Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Understanding Imago Dei Theologically

 Theology is often given a bad rap or we gloss over it thinking it is just for the seminary students and graduates  or super spiritual among us. However, I truly believe that understanding it helps us love our Jesus even more deeply and follow Him so much more closely. Only when we understand the concept on a theological level can we begin to apply it on a practical level. With that said, let me encourage you to wade into this post. At the end, please tell me what you think....

In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Creation is described in a step-by-step process. Each step, each day is declared "good" by the One speaking all that is seen into being. The last step, however, is more than "good." God declares the events of that day "very good." 

"So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them."
-Genesis 1:27 

"Imago Dei" - We image God.

Not through physical features or even appearances, but in HOW He created us.

God used His Word (John 1) to create everything else. He announced it and it existed. Man, He sculpted with His hands. Man, He breathed His own life into. Woman, He formed from the rib of that man because that man was lacking. Adam needed Eve. 

Then, together, God gave them authority, an assignment and a unique ability. 
  • Authority over Creation - to subdue it and wisely use it
  • An Assignment - to work, a purpose to fulfill and find satisfaction in
  • A Unique Ability- to relate to Him and each other
 Matt Chandler in "A Beautiful Design" defined Imago Dei this way: "God's investment in humanity of Godlike glory and moral capacity to reign and rule the earth as His representatives."

Nothing else God created has these qualities. This is why there will never a Planet of the Apes. This is why a fireman rescues all the people in the burning home before he looks for the beloved family dog. Everyone innately knows life has value whether or not they are able to explain why. 

"Sanctity of Life" - Life is sacred because we image God. 

According to the internet's "Wiktionary," to be sacred is to be associated with divinity, inspiring awe or reverence, and to be worthy of spiritual respect or devotion. 

I can't think of anything more sacred than imaging God, being "Imago Dei."

In the third chapter of Genesis, sin enters the world and soon man fails to acknowledge who he is. The significance of being Imago Dei is lost. Man's relationship with the God he images is broken and he soon forgets his identity as God's image. Adam's relationship with Eve is also broken and Man doesn't look at his wife and see "the image of God" either. Sin's poison seeps into every corner of creation and from every human heart.

With the dawn of sin, the curse is given and mankind cannot rightly fulfill his role of Imago Dei. The evidence that we live in a fallen, broken world is everywhere, especially in how we relate to Him and each other. 

When we know where we've come from AND where our sin has taken us, we can begin to process how we should respond to the truth of being Imago Dei - individually as Christians and corporately as members of the human race.

I'll use my next post to explain how God has been speaking to me about how to embrace Imago Dei.

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