A friend recently told me that the statement that people are “made in God’s image” was “the biggest lie in the Bible.” He said that if God is just and good, but people are so evil, how could we possibly be “made in God’s image”?
I’ve continued to chew over that statement, which I found to be pretty thought-provoking. The fact is, we are indeed made in God’s image; the Bible says so. When God made people and the world, everything was perfect and “good” (with the creation of people described as “very good” in contrast to the rest of creation.) As beings who are made in God’s image, we have the capacity to make choices, but with that capacity, we chose to do evil, so the evil of humans is not part of being made in his image, it is merely enabled by us having free will, as He does.
As for creation, with the failure of humanity and being banished from Eden, nature changed to reflect the brokenness of the relationship between God and people, the pain of it, the consequences of it, and the death that we now earned (physical and spiritual death, pain in childbirth and being regarded under men for women, and struggle in lifelong work.) However, even within the passage where humanity receives the consequences of sin, even then, God foretells the plan of redemption through Jesus, and that evil might hurt, but goodness will triumph through the messiah (“He will crush [Satan’s] head, though he will bruise his heel.”) Other parts of the Bible also talk about how creation will be restored, and made even better.
God then set up the pattern of death as payment being necessary for restoration, like on the future cross. He made clothing for Adam and Eve out of animal skins (something had to die) to cover them, because they were ashamed and the fig leaves they sewed together were useless.
In all fairness, people have debated what exactly it means to be “made in the image of God” for centuries. I tend to hold with the idea that it is referring to our eternal souls, with our spirits/personalities, minds, and bodies also somehow a reflection of God’s character and glory, even if it is only symbolic. However, one thing all the believers agree on, is that the wickedness, selfishness, pettiness and vindictiveness of mankind is definitely not part of being “made in His image.”
So Peace Family, what does this mean to us? It means that you matter and you are valuable. You are made in the image of the Greatest Being to ever exist! It also means that the people you dislike and full-blown enemies, even if they are failing to act in the good capacity that God designed for them, are also made in his image. This is why murder and hatred are wrong.
So, if you struggle with your self-worth, remember it today, Peace family: you are precious and made in God’s image!