By: Elder David Leong
We were made in His image and after His likeness, to be God’s crowning achievement in creation. As Irenaeus, an early church father had said, “The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.”
What does it mean then to be created in the image of God. I think we can see this in three interrelated aspects:
To be created in His image means we are designed to display God’s nature, character and glory. As mirrors are created for reflection so God created us to be mirrors of His character and instruments to reflect His glory. Creation declares God’s glory in a variety of ways (Ps. 19:1) but we reflect it by making that glory, the character and the nature visible and tangible. The image of God thus changes from a noun to a verb by the way we live our lives, by how we conduct ourselves before the watching world and by how we relate to others in God-honouring ways. Are we consciously aware of or responsibility to reflect God’s nature, character and glory in all that we do? Do we reflect His image when no one is looking?
To be God’s image bearers means we are created for relationships. God Himself is community – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a trinity of persons, existing in eternal self-giving love. He created man to reflect His glory but that glory could not be adequately displayed by an individual living in isolation from others. Community is rooted in the being of God. God created human beings because He was so in love with community that He wanted a world full of people to share it with. Hence at the core of our nature as God’s image bearers we are relational. There is a three-fold relationship: between man and God; between man and Hid fellowmen and between man and God’s creation. Have we been participating in and building community wherever we are? church, workplace, family?
As God’s image bearers, we are called to exercise dominion over the earth (Gen 1:26,28). We are to serve as His vice-regents, reigning as His representatives and stewards over the created world. We are called to tend and maintain it NOT to exploit it. We are called to exercise a wise, responsible stewardship. By doing so, we reflect to the world the radiance of God’s infinite worth and glory. Are we exercising responsible stewardship over God’s creation, caring and nurturing it with love?
God help us all to be ever mindful of our original design as well as as our call, as His people, to be closer and closer to His image as we grow in Christ.