I have a new dog. He’s a three month old Boykin Spaniel we named Gus. No, he isn’t named after the Auburn football coach but rather the greatest cowboy of all time Gus McRay from the epic Lonesome Dove. Nevertheless, our dog is pretty amazing. He is learning tricks and obedience commands and he swims like a duck. But, he doesn’t come close to the wonder that is humans. As great as Gus is, he is simply a sliver of the imagination of the Almighty, but he is not even on the same playing field with people. You see, Gus, and the rest of creation for that matter, wasn’t created in the image of God. He does not exhibit the Imago Dei.
In Genesis ch. 1, the Bible teaches that God created humans in His own image. This word image means “shadow” in the Hebrew language. We are not God and we aren’t little versions of God. We were created by God to reflect Him. Humans are special. Humans are unique to all the rest of creation. Nothing in the created universe compares to that apex of God’s creative design in people.
This truth leads to some important distinctions and implications. Humans have great responsibility to protect, explore, and use God’s creation for His glory and their good. We have been given dominion over creation. We should be creating and building. We should be finding cures to diseases and inventing technology that will continue adding to human flourishing. This is part of what it means to be human. Your dog isn’t sitting around thinking about its contribution to the rest of the dog world, but most humans have moments of deep reflection like the one I just described. It is simply in us. Imago Dei. Created in His image.
Finally, the reality of the Imago Dei in all humans has implications. We must protect and value all human life. Whether it is the life of the unborn or the life of the elderly. Whether the person is vibrantly productive or completely disabled, his or her life is valuable. Humans aren’t valuable because of what we can accomplish or attain, but rather because of the image we bear. The Imago Dei must impact the way we see and treat other humans. This starts in our homes with our spouses and children and seeps into our jobs, schools, and hobbies. We must see all people through the lens of the Imago Dei. People are just too valuable to dismiss, insult, or needlessly harm. In fact, Jesus, the perfect human, would teach us that we must LOVE one another. HE said those of us in faith would be recognized as such by the way we love each other. I hope that you will never look at other humans the same way again. See them for what they are……..image bearers of the King. Imago Dei.