Most of us have heard that we’re “made in the image of God.” But have you ever stopped to think about what it really means? The Hebrew root of the Latin phrase for image of God – imago Dei – means image, shadow or likeness of God. That being said, if we could take a snapshot of God, what would we see and what would it reveal about humans created in God’s image?
Does it mean that God has two arms, two legs and a long flowing beard as depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? (Of note, Michelangelo also painted a belly button on God, something that really makes no sense on so many levels.) No, Scripture does not imply a visual duplication of God; instead it refers to the nature of God. Like God, man can think and reason. We can create, appreciate beauty and language. And unlike animals, we have an inner sense of morality and the ability to grasp deep concepts. This gives man the ability to commune with God, and that is the real reason God made us in His image.
In the same passage, God addresses our relationship with the earth. One reason God made us in His image is that we are responsible for caring for all of God’s creation. We’re to be an intermediary between God and all of His creation. How can we manage it unless we stay close to God; unless we think like God; unless we’re able to fulfill the will of God? Part of having a relationship with God is having the right relationship with His creation. Being created in His image is an awesome gift, as well as a sacred responsibility.