Ever wondered how everything began? How did the solar system begin? Why is Earth the only planet capable of sustaining life? Why are people afraid of snakes? Why do women have so much pain in childbirth? How did sin, evil and death originate? We humans have tried to answer these questions for centuries. Our answers come, however, out of an extremely limited lifespan; therefore, our answers are questionable and incomplete. The writer of Genesis got it all right; he got his information straight from Almighty God -- who was the only One present at the beginning and who was the One who initiated and designed how everything began.
Genesis states, "In the beginning, God created everything! And as His greatest achievement, God created Man and Woman -- created them in His own likeness (imago Dei)." God created each one of us in his own image -- that's who we are and that's Whose we are! So, what does it mean to be made in the image of God?
We are wonderfully made! We are a whole and a complete person made up of a body, a mind and a soul. Body, mind and soul are meshed together so that what affects one part of us also affects the other parts of us. We are human beings; we are not divine. We were created by God for a purpose: to worship God, to love and revere God, to serve God, to work alongside God, to obey God, to have fellowship with God, to be creative like God and to think and act like God.
God gave us a body. Every "body" is unique; no two persons in all of history are exactly alike; our fingerprints, our voice prints, our DNA are unique to us. We are different in size, shape and appearance -- yet in some ways we are alike: same body parts, brains, souls. We don't have a clue as to what the "perfect body" looks like! We do know that, for the faithful, we will be resurrected from the dead and will be given a "new" body which will be glorious and divine -- free from all pain, suffering and death. In the meantime, it's important that we be satisfied with the physical body we have. And to strive to keep our body healthy and whole, as befits the "temple of the Holy God!"
God is a God who delights in seeing life at its best! When He created Adam and Eve in His likeness, they were not afflicted with any kind of illness, disease or disability; in Eden, there was no violence or abuse or crime or destruction or death. Life, as God designed it, was totally free of all of these things. All of the above were caused by Adam and Eve's sin! God did not create the paralyzed man, nor the man born blind, nor the baby with heart problems, nor the autistic child; these afflictions are the result of the sin that is in the very societal air we breathe every day. We don't always understand how sin affects our lives, but it does.
God has given us a body. Our body is a holy gift from a holy God. Let's treat our body well. God wants us to be healthy and whole. Let's be content with the body God gave us; we can't improve on what a divine, all-loving, all-wise God created!
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 07/12/2018
Print Headline: Imago dei