IN GOD’S IMAGE
"And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule (over creation)" (Gen 1:26). What is implied by this abbreviated expression? Several things come to mind in this connection. (1) Humans are thus charged with being faithful stewards of the extended creation. Which brings to mind the saying, "To whom much is given, more is required." Then, in a more humorous vein, Mother Teresa’s observation that while she did not doubt but that God would provide the enablement necessary to accomplish her calling, she wished he were not so optimistic.
(2) While implied is the availability of God to humans in their stewardship calling. This radically alters the situation. As graphically expressed, "One with God is in the majority." Is anything too difficult for God? Assuredly not. Then we should have confidence in our efforts to accomplish our divine calling.
(3) Then, too, in the means he has provided for us. As with our capability to reason. As I mentioned on another occasion, faith less resembles for me a leap in the dark than pressing toward the light. Or that which I have often repeated, "The more we know, the more we realize that we do not know." So that we are encouraged to cultivate a reasoning faith.
(4) Then there is our voluntary capacity. The ability to choose among alternatives, whether for the better or the worse. If for the better, then to benefit others. If for the worse, then as a hindrance to others. This serves as a means to cultivate our creative potential, having been created in God’s image.
(5) These are accompanied by emotions. Such as accompanies our experience in a space/time universe. As a child, my space was largely limited to our family property. For instance, should my ball bounce out into the road, I was not to retrieve it unless accompanied by an adult. Whereas my life span was relatively brief, so that I was encouraged to draw upon the accumulated wisdom of those who were more mature.
(6) Not to be overlooked, there appears to be a religious inclination. Such as illustrated in the High God tradition. So pervasive in traditional cultures as thought by some to be universal. One that is more inclined to surface during times of adversity. As I seem to recall from my military service during World War II.
(7) Whereas paradise is depicted as an ideal situation. Preeminently because of God’s gracious presence. Otherwise, because it provided amply for the needs of humans. So it would have continued had humans not violated the conditions set forth by God. While fallen, they were not forsaken.
(8) Thus are we alerted to the fact that humans can err in opposite directions. Either by failing to measure up to their potential, or in an effort to overreach. In the latter instance, to play God, Accordingly, C. S. Lewis observed that it is when we focus on one problem, we are inclined to fall prey to its alternative. So that we should bear in mind that sins of omission are as grievous and often more subtle than sins of commission.
(9) Meanwhile, even seemingly small variations early on can have a profound effect with the passing of time. As was the case with the first humans. While applicable to some degree with the early training of children. On a positive note, I appreciated it when my mother would take time to explain to me why I should or should not do something. Rather than inquiring, "What is it about no that you do not understand?"
(10) In conclusion, being created in God’s image, humans are meant to reflect his glory. As expressed by the psalmist, "How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear (reverence) you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you" (Psa. 31:19).