Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” Genesis 1:26
The Imago Dei…The Image of God.
If you have listened to me preach, teach or talk, you should have heard me say that term “imago Dei” and talk about being created in the image and likeness of God.
It seems pretty simple to me. According to Genesis, humanity is created in the image and likeness of God. Not that God looks like a mid-50’s overweight white-haired Presbyterian pastor (or insert your own likeness here), but that we are created with God’s “Image”, God’s “likeness”. Perhaps the second account of creation from Genesis 2 says it better: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” We are created in God’s image – we have the breath of life (Hebrew ruach) from God in us. God’s breath or spirit (in Greek, it is the same word pneuma) courses through us.
Why do I speak of this today? Simple. Our nation is in turmoil over the ongoing sin of racism. There is still a belief that one race is better than another, and people are judged according to the color of their skin. Or as I see it, some continue to deny the image of God in others.
And we have another sin in this nation. We continue to demonize people of different beliefs, politics even thoughts than ours. Horrible terms are applied by one political party to the other (and both do it). Don’t believe as I do? Then you must be a (insert terrible label here). Don’t vote as I do? You must be mentally defective. Yet that kind of thought denies the image of God in the other person.
You see, we can disagree on politics, we can disagree on economics, we can even disagree on the pronunciation of caramel but still care for each other when we recognize the imago Dei in each other. But when we begin to demonize each other, or hate others according to race, creed, color, gender or even sexuality, we deny God’s image in the other. And we deny God’s image in ourselves as well.
But when we acknowledge God’s image (and God’s presence), we treat each other better. We accept our differences with that servant love Jesus spoke of. And we take steps towards peace.
Brothers and sisters, pray for our nation. Pray for each other. Pray for those who deny God’s image in others. And pray hard. Our nation needs it.