“The God Who Scatters Beauty Profusely”

91P3kogTi2LThe question may be asked, Why should the gifts and capacities just mentioned be thought of as belonging to the image of God? The answer is that in all of these capacities man is like God, and therefore images him. Man’s rational powers, for example, reflect God’s reason, and enable man now, in a sense, to think God’s thoughts after him. Man’s moral sensitivity reflects something of the moral nature of God, who is the supreme determiner of right and wrong. Our capacity for fellowshiping with God in worship reflects the fellowship that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have with each other. Our ability to respond to God and to fellow human beings imitates God’s ability nd willingness to respond to us when we pray to him. Our ability to make decisions reflects in a small way the supreme directing power of him “who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”. Our sense of beauty is a feeble reflection of the God who scatters beauty profusely over snow-crowned peaks, lake-jeweled valleys, and awe-inspiring sunsets. Our gift of speech is an imitation of him who constantly speaks to us, both in his world and in his word. And our gift of song echoes the God who rejoices over us with singing.

Created in God’s Image p. 71

 

“Not to Contrast Men with Animals”

91P3kogTi2LAnthony Hoekema on what it means for man to be made in the image of God:

Since Christ was totally without sin, in Christ we see the image of God in its perfection. As a skillful teacher uses visual aids to help his or her pupils understand what is being taught, so God the Father has given us in Jesus Christ a visual example of what the image of God is. There is no better way of seeing the image of God than to look at Jesus Christ. What we see and hear in Christ is what God intended for man.

If this is so, then the best way to learn what the image of God is is not to contrast man with animals, as has often been done, and then to fine the divine image to consist in those qualities, abilities, and gifts that man has in distinction from the animals. Rather, we must learn to know what the image of God is by looking at Jesus Christ. What must therefore be at the center of the image of God is not characteristics like the ability to reason or the ability to make decisions (important as such abilities may be for the proper functioning of the image of God), but rather that which was central in the life of Christ: love for God and love for man. If it is true that Christ perfectly images God, then the heart of the image of God must be love. For no man ever loved as Christ loved.

Created in God’s Image p. 22