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It’s his image in us that causes the need of meaning for us.

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26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
-Genesis 1:26-27


Every human being has the deep awareness that life was intended to have meaning and purpose. We all long for it, search it out, and need it. That quest in and of itself is a uniquely human endeavor. A dog doesn’t think about the meaning of life – his meaning is defined simply by being a dog. An elephant doesn’t think philosophically about what it means to be an elephant – it’s enough to just be an elephant. The process of complex rational thought regarding the meaning and purpose of life belongs exclusively to human beings, and we often struggle to answer our own question.

In Genesis 1:26-27, the author makes the audacious statement that humanity is created in the image of God. It’s his image in us that causes the need of meaning for us. This becomes clear in the Genesis narrative because shortly after being created, Adam and Eve start to perform their God-given tasks and duties. Their meaning and purpose is intrinsic within their creation, but their calling comes specifically from God. “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). “Keep and tend the garden” (Genesis 2:15). “Name the animals” (Genesis 2:20). “It’s not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2;18). These callings flow forth from the reality that humans are created in the image of God and they in turn create clarity for how we live with meaning as human beings.

The knowledge of the way we’re created has the potential to radically, positively shape a life. By contrast, ignorance towards God’s created purpose can crush a life. When a person doesn’t realize that the image of God lives within them, they will turn a portion of that image into a god for them. Think about, the greatest pulls towards idolatry are based around turning parts of God’s calling for us into our ultimate and only reason for existence. Naming the animals was a creative act – today we see people worshiping creativity and seeking fame. Tending the garden was the call to work and vocation – throughout time we see people working to gain power and wealth, and slipping into patterns of greed. It’s not good for man to be alone is the reality that we’re created for relationships – but we see many people bowing at the altar of romantic love. When we recognize the image of God in us, we can live from it. However, when we aren’t aware we carry the image, we will bow to a portion of it.

Today, take some time to think about the way you have seen the image of God in another person. Send them a text, write a note, or make a phone call to affirm and encourage them.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Ryan Paulson

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