What do you think it means that human beings were created in the image of God? Does that mean God has two arms, two legs, and a long flowing beard as depicted in the Sistine Chapel? (Here’s an interesting note: Michelangelo also painted a belly button on God, something that makes no sense on more than one level!). No, scripture does not imply a visual duplication of God; instead, it refers to the nature of God. Like God, human beings have the ability to 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 human beings the ability to commune with God, and that is the real reason God made us in God’s image. God desires a relationship with you and me and wants to be in fellowship with all of us.
In the same creation passage, God addresses our relationship with the earth. One reason God made us in God’s image is that we are responsible for caring for all of God’s creation. We are to be intermediaries between God and all of creation. How can we manage that unless we stay close to God; unless we think like God; unless we are able to fulfill the will of God? Part of having a relationship with God is having the right relationship with God’s creation…the two cannot be separated. We cannot seek a relationship with God and ignore or be ambivalent to God’s creation; and we cannot care of God’s creation properly without a relationship with God.
It just cannot be said enough: Being created in the image of God is an awesome gift, as well as a sacred responsibility.