Imago Dei: Creativity, Conscience, and Community
Made in the image and likeness of God–Imago Dei in Latin–humanity is set apart. Only mankind was elevated to rule above the rest of creation, above the chimps, the whales, the horses, the forests, the oceans, and everything else. Our unique nature, our imaging of God, is also reflected in our soul/body existence: God is spirit and God is flesh. Man is spirit and man is flesh.
Another reflection of God can be seen in our capacity for creativity, conscience, and community–all attributes that necessitate thoughtful stewardship.
When I paint landscapes and still life as I listen to classical music or improvisational jazz, I am reflecting my creator, the Creator. Other species may be able to build, but only man is able to createas a reflection of the One whose image we bear. Anyone who invents a new product, draws in the sand, connects a barrel of monkeys together or names their dog Lassie, is reflecting their creator.
Our consciences are a remnant of our original design as innocent reflections of God’s holiness. Because of this attribute, and the presence of God’s Holy Spirit who lives within us, our behavior is a reflection of God’s holiness. When we draft a law that protects the innocent, when we recoil from evil, when we praise godly behavior in our children or others, we are reflecting our creator.
Humans were created for fellowship as a reflection of our Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As God lives within the “community” of the Trinity, so are we made to enjoy each other. As my children get married and have kids, as Gail and I embrace an orphan in Africa, as I find myself gathering with believers in a hostile nation or in my home church, I am a living reflection of the Triune God.
We don’t have to be awake for more than a few minutes each day to experience the “dark side” of our humanity: our inherited rebellious and sinful nature, the antithesis of God’s holy nature. But by God’s grace, and through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, Imago Dei is written in our cells and our souls, and calls us back to its origin: God Himself. Redemption is possible when repentance is offered. Thank you, Lord!
If God’s people were serious about stewarding our creativity, conscience, and community more faithfully, profound transformational change would emerge in our homes, churches, neighborhoods, cities, nations, and world.
Imagine how that would please the One in whose image we are made!