with the more trendy term “Creation Care” used in the circles I find myself in today. God has given us the task of caring for the earth He created and His image within us helps us do that.
What Adam did in response to God’s command reveals the second attribute that I’ve been thinking about: creativity. Adam’s first endeavor into bring order to the world around him was naming all of the animals God has created. Again, this is one of those things I tend to just pass over when I’m reading the Creation Story in Genesis, like it was something that Adam crossed off his “To-Do List” before lunch on the eight day of Earth’s existence. But think about it: Adam had to come up with original names for everything from baboons and mosquitoes to grasshoppers and aardvarks. That must have taken A LOT of creative power.
Adam's naming of the animals is a beautiful image that explains what it means that humankind is created in God’s image. God has Adam create in response to His own creation: God created the animals and Adam comes up with the names. There exists a beautiful interconnection between what God is doing on the Earth and what He has humans doing on Earth. He set it up that way from the beginning. Isn’t that awesome!!!
That’s about all I got, this by no means was extensive nor exhaustive, simply a summary of the thoughts that have been rolling around my thought life because of the sermon.