Who am I?” Probably all of us ask that question at some point in our lives. Deep down, we know this is one of those big questions that needs to be answered. Identity informs and determines one’s actions. We seem to know this instinctively.
It matters where we go, and whom we seek out, for the answer. Answers will vary depending on who we ask.
The right source for the answer
With the conviction that God is creator of the universe, maker of man, eternal planner who has his purpose nailed down from A to Z, we can find some specific information to guide us in this search. Since the first conviction carries with it the reasonable conclusion that one could expect this God to share something of his plan with his creatures, we can go to his revelation to discover the answer. That revelation is the Bible.
The Bible carries all the marks of the divine hand. While written by some 40 men over a period of centuries, it shows an amazing unity of purpose and a consistency of approach, even with the different styles of writing and literary forms.
The Bible is free from error. Some people affirm that “you can prove anything by the Bible.” Indeed, people have taken statements from the Bible, out of context, to make all sorts of wild and obviously false statements. But other documents have been abused this way as well. The truth is that you cannot prove anything by the Bible, because, properly understood, the Bible has a specific, identifiable, accurate body of teachings accessible to any person willing to put forth the effort.
So it is to the Bible we must go to discover the answer to the question, “Who am I?”
Created in God’s image
The first stop for our answer is in the first pages of the Bible, Genesis 1.26. After the first account of the creation of the world—the second account comes in chapter 2—the crowning moment arrives,
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
“In our image.” Scholars have put forth all kinds of theories about what this means, but it’s sufficient to say that being made in God’s image means that we are able to relate to him as no other creature can.
Just as God is sovereign and rules over all, he made everything subjected to humankind’s dominion. It’s a sign that the world—and the whole universe—was made for man.
Jesus said that “God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” Jn 4.24. No other creature can do that. We have spirits, or souls, and through that inner awareness, that innate capacity to learn, think, reason, feel, decide, and act, we are able to have a relationship with God. It was man, and only man, who was put in the Garden of Eden, which served for the first couple as that meeting place and blessed fellowship with the Creator.
This makes every single human a precious being. Every person carries the stamp of God in his soul. Everyone has the capacity to walk with God, to love and be loved by him, to understand him and be blessed by him. Yes, God loves the world, as a whole, Jn 3.16, but he loves each individual as well. After all, he knows the number of hairs on the head of each person, Mat 10.30.
Being created in God’s image, therefore, makes a powerful start to answering the question of our identity in this world. But there’s more.
Lord permitting, next Monday we’ll explore this question further. Stay tuned!