Yesterday, Sandra looked at the incommunicable attributes of God – “These are qualities of God that He does not share with creation. They are unique to Him. I like to think of these as the reasons God is God (and of course, the reasons I am not God!).”
God is utterly distinct from His creation – He is unique; nothing and no one can be equated with Him! Yet, as this completely independent, immutable, eternal, omnipresent God created this limited and temporal world bound by space and time, He imprinted His creation with shadows of His glory. In the midst of this new world He placed two created beings who were set apart from the rest of God’s creation. These human beings were created not just by God’s hand but also in His very image.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
In His image. This phrase does not mean that we were created to look like God physically, but rather that mankind was imprinted with “communicable attributes” of God – the reality of who He is is pictured on a small scale in His creation of humanity.
- God is righteous and just, and we have a conscience and sense of justice.
- God is sovereign, and He entrusts us with a will and responsibility.
- God is a God who speaks, who communicates; we have thoughts and feelings and the ability to communicate them in a variety of ways.
- God is love, and we have the capacity to love and be loved.
- God is triune, and the persons of the Godhead exist in an eternal harmonious relationship; mankind is relational and created for relationships with other people.
So what? What difference does it make to understand God’s communicable attributes?
Mankind is fallen and sinful, but we are still in His image. He has entrusted us with the ability to make decisions, to choose our path, to cause real change and impact the world around us for good or for evil – and for the most part, He allows our actions and decisions to stand. Humanity was created for relationships, intended to show real love for one another as God Himself is love, intended to communicate powerfully and clearly with those around us, intended to steward this glorious earth that God created.
People are not inherently good, but they are inherently valuable.
Humanity has worth and value not because of what we produce or contribute, but because we have been created in His image. Even the unborn, who have not yet produced or contributed anything, or the elderly, ill, or disabled who may be viewed by our society as an inconvenient drain on resources. God has imprinted us with His image – it may be marred by sin or hidden by physical or mental limitations – but human life matters to God. It should matter to us.
Someday, those of us who know the Lord Jesus will stand in God’s presence free of sin, free of limitations in our glorified bodies. On that day, we will see Him in His glory, and His image will be clearly visible in His redeemed people.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 1:2
All month we will be asking “so what?” about important doctrines in the Christian faith. So, what do you think? What difference do you think understanding the attributes God shares with humanity should make in our lives?