“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.” (Genesis 1:26-27 CSB)
After God finished creating “the heavens and the earth,” after He made the fish in the ocean and the animals that flew above the earth and the animals that scurried on the earth, even after He had made the worms in the ground and the bugs and the butterflies, God took the time to make…us.
As beautiful and wondrous as all these other creations were- and are- He made us a little different. He made us in His image.
Why? Why did God set us apart from all the other marvelous creations?
For me, one clue to this answer is found in the beginning of the verse.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.’” Us? Our? Who is God referring to?
How much better can we relate to God when we know that Jesus, Who came to earth fully God and fully man, would suffer betrayal, mocking, pain, insult, and even death! In order for us to have a relationship with Christ, God allows us to see ourselves the humanity of Jesus. It helps me to know that the “fully man” aspect of Jesus endured struggles and experiences that I have faced.
In verse 7 of chapter 2, God did something for mankind that He didn’t do (or at least Scripture doesn’t tell us if He did) for any of the animals. God breathed His breath into man’s nostrils. God Himself filled Adam’s lungs with air, and so He fills ours as well. He cares enough to fill our lungs with His breath.
My first son was born prematurely. As I sat by his incubator watching him struggle to breathe, I remember praying each breath over him. I called on God to continue to keep his lungs working and filling with air. God alone provides the very air we need to survive, and sometimes He ordains machinery to provide that essential need as well. The tenderness of God to come so near as to breath life into Adam’s lungs shows me how very valued I am to Him!
We were made in His image so we can relate to Jesus. We were made in His image so we have His breath in our lungs. And I believe we were made in His image so our good works and spiritual fruit can reflect Him.
“For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 CSB)
As we who are “in Christ” (those who believe in Jesus as our Savior) go about our daily tasks, we need to be mindful that these “tasks” can be the very good works that God prepared in advance for us. These are the opportunities we have to reflect the goodness and glory of God, and thus reflect His image to a lost world. We can offer the hope of Jesus by being the image of Jesus.
Further, we must treat others with the respect and dignity afforded to someone who is an image bearer. The love of Christ needs to be evident in all of our actions, and we must be ready to “do everything in love.’ (1 Corinthians 16:14 CSB)
May God bless you as you reflect His image today and always.