Beautiful Design 2 - In His Image
In our first week of this series, we talked about Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. If that’s a true statement, then all of life’s questions around origin—Who am I?—and purpose—Why am I?—and design—How am I to function?—are rooted there. We covered all that in week one. Today, we’re digging a little deeper into the man/woman issue, adding another layer to the foundation we must grasp to make sense of all the confusion around us.
Let’s start here: Say you are the typical family—hubby, wife, a couple of kids, and a dog. Out of nowhere, however, economic calamity befalls you. You can’t feed every mouth in the house, and someone has to go. Who gets voted off the island? (Pause for deep pondering. . . ) Ok, seriously, nobody goes, “Oh, the wife. Pitch her,” or “Dump the kid who eats the most.” We all start with the dog. Here’s the question for us: Why? When we dig into that, we find that the answer isn’t simple math, or simple finances, or who is easier to care for, or even who is the most obedient or makes my life easier. We all just know, intuitively, that humans, males and females, are more valuable, have more dignity, than critters.
What we then did in this message is detail why, whether you believe in Jesus or God or religion at all, you subscribe to God’s truth on the matter. And then we chatted about how this truth should play out in real life. First part first—why the dog and not the wife or kids?
Genesis. 1:24-31 - And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds––livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.'” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
It’s in this passage, where God creates man—male and female—in His image. Humanity is the only thing in all creation that carries God’s own image, and that makes mankind unique. How so? Well, you and I have the ability to know God and understand Him, to have a relationship with Him. Your pet, as noble as he or she is, has never been up all night pleading with God for the souls of its offspring.
God then directs mankind to fill the earth and subdue it, to have authority and dominion over it. Mankind sits at the pinnacle of the created order. Despite Hollywood, there will never be a planet of the apes. Monkeys have not been given that capacity.
And, because of the special relationship we humans have with our Creator, the relationships we have with each other as humans is different than what exists in the animal world. Lions can kill each other and no one bats an eyelid, no one mounts an investigation. It’s like a Geico commercial: If you’re a lion, it’s what you do—kill stuff. But you and I can’t kill each other. Genesis 9:6 highlights just how valuable a human life is--Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. In God’s eyes, all life matters, it seems. All humanity is endowed with the image of God, and that makes all life important beyond any value society might place on that life in terms of benefit to mankind.
So, how ought this to play out in the affairs of man and woman? One of the folks in our congregation brought their grandson to The Surge a few weeks back. He’s got some challenges and will probably need care for the rest of his life. But he was at the State Theatre when the band was rehearsing, and he was dancing and singing and praising God. And that praise washed over the band, and God showed up at that little concert for one. I love going to a Chick-fil-A near me because they hire folks with Down Syndrome. I gotta tell you that the joy in that Chick-fil-A is palpable the second you open the doors to the place. It’s almost magical. These folks will need some care and attention for the rest of their lives, but their value before the Creator is immeasurable, and it’s just awesome when we get a glimpse of that value as they touch our lives.
Here’s what happens when we lose sight of the image of God dwelling in every life. We devalue, we demean, we abuse, we use, we cheapen, and we destroy life.
We abort life in the womb, even though science will tell you that the unique DNA strand that sets that baby in the womb apart from every other human being as a distinct life is present at conception. Is your argument that that baby is dependent on its mother? Dumb logic, really. How totally independent are you? You grow the food you eat on your own farm? Even if you do, where do you get the seed, the fertilizer, the farm machinery and gas to run it? You hew the logs for your own house, produce your own electricity, heat, air conditioning? You produce the raw materials for your clothes? You cure your own illnesses with the medicine you have made? Inoculated your own family from dread diseases? C’mon, get real. At the core of it, we are all dependent, every bit as much as that baby in mom’s tummy.
And please don’t go where I have not. I am not singling those who have had abortions as being especially evil or anything. They are not. Before God on high, they are not worse off than me—a sinner in critical need of forgiveness and grace and mercy. Christians aren’t better or immune to sin. But our hope is this—regardless of the junk we have done, Jesus is bigger, and He is able to forgive and heal and transform and restore. Without Christ, we’re all toast.
When the “image of God” in us is forgotten, we humans drift towards pornography, totally ignorant of the horrendous backgrounds and desperation that leads performers to that career path. I’ve chatted with thousands of kids over the years, and not one little girl has ever told me that her dream when she grows up is to be a porn star. Yeah, something happened after age 5 to strip that child of the reality of the image of God in her. We see sex trafficking, slavery. We see people treated as less because of the color of their skin, we see rape, we see sexual abuse, we see prostitution, we see strip clubs.
We see laws that corrupt the value of life. You know, 5 countries in on this globe right now will happily euthanize your mom if her health fails, even though God tells us that it’s good and right and godly to love and serve mom and dad as they grow old, even if they are not valuable in any the world would measure. Why? Simple—the image of God residing in them. There are two countries in civilized Europe that will euthanize your child if he or she is blind, deaf, or mentally challenged. It’s what happens when we ignore the image of God stamped on us.
God’s thinking, right thinking, about the image of God on all human life leads us to value equally males and females. Because I am a human, I have far more in common with a slave girl in India than I do with any male animal. It’s not our maleness or our femaleness that determines connectedness; it’s that we’re people made in God’s image that binds us together.
Guys, we have to have God’s view of who we are, made in God’s image, intended to model and represent our Creator as we walk the planet. We must treat women with the dignity our Creator gave them. They are equally able to image God as we males are. They have not been put here for our entertainment or to be our servants or our sex objects. They are our sisters, and co-heirs with Christ. They cannot be dismissed intellectually or robbed of their right to exercise all the gifts God has given them for what He designed for them.
And gals, you need to remember you, too, are made in God’s image. You’ve got to think right thoughts about yourself, who you are and how highly God thinks of you. Don’t be swayed by little boys who think they are men because they can shave and who treat you as something less. Have high expectations of men and demand they approach you correctly as image bearers of God. Understand your value before God, and let no one treat you cheaply.
Well, what if the world actually operated with the reality that all men and all women are made in God’s image? Prostitution - gone. Sex trafficking - gone. Porn - gone. Racism - gone. Rape - gone. Abuse - gone. Slavery - gone. Flourishing would occur. I know we aren’t going to solve all the world’s problems, but how about this? How about we live as God’s people, as image bearers who understand our origin, our purpose, and our design? How about we have great friendships, great relationships, great marriages, great families, and a great, loving church? How about we deal lovingly with those this world will spit out—those it has wounded, and mangled, and scarred, and scorned, and confused? May we be a place they will flock to in droves!!
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At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.