+ WATCH “The Image of God” from the Bible Project
+ PRAY for open hearts and minds, especially yours.
+ READ Genesis 2:4-3:24 (ESV)
Every story has a cast of characters, and the bigger the story, the bigger the cast. But in the Big Picture of the Bible, it is always God who speaks and acts first. And since he is the Author of this story that means you only make it in if he writes you into it. So God creates this world and fills it with his creatures, but something is missing. Things are “good,” but not yet “very good.” And so God does something surprising. He pours out even more of his goodness into a creature that will reflect and represent who he is.
If I were to ask you to close your eyes and try to picture God, one of two images would probably pop into your mind. On one hand there might be a bright, ethereal light from heaven, which speaks in a booming voice. On the other, you might see a gentle or even grandfatherly figure clothed in white robes, with eyes that know your every thought. And if I were to ask you to imagine who God would create in his own image, you would probably think of spiritual beings that match one of those two images—like angels. After all, even the Bible calls angels “sons of God.” But that’s not who God crowns as the kings and queens of his creation. Listen:
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.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; 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 1:26-28)
Say what!? Yep. If you want to know who God created to reflect and represent who he is, you can’t look up, you have to look down to the Bible, and then look within your own heart. The person whose face you see in the mirror every day is created in God’s own image. The person you love to be with more than any other person is God’s image-bearer. And even that person whom you can’t stand at work or at school was created to image that same God. That means everything about your life—your looks, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, your gender, your relationships—all of these are gifts from the One who made you. He’s handed you a first draft of your own story, and invites you to finish it; to become his own co-author.
Of course, you may not feel that way about it at all. When you look into your heart—or into the face of your enemy—you don’t see how that can be true. But that’s part of the human story too. Adam and Eve were the first to discover it, but we all know it by experience (even if we don’t know what to call it). We’re not that good at imaging God. In fact, as the Bible says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). What we need is to be rescued; a new way to be human. Not just from the evil without, but from the evil within. Adam failed God, but God wasn’t done yet. Instead, he sent forth a Son of Adam, “the offspring of Eve.”
+ ASK Three Big Questions
+ DIG DEEPER with slides for group discussion.