Welcome to the first installment of this year’s journey in Identity! My previous blog explains the journey we will take throughout the entire year and what you can expect throughout each week. So, if you want to know what all of the excitement about, go back and read the previous blog to get all of the details!
This month we are focusing on being CHOSEN by God. Under that umbrella, we are uncovering the fact that you are created, called, and adopted.
The whole focus of the journey this year will be to uncover God’s original intent for creating YOU. What attributes did He give you that are meant to reflect His image? How are you using your gifts and talents to serve His Kingdom? And how can we uncover even more that we may not even know is there?
In order to get there, I thought we would go alllll the way back. To the beginning. Like…. to Genesis. Why did He create any of us? What does that look like in light of sin entering the world?
Ok enough with all of the questions. Let’s get some answers, shall we? Today, we’re going to focus on our CREATION.
What Does The Bible Say About Creation?
“We are not to look to what men in themselves deserve but to attend to the image of God which exists in all and to which we owe all honor and love.” – John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26-28
The first few chapters of Genesis make a bold claim. All humans are made in the image of God. This claim was to the ancient world–and still is–revolutionary. But what does it mean to be made “in the image of God?” Why is this such an earth-shattering idea? In the ancient eastern world to “be made in the image of a god” was an honor reserved for only two things: idols and kings.
According to the Bible Project, when Genesis uses the phrase “image of God,” it uses the Hebrew word selem for “image.” You might be surprised to learn this, but selem is often translated as “idol” in our Bibles – “the idols of God.” Whoa. That is serious.
What’s An Idol? Like American Idol? – No Girl.
In ancient eastern culture, an idol served a few purposes. Idols were placed within a temple, the place where the gods and humans were connected. The idol then functioned as a reflection and reminder of the god. It was not thought of as the actual god. The idol was meant to be an image of the divine. The idol stood there as the mediating representation of the god’s power and presence. This may or may not be foreign to most of us, so bear with me. I think it is important to lay this out.
The “image of God” was also a title reserved for kings. These special, chosen rulers were representations of the gods, ruling and reigning on their behalf. Kings were often so closely tied to the gods that they were considered divine themselves. This made the king special and separate from his people. You can already start to see how classes and segregation of people would morph into a thought-process where only certain people were considered image-bearers of the divine.
So if the kings and idols were the image bearers of the gods, by reflecting their image and ruling on their behalf, what does it mean when Genesis says all humans, not just idols or specific kings, are made in the image of God?
Maybe you’ve heard someone speak about why and how humans were made in the image of God. There are a few obvious implications. Humans have souls, minds, emotions, and creative capacity that are unique to the rest of creation. And while these are truly unique characteristics of humans, it does not explain why Genesis claims that we are all made in God’s image. But when we look at the text, it tells us a different reason, a different story…..
More on this tomorrow! For now, pull out your journal and begin to ask God what makes YOU unique to the rest of creation. Read all of Genesis 1 and really begin to see God’s heart for creation. See God’s love for you. Why you are his everything sweet girl.
You are so loved. Yes, You.
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