Into the Same Image

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness” (Genesis 1:26a). “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
My wife Brenda has a beautiful ceramic figurine given to her by a close friend from France. Our friend told her, when she presented the gift, that the figurine was crafted and painted by the same person who made the mold, therefore qualifying the figure as a legitimate piece of art. It is signed accordingly. I understand that the true craftsmanship (and value) is attributed to the mold, rather than the final resulting figurine.
Why do Christians ascribe such a high value to individual human life? We are almost unique among religions and philosophies in so doing. Most follow the principle of “the greatest good of the greatest number.” Individuals may be and are sacrificed for “the people.” Unless one is of particular wealth, prominence, or power, his life makes little difference.
Not so among Christians. Jesus proclaimed, “You are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31). The reason for this is simple. It is about the mold, not the figure. We are children of the eternal Creator, made in his image, from the mold provided by him. Every person is lovingly crafted by God who gives him life (Acts 17:25,26). Because of the image after which we are made, we are beyond price.
But that is only part of the power of the concept. Paul teaches that although our image has become tarnished, we have the ability to reclaim it and become more like the original mold than sin has left us. Many have heard the story of the young boy who is being scolded and told of his mistakes and faults. His defense was simply, “God is not finished with me yet.” How true this is. We are “works in progress.” No matter how imperfect and flawed we may be, there is still time to make corrections and improve the final product. We do this by looking upon Jesus. He is our model, “the express image of his (God’s) person” (Hebrews 1:3). By studying the life of Jesus and staying in his presence, we are changed so that we are more and more like him — more and more perfectly made in the likeness provided by the mold of creation.
And that is God’s art. His ultimate and best work of creation. David marveled,
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet…” (Psalm 8:3-6).
Redeemed humanity is the goal of God’s creative purpose. There is value that perhaps only God can appreciate or assess. But it is there. Man, made in and restored to his image, is true art. And each of us is capable of reaching that lofty status, if we simply seek Jesus.

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