The Image of God

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV)

     Distorting mirrors are a popular attraction seen regularly at carnivals and funhouses. Instead of the standard flat glass you have on your bathroom wall, these are made with various curves that warp and disfigure the viewer’s reflection in all kinds of weird ways. The distortions are so exaggerated that it is near impossible to not smile when you see yourself. We don’t get upset by these warped reflections because we know there is something “off” about the mirror, not the one being reflected.

     One of the most inspiring passages in scripture is Genesis 1:26-27, which records the most distinctive element of man’s creation over the rest of the animal world. We were created in the image of God. Much has been written on what exactly this means and what the implications are. Yet, one of the simplest ideas is that being made in God’s image means we were made to reflect God, kind of like a mirror. Every human’s life is intended to reproduce the pure character of the one who created us. Sadly, sin’s entrance into the world added a distortion that warps the reflection we give off. While this is tragic enough in its own right, there is yet another consequence we need to ponder.

     Unlike the response to funhouse mirrors, where people know the mirror is the cause of the distorted reflection, it is all too common for people to see our distorted reflection of God and say HE is the one who is warped. Paul addressed this with his Jewish readers in Romans 2:21-24...

“ then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’”

     The truth is that if people do not see God properly reflected in us, the issue is not with is with the mirror. We must be conscientious of how we live our lives, not just for our own benefit, but for the sake of the One who made us. Our character, ethics, and actions all communicate an image of who God is. Though he never changes, our reflection of him can. May God’s grace and mercy transform us every day to be his undistorted image to a lost world.