What does it mean that we are made in God’s image? Does it mean that God has two arms, two legs, and a long-flowing beard as depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? (Notice that Michelangelo also painted a belly button on God, something that really makes no sense!). No, scripture does not imply a visual or literal duplication of God; instead, it refers to the nature of God. Like God, you and I can think and reason. We appreciate beauty and language. And, unlike animals, we have an inner sense of morality and the ability to grasp deep concepts. This gives us the ability to commune with God, and that is the real reason God made us in God’s own image. God desires a relationship with you and me and wants to have true relationship with all of humanity.
In the same passage of Genesis, God addresses our relationship with all creation. One reason God made us in God’s image is that we are responsible for caring for all God’s creation. We are to be an intermediary between God and all of creation. How can we manage it unless we stay close to God; unless we think like God, unless we are able to fulfill the purpose of God?
Part of having a relationship with God is having the right relationship with God’s creation. Being created in God’s image in an awesome gift, but it is also a sacred responsibility.