There is a theological term called, “Imago Dei,” the Latin term which means “the image of God.” The theological truth is that humans have been made in the image of God. This is how He created us.
This is not an idea, but truth. It is clearly stated in Genesis 1:26. The trinity, speaking to each other about creation, decides to create man, and says, “Let us make man in our own image.” This is no typo as this is repeated again in Genesis 5:1-3.
Then also in Genesis 9:6: the reason that we should not murder is, in part, because “God made man in his own image.” To murder someone is to mar the image of God Himself.
This idea of man being made in the image of God is repeated throughout the New Testament. The apostle Paul mentions it in I Corinthians 11:7, Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10. James also talks about this in James 3:9 when he says that we should not curse others because others “have been made in God’s likeness.”
What does it mean to be made in God’s image? What does it mean that we have been made like God? Whole books have been written on this subject. One example is that we are created in God’s image to have dominion over things. Like God, we, as humans, have little kingdoms. From the beginning Adam was given charge to care for the garden, and have dominion over the animals. Psalm 8 also backs up this idea.
We also are created in God’s image with knowledge and reasoning skills. This is something else that sets us apart from the animal and plant kingdoms. Colossians 3:10 says that we are to be “renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” We can learn things as humans that other creatures cannot.
One day we will perfectly reflect God’s image. I John 3:2 says that “we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” Note the word “like.” We will not be Him, but will be like Him. When Christians arrive in Heaven, they will not be able to sin, and will perfectly reflect Him in every way.
There are dozens of ways that we reflect the imago dei. When I read books or articles on this subject, the one missing piece I often notice in that reflection is art. Making and creating art is a large part of how we reflect God’s image, yet almost all books and articles on the subject seem to pass it by.
How do I know this is a part of the image of God? Because it is a part of Who God is, and how He functions. In fact the first sentences of the Scriptures say that God is creative, right? “In the beginning God created.” The first act that is written about is Him creating.
It is not just that He is making something, but how He makes it. We don’t just live in a practical earth, but a beautiful one. Anyone who picks his eyes up from his smartphone can see that we live in a fantastical beautiful world. Just go take a quick walk in the park and look at a tree. I don’t mean look at it, I mean really look at it. Take time to contemplate the beauty of it. Look up at the stars and see the magnificence of the planet. David writes this in the beginning of Psalm 19 when he says “the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Our God is awesomely creative.
Look at the way the Tabernacle that Moses built and the Temple that Solomon built are magnificently creative. Our God creates, and loves creativity.
My contention is that Christians also should be creative. When we create, when we make art, we do what we were created to do, reflect the image of God. Like He creatively made the cosmos, (like He ordered the types of worship), we too are to be creative. Being artistic reflects God’s image.
Do you create? What kind of art do you make? Maybe it is as big as being a paid artist; maybe it is as simple as the way you design your home or landscape; or maybe it is in ways we don’t always consider as creativity, like cooking or fixing up a car. We are all creators, because we were all made in God’s image. What or whose art have you appreciated lately? Let’s not forget one of the most enjoyable ways to reflect God’s image, through art.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.