I was with a bunch of 11-year-olds recently and we had just read the incredible account of God’s Creation in Genesis 1. We stopped at this verse:
‘God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them’ (Gen 1: 27)
I asked them if they knew what ‘image’ meant. Most of them didn’t seem to. So, I found my phone, took a selfie, and then held it up next to me. I asked them if me and my selfie were the same.
A debate ensued and half of the group said ‘yes’ while the others said ‘no’. The first half were surprised when I agreed with the ‘no’ verdict that we were not the same. I asked, ‘can this picture talk to you like I am talking to you? Can you have a conversation with it?’ They got the point and we concluded that me in person is similar to my selfie (my image), but it is not the same.
My next question to the young people was, ‘If we are God’s image, in what ways are we similar to God?’
We abandoned the idea of us looking the same, but they came out with some great suggestions like - we both have feelings/emotions, and we understand right and wrong. However, I was interested to note that none of them related it back to the passage we had just read and to the one attribute that shouts out the loudest: God is the most amazing creator.
Genesis chapter one is an exuberant celebration of beauty and grandeur, colours and forms; an explosion of invention, soaring from the vast distances of the stars to the fine detail of the tiniest living organism. God’s creative ability is mind-boggling, to say the least.
And we have been made in His image. So, it is not surprising that the world has been soaked and enriched with art, music, architecture, and language since those first six days at the dawn of time.
Having said that, we know that the story in the third chapter of Genesis reveals a moment when that image was stained with sin. Adam and Eve’s intentional disobedience to God had a myriad of consequences, not least their ability to reflect God’s holiness. But their creative abilities were deeply affected too. In the generations that followed, people built idols to worship, weapons to kill and palaces and jewellery to enhance their pride.
It wasn’t until Jesus walked the earth, that world again saw, untarnished, the image of God in a human being: ‘He is the image of the invisible God’, says Paul in Col 1: 15. And we saw it in Jesus’ creativity. For example, his parables describing the Kingdom of God are still masterpieces of story-telling today.
Christians have been forgiven for every wrongdoing through Christ’s death on the cross, but by the mercy and grace of God, it doesn’t end there. The Bible tells us that we are being ‘transformed into his (Jesus’) likeness’ (2 Cor 3: 18). The word, ‘likeness’ here is often translated as ‘image’. As we continue to walk in fellowship with him, depending on the power of His Spirit and feeding regularly on His Word, we are daily being restored into His image.
So, what does that mean in terms of our creative abilities? Let me suggest this: If we use them for the glory of God and for the benefit of those around us, potentially, I believe that makes us the most creative people on the planet.
What are you going to do with your creative gifts?
The best is yet to come. God bless - Terry
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