God created people to reflect His image.
Genesis 1:26 begins with, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness’.” The use of these two terms, which mean basically the same thing, brings emphasis to the purpose of creation. God created man and woman in His image. This puts humans in a completely new and unique category from any other of God’s creation. Men and Women are created in the image and in the likeness of the Creator. This fact is so important that the 27th verse is reserved just to emphasize this point. It is stated three times over that God created mankind, twice emphasizing “in His image.”
The question then, is to whom does mankind reflect the image of God? I believe there are two answers to this question. First, men and women are created to reflect God’s image and likeness back to God. In verse 31, God considers His creative work of the sixth day and, like the preceding days, He declares it to be good. But this time he adds a qualifier—He says it is VERY good. That is what mankind is to God. We are His supreme creation. We are not just another creation of God’s, we are His greatest work, created in His image and it is in the reflecting of His image back to God that we bring glory and honor and praise to the Creator.
If you consider the relationship of a child and her parent, you can see truth. Have you ever held a newborn baby and gazed into her eyes, and you realize she has her mother’s eyes? And when the mother hears you speak these words, she shows a sense of joy and Godly pride in the fact that this is her child. I have to believe that when we reflect the image of God back to him, it brings joy and praise and honor into the very presence of God. When we live our lives as created, pure and holy, unblemished by the sin of this world—when we live our lives as resurrected, forgiven, and redeemed—there is joy in heaven.
Second, men and women are created to reflect God’s image to one another. For Adam and Eve, it was a small audience, but God knew the population would grow. And in the presence of man and woman, the image and likeness of God would be present for all to see. General Albert Orsborn wrote these words,
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity,
O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
(SASB – Chorus #77)
There is a story of a young man of faith riding his bike home from high school one day. While he was riding, a driver of a car who was not paying attention hit him. For a few moments the driver was shocked and didn’t stop and the young man rode the hood of her car until she finally stopped the car. As you might imagine the young man was very angry. His bike was ruined, and he was scraped and bruised from the accident. His father hurried from work to check on him and to take him home. When the father arrived at the accident scene, the young man said to his father, “Dad, I don’t like the way I reacted.” That is what it means to have God “refining your nature.” Even in a crisis—even though it could have been so much worse—this young man wanted to reflect the image of God to the very driver that had just hit him.
31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
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