For some reason, I have been hearing a LOT this semester about being created in the image of God. In my art seminar class, we discussed the difference between art and image, and what was more important in the Bible. We are the only ones of God’s creatures to be created in His image, but what does that mean? For some, it means that we also have the capacity to create. Or the capacity to be in relationship with God. Or the capacity for morality. Or the capacity to choose. Or the responsibility to God’s creation as stewards.
The last one was the focus for several days in my Environmental Ethics class. What does it mean to be created in the image of God? In ancient civilizations, images were the representations of the gods. We are the representation of God on earth. As God’s image bearer’s we are given the responsibility to care for creation. We are commanded to cultivate and keep, which can be translated as “serve and protect”. We have a responsibility to care for creation. But something we also learned in Environmental Ethics is that creation does not mean just the land. Rather, creation is all that God created, including humanity. We are not separate from the earth around us, but rather we are part of it and made of the same material.
We have a responsibility to care for creation. And as we are part of creation, we also have the responsibility to care for humanity. This idea became so clear tonight at the Art*Music*Justice tour concert, where Charlie Peacock spoke briefly on Genesis 1 and being created in the image of God. AMJT featured the artists Sara Groves, Brandon Heath, Derek Webb, and Sandra McCracken in addition to Charlie Peacock. AMJT was in association with International Justice Mission and Food for the Hungry. Tonight was all about justice and everything we can do to care for humanity. IJM works around the world to save families from slavery, to free little children from trafficking and sexual exploitation. Tonight we heard the stories of little girls who are rescued from brothels and the fears they continue to live with. But we also heard of the tremendous hope we have for the future because of all that we can do in the name of God.
As bearers of God’s image, we were given the responsibility to cultivate and keep creation. Tonight, I was reminded that we were given the responsibility to serve and protect humanity, our brothers and sisters who were also created in the image of God.
He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
– Psalm 146:7, NLT