Created in whose image?
A portion of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Every year at the end of the Biblical Holy Days of Sukkot I begin to read through the Torah again. Each year I try to read with a different focus or lens with hopes that I will see the words on the page through a slightly different lens. This year I am trying to read through the text with a lens of discipleship. In other words I am trying to read the Scriptures in a way that instructs or encourages me and provides direction to my walk with and for G-D.
As I read through Genesis Chapter 1 I came to verses 26-27:
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness! Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the flying creatures of the sky, over the livestock, over the whole earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the land.” 27 God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.
As we read the first sentence, we find ourselves asking the question “Who is G-D speaking to?” There have been many sermons preached and books written on this topic. I want to propose the viewpoint that G-D is not having a committee meeting. Nor is He speaking only to the angels in heaven. I believe He is inviting the angels and humanity to join Him in making man into a correct image. Now before you stop reading or begin to write comments below please take a moment to review the text.
In verse 27 G-D says, “Let us make” using the Hebrew word עָשָׂה (asah) (to make) but in verse 27 the scripture uses the word בָּרָא (bara) (create) and tells us that G-D created man in His image. The use of two different words lets us know that there is an intentional differentiation between the “let us make” in verse 26 and the “G-D created” in verse 27.
If I am correct and the intention of G-D was to invite the angels and humanity into the “making” of man, then our lives take on an even greater meaning that we might have thought. Just think about the responsibility we have been given as disciples. Every interaction we participate in involves us in part of G-D’s project of making man. From the moment we wake up until we lay down at night, each person we contact, we speak to, we smile at every interaction affects change in the heart and life of each person we touch with our lives. Just think for a minute, if a part of the purpose of our being born, is to help make those around us into the image of G-D, how much more should we consider our words and deeds.
If what I am proposing is true then each of us as believers has an even greater responsibility and role in the Kingdom of G-D. Whether at home, at work, at school, at synagogue or church, our words and deeds are a part of the master plan of the Potter making every man and woman into His image. What we say and do has eternal ramifications.
Before you get too concerned about messing up and causing irreparable damage in the process, remember two things. First G-D is still involved in the process of making man and second G-D in His infinite wisdom and knowledge chose you and me to be involved in the process.
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Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, God Has No Plan "B", and his most recent book Galatians in Context.