What It Means To Be Made In God’s Image

puzzle-piecesI’m afraid this post is going to be ridiculously simplistic.

I’m not a philosopher, but for some strange reason I’m fascinated by the discipline. In my opinion the way we think about things, whether we’re aware of the system from which we’re operating or not, creates the filter through which we look at the world. Sometimes that system acts more like a blindfold that needs to be lifted before we can see.

Today I listened to the beginning of a lecture entitled “One God, Many Paths?” presented by Michael Ramsden of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. In that opening, Ramsden explained that religions are rooted in either epistemology (thought), existentialism (feeling), or pragmatism (doing). In other words, they either tell people how to think, what to experience, or what to do.

Yes, there are some religions that combine all three—right thinking, right feeling, right doing. According to Ramsden, Christianity is not one of them. It cannot be reduced to one or even all three of those approaches. To become a Christian is not to master a system of thought, nor is it simply to have an experience or to follow a list of do’s and don’ts.

In truth, Jesus did not come into the world to tell us how to think about God or to give us new experiences with God or to tell us to do things for God. Jesus Christ came into this world as God. I’ll call this the relational component which other religions don’t have.

So what does this have to do with what it means to be made in the image of God? Simply this (remember, I said this post would probably be simplistic 😉 ): these philosophical foundations upon which religions are built fit nicely into the categories Jesus laid forth when He answered the question, What is the greatest commandment?

YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND (Luke 19:27b)

Heart, relational. Soul, existential. Strength, pragmatic. Mind, epistemological.

We are the sum of those parts.

We commune with others, feel in our souls, act from our will, analyze and reason with our intellect.

No surprise that God shows these same facets of His character, most clearly in Jesus—the Word made flesh—but no less present in God the Father or the Spirit. How could it be less so? Jesus specifically said He came to show us the Father. And what we find is that God, though incomprehensibly transcendent, is remarkably familiar. He cried and got angry and laughed and felt compassion. He told stories and accepted invitations to parties. He gave reasoned answers to questions and went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He blessed children and prayed to the Father. He did the right things, experienced life the right way, thought the right things, and related in the right way.

His empathetic connection with others, the way He lived, the things He said that revealed His mind, and the actions He took were not divorced from each other. He was a harmonious whole.

We have those same components.

Our brokenness lies in the lack of harmony we now live with. As a look at those various religious underpinnings reveals, we tilt dreadfully toward one direction or the other. We do this collectively and we do this individually.

Nevertheless, we have the same components Jesus exhibited and that we can find in God the Father. How logical, then, that when we trust in Jesus and His redemptive work, He can put the broken pieces back together.

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4 Comments

  1. God came to earth as man to die for man’s forgiveness. In a way it is like God said I am sorry by sacrificing himself. God doesn’t care about the problems we make. He knows we’re not perfect.

    Forgiveness has been lost in today’s society. We choose what is right and wrong and put down those who made the mistakes. Lets forgive and free our minds from sin. Leave the sins on the cross.

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  2. “How logical, then, that when we trust in Jesus and His redemptive work, He can put the broken pieces back together.”

    Amen! That’s it precisely.

    I too like philosophy, although I don’t understand it all very well. What’s amazing to me there, is that all paths lead back to Christ. You really cannot think or reason your way to any other place, not if you are being honest. Logic, reason, intellect, your heart, your feelings, each one of those will direct you to Him. Scripture gets really exciting because it’s been written in a way that appeals to any of those. You can read it for the emotions, the poetry, the love story, or the reason and logic, and everybody will still arrive at a very similar understanding of what is being said.

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  3. Wow. This couldn’t have been made any clearer. Up to now, I wasn’t quite sure that I adequately shared the name of Jesus; Who He was , and what He really represents. Simple to understand, Very well written.Aloha

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  4. Simple, but profound. We so often forget thsee things.

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