“And God said, Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:4)
Not quite angels, King David described humanity in a prayer, saying that we have been created “a little lower than the angels.” In the same breath, however, he notes that mankind has been crowned “with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:5).
What is that glory? That honor? In some ways greater than we will ever know, it is that we have been created in the image of God.
I attended a writer’s conference on the theme of “Write His Answer.” An unexpected theme arose during the keynote, as one speaker after another told stories of broken self-image and their continuing journeys toward recreating their identity.
Their stories made me cry. As though they were reaching to something inside me or a part of me that I could not recognize or remember. It was a response I did not expect, and set me on a sort of journey of my own, towards understanding broken or fragile parts of my identity and self-image.
The message in the keynote speeches all led to a single core, the idea of having been created in the image of God. And not only that, but the idea that the losses and the breakings and the hurt all work together toward a single purpose: that of transforming us into the image of Christ.
Made in His image at the beginning . . . and slowly, continually, often painstakingly, being transformed into the image of Christ.
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” the Psalmist asks. Lower than angels. Yet honored with the indescribable gift of a unique identity. An identity hard to grasp and even harder to accept in the midst of the brokenness and cruelty of the world.
But it is our true self. Our deepest self. And understanding that, accepting it, letting that beauty become the reality shaping who we are and who we believe we can become.