Genesis 1:26 famously describes all humans as being created in the image of God. The essence of what it means to be human is to be an image bearer of God. Additionally, the goal of God’s working in the lives of Christians is found in Romans 8:29 where the Bible teaches that we are “predestined to be conformed to the image” of Jesus. Obviously we are not God, but in what ways are we like God? What are the practical daily implications of being made in the image of God?
Many scholars believe that the famous mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes pulled Western Civilization out of the Dark Ages with the idea “I think, therefore I am.” Most recognize that our ability to reason is central to what it means to be human. Humans, unlike animals, sense that we sense.
Creation is another aspect of what it means to be human. Genesis 1:26 is part of the creation account where God speaks things into existence. The first thing that we learn about God is that he is a creator. If we are like God, then we must also be creators. Humans, unlike animals, start coffee shops and birth families and paint pictures and grow companies and make movies. Genesis 1:26 expands on this idea of creation and extends it to caring for the world. We are commanded to “have dominion” over creation. Humans are thinkers and creators, but are also to care for the things we create.
But, what are the practical implications of being creators and caretakers? There are endless applications of these ideas. But, one implication of all these truths is that each of us is valuable to God and loved by God. Many times we try to parse out the meaning of being created in the image of God and forget that this truth means that you are valuable to God.
At different points in all of our lives we will feel shame over something we have done. We might feel unworthy based upon our thoughts or our actions or something awful that has happened to us. In these moments we need to believe that our worth is not based upon what we do…but whose we are.
In those moments of shameful feelings or unworthy feelings or depressed feelings, remember that you are inherently valuable to God Himself. He created you in his image, you are his workmanship, you are his great work of art that he is passionate about. We have young children and when they disappoint us they are never a disappointment to us. Deep in our hearts they are always beloved. Likewise, because you are created in his image, you are loved by him. You are inherently valuable because you have been given the image bearing stamp.