Identity Crisis: In God’s Image He Created Them

Identity Crisis: In God’s Image He Created Them January 11, 2023

In the Last Article…

I introduced the idea of the Self. We all have different identity markers. I am a youth director, a husband, a former football player (High School mind you) and a great video game player. Maybe you have something that you identify yourself with that has become identity markers. This is fine and golden as long as we understand that there is a deeper foundation to our identity. My fear is that our culture’s basis for identity is ultimately baseless. It is based out of the idea of materialism; the idea that only the physical exists. There is no metaphysical reality to base anything in: morality, self, reason, the laws of nature. The only thing that exists is the material that we can see and touch. The issue with this worldview is that anything goes.

 

This Leads to Our You-Do-You Culture

A materialistic mindset means that all there is are physical things. With no real consequences (no foundation for morality… means no existence of good and evil… which means anything goes unless some arbitrary measure of right and wrong is conjured up) our actions have no real purpose. Thus our actions should serve the only purpose as to gratify ourselves. Enter in the You-Do-You culture. Whatever feels right is king. And to suggest otherwise is judgmental. The only purpose in for our lives is to acquire a great deal of wealth, do whatever we want when we want, gratify our sexual desires in whichever way and with whomever or whatever we deem necessary. And no one has any say in the matter but ourselves. This is the culture we see ourselves in; do we not?

 

But What if There is More?

But, what if there IS a metaphysical reality? What if materialism is false? After all, the beginning of the universe, the existence of Objective Moral Values and Duties, the existence of Reason, the extreme fine-tuning of the universe, and the origin of life all point to something more than natural (dare I say Supernatural?) as a beginning point for our existence. One that scripture points to as the beginning and the end and one who set the stars in their place. Without this metaphysical being, (God would be the term typically used) there is no objective purpose to life itself. It is only subjective to the individuals that live on this planet.

Of course the first chapters of Genesis, as they have shaped the worldview of the Israelites of Old, too shaped the worldview of Paul, the apostles, and, well, Jesus Himself (He was there in the beginning).

 

In the Beginning

The Christian Self is different from that of all of the religions and philosophies of the world. The polytheistic worldviews place human beings as servants, imbeciles, pawns, and slaves of gods and goddesses vying for power. In these systems, human beings are a nuscence, beings to be toyed with by their divine overlords. In and Atheistic Self, one that I have already describe with the idea of Materialism, the human being is nothing more but an overgrown germ. There is no true purpose. There is at bottom no good or evil. Just “blind, pitiless, indifference” as Dawkins would say.

But the Christian Self. Yes the one that is the focus of this series paints the picture of humans being made in the image of God. Human beings are to steward creation, are to co-rule with God, are given dominion over the totality of the world, are gendered, are pursued by God himself (the Incarnation, the crucifixion, the resurrection of Jesus), and are treated as way more than mere slaves.

 

Open Your Bibles

When you get a minute check out Genesis 1: 26-30. I’ll type it here for you as well.

“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.”

What Do You See?

Do you see a charge to fulfill your own desires? I do not. Do You see the call to take as much wealth as possible to please yourself in whichever way you choose? No, I do not either.

Here’s what I see: Being image bearers of God, humans are created as male and female (we are gendered), we are to be fruitful, and we are to reign over the animals and the earth.

But before all of this, we should understand that we are created beings. Yes.

This is our first stop with the Christian Self:

We are Created. Purposely, meticulously, creatively.

The Created vs the Creator

Have you ever seen a picture of Van Gogh? He was not a very beautiful man… at least in my mind. So, sorry if that offends you. But he wasn’t, at least for the sake of this article. Yet, “Starry Night” is a masterpiece. Created in Van Gogh’s image. Van Gogh’s mind is infused in starry night. For before the creation of starry night, Vin Gogh had to think about a night sky and all of its minute details. He had to think of how the sun reflected off of the moon, how the starlight intertwined with wisps of clouds. And how the constellations swirl around. Van Gogh made Starry Night in his image.

As created beings, that of God Himself, we are made in God’s Image. God fashioned us purposely, meticulously, and remarkably. Each one of us has our own stamp of approval from the creator of the universe as His image bearers – even post-fall. As created beings who are marked by His image, we have unique value and unique worth.

 

The Implications

Have you considered the implications of being created by God? We are not of the animals and plants. We are above them. As we are above the fish and the birds, we are not one and the same with any of them. We need to understand this especially in our cultural moment. When I was in my teacher residency, there were a couple of students who identified as “furries”. One may laugh and scoff, but these students identified as an animal. Whether this is meant to be cute or innocent, or whether it is truly what they believe, it stems from the idea that their body is not good enough. The idea that however we feel at the given moment is the arbiter of truth. This idea presupposes the idea that God’s gendering of human beings was wrong and that our bodies were not created as good.

But, we are created with a purpose. Human beings are a step above the rest of creation.

And, we answer to a Creator.

 

Other Implications and Texts Part 1

Imagine for me a world without the image of God, a world in which there was no heaven or hell, and world in which God does not exist. This would mean there would be no foundation for why murder would be wrong. Sure it is inconvenient for whomever the murdered would be as well as his/her family, but it wouldn’t be wrong. Why is murder wrong? Like any sin, it’s because it is rebellion against a Holy God who endowed us with His image, and who has set the world up in a way in which ought and ought nots, a moral law, are written on our hearts. Murder is to be met with capital punishment, even, because we are image bearers of God and deserve the right to life no matter what stage of development we are in. Check out Genesis 9:5-7

“And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image. Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.”

 

Other Implications and Texts Part 2

Consider the idea that our bodies are nothing more than meat suits to escape from. Consider, for a moment that our bodies are evil inherently and that our goal is to rise above our bodies and change them however we want. The issue with this idea is that it in competition with the idea that God fashioned us and our bodies together perfectly and knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. As the Psalmist reflects:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
– Psalm 139: 13-18
We, the created, are intimately known by the creator of the universe. The creator of the universe sees us as the crown of creation, and thinks of us often. Let us not believe that we are insignificant in this life. It is inherent in our value as humans that we are image bearers of God, from the man living in his parent’s basement, to the commander and chief of a nation.

Conclusion

I’ve begun taking a stab at the Christian Self. Inherent in being made in God’s Image is that we are, in fact, made. We are designed with a specific purpose. Our bodies are designed to fit together as male and female. God’s design is for our bodies to be understood as a gift and not a prison to be shed and freed from. The Christian Self finds its foundation in the creation order of God Himself. Without this foundation, we see the desire to shake off our skin, identity as someone or something else, and find more issues than solutions. The Image of God that is placed on us, includes the mark of being designed ourselves. And that, in and of itself, has huge implications for us and how our lives are lived.

 

Leave your thoughts in the comments! If there is something that needs to be clarified, let me know! If you see any grammatical errors, let me know as well!

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