The Bible says we are created in the “image of God.” For many years I thought this meant that our basic human configuration with a body, head, extremities and five senses. My view of this has expanded greatly over the years and my current thinking is that we are very “God like,” not only in physical characteristics, but more importantly in our mental abilities and characteristics. Here is why my thoughts about this have expanded.
The overarching theme of the Bible reveals that the purpose of our existence is to have eternal fellowship with God. We were created by Him and for Him. According to Webster, the word “fellowship” means: “Companionship, a community of interest, activity, feeling, or experience.” Most of us (like God) have a longing for fellowship and it is a rare person who continually wishes to go solo. Here is an illustration to hopefully reveal that in order for true fellowship to function both parties need to have fairly equal attributes.
My wife and I have a female Pug-dog named, Lily. We have had Lily since she was 8 weeks old, and like most dogs, Lily has many loving ways. She is always happy to see us, wanting to be near, etc. She sleeps on the bed with us and in the morning if I stir a bit rousing myself awake she will come closer to my face, staying maybe 12 inches away and just look at me. As I stir a little I can feel her little circle of a tail fluttering happily. If I go back to sleep (as I often do) she will just retreat a bit, curl up and go back to sleep. I think that her consideration in not forcing herself on me is both unusual and very enduring. On another occasion (with summer temperatures above 100 degrees) I’ve seen Lily sitting in the hot sun because she thought I was in the garage and she wanted to be with me. Yes it was hot but it was my heart that melted when I saw her waiting for me. It is actions like this that we interpret as love and why she is wrapped tightly around our hearts. It is interesting to me that, although Lily and I are light years apart in our intellectual capability, the love and affection is still able to flow between us.
But when considering the concept of “fellowship,” even though Lily has our hearts, we will never be able to experience true friendship or fellowship. Why? Because our intellectual abilities and our inability to communicate prevent us from engaging in true fellowship. God desiring fellowship prescribed that we would share many of His attributes, but of course a lot less in scope. Creative attributes like thinking, designing plans, organizing a project and the skill to craft the thing that our minds once only imagined are a few examples. We also share emotional attributes like love, empathy, grief, laughter, appreciation, anger and we can communicate these feelings to each other.
So why do I think that God was doing a “risky business” by making us so much like Him? Because most humans with these “God-like” attributes who are placed in a position where they could choose, would not choose to have a relationship with their Creator and be under His authority. It is more likely that they would choose to be “their own god” (at least in their minds). That somehow they are smarter than what they sometimes even term: “the big guy in the sky.” These souls cannot he humbled out of their self-imagined god status even while knowing the immensity and complexity of creation. Even as they experience the slow breakdown of their bodies during the seasons of life, it fails to convince them that they are not in control. With chins held high they pass through this life into death and smack into the realization that they are not gods and not in control. They have in fact been eternally deceived and lured away from God, by their own pride. Sadly, the pseudo-gods fail to understand that if they would put aside their own faux-lordship and accept their legitimate place in God’s plan as one that is “loved to death” by God, they would have what they actually desired; God-ship as a son or daughter of the eternal family of God. When Adam and Eve were offered the prize that they could “be like gods” they failed to recognize that while clothed in God’s righteousness, they were already “like God.” There was no need to upgrade.
The poem, Invictus by William E. Hensley, embodies the attitude of these pseudo-gods. The poem’s last stanza goes as follows:
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
Yes, it’s great to be the “captain” unless your name is Joseph Hazelwood (the Captain of the Exxon Valdez). People that identify and embrace the attitude of this poem will find out about 2 seconds after they die that indeed they were the “masters” and “captains” who have steered the “ship of their soul” into the rocks. That despite clear warnings, their arrogant pride misguided them and now has left them eternally shipwrecked. For us that are still plying the tricky waters of life, it is always best to have God on-board as your “Pilot.” You will never end up on the rocks and you’ll definitely will sleep better during the stormy weather that life always brings.
— Scripture References —
Image of God: Genesis 1:27 & 9:6, 2 Cor. 4:4
Fellowship: Revelation 21:3-4, 1 John 1:3
God and pride: Proverbs 6:16-17 & James 4:6
Adopted: Gal. 4:5 & Eph 1:5