Then God said, “Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.”Genesis 1:26-31
God created humanity in God’s own image,
in the divine image God created them,[b]
male and female God created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.” Then God said, “I now give to you all the plants on the earth that yield seeds and all the trees whose fruit produces its seeds within it. These will be your food. To all wildlife, to all the birds in the sky, and to everything crawling on the ground—to everything that breathes—I give all the green grasses for food.” And that’s what happened. God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.
We are created in God’s own image. In Latin, the imago dei. But what does that mean? How can we fully embrace that we are created in God’s own image if we have no idea what God looks like? And who is this “we” God includes in verse 26? My grandfather would have asked, “You got a mouse in your pocket?”
“Let us make humanity in our own image?” What’s that about?
Truthfully, it is hard to understand how we are made in the likeness of God when we don’t fully understand God. And, because we are not God (something we fail to remember from time time), coming to a full understanding of our Creator is not something that is going to happen in this lifetime.
So what do we do? We who are created in God’s image. How can we better grasp what that means? We can look to the creation story to see what it reveals to us about God and God’s creation, and, therefore, us.
There is no need to debate creationism and evolution in order to glean the richness of the creation story. To call the creation story true does not have to contradict science (I mean if Darwin is buried in Westminster Abbey, science and religion can co-exist quite nicely).
As the late, great New Testament scholar Marcus Borg put it, the creation story is “strikingly world-affirming.” “Against all world-denying theologies and philosophies,” he writes, “Genesis affirms the world as the good creation of the good God. All that is, is good.”
We are part of a good creation, created by a good God who declared us—after looking at all creation—good. We are good.
So claim it. Claim your goodness. You can’t really live it until you’ve owned it. So own it.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer is an online, inclusive and progressive Christian community. Follow us on Facebook and get emails to keep up with all that is happening.