In the unlikely event that you actually read my post Saturday, you know that today we begin a bold adventure to the most far-flung frontier of human exploration in an attempt to find the answer to a question that all of us should be asking every single day: What is the significance of having been created in the image of God?
Simply because it might just contain the foundation upon which the entire ethic of Judeo-Christian thought is based upon. In other words, if this “image of God” thing is a big deal, it will have repercussions in every aspect of Biblical understanding as well as in the nature of life itself. On the other hand, if it doesn’t turn out to be a big deal after all, then at least you will know why.
Roughly 20 years ago, my eldest daughter brought home a notice from school. Apparently she mouthed off to one of her teachers who was teaching the class that they were the descendants of apes and monkeys, which in turn had evolved somehow from some kind of pond scum or something. It seems that my eldest, who has always been generous in sharing her opinions, blurted out: “You might be descended from an ape, but I was created in the image of God!”
If you are a parent, you know those times when you really just want to laugh… but you can’t.
That little notice invited me (or rather summoned me) to an interview with various school officials, and as you might imagine, that little interview didn’t go especially well, for they wanted to discuss forbidden subjects and forbidden opinions, and I thought it might be a nice time to glory in academic freedom and the free flow of ideas, and I was hoping to find out why they had such a great fear of such things… that of course, was before I stopped debating.
The funny thing is that in my view anyway, we do our young people a terrible disservice when we teach them that they have no particular reason for being, that are just another animal, say like a real smart dog or something; who really believes that? We see so many people who have serious emotional and psychological issues with self loathing, low self image and feelings of inadequacy; is it any wonder if we taught them they have no purpose in life? You see dear reader, even at this level, the philosophical implications of our basic understanding of who and what we are, are incredibly significant.
Many Christians assume that because of “The Fall” the impact of being created in the image of God was essentially cancelled out, for in its wake, we have become unclean, bad, filled with evil and essentially depraved. So here’s a question: Is that really true?
I mention that one, because essentially, that’s the way I was taught, and although I was pretty good at telling the professors what they wanted to hear on an exam, that has never quite rung true for me, and so I resolved that “one of these days” I was going on a journey of discovery to find out for myself what it means to be created in God’s image in the here and now; today I begin the journey, wherever it may lead, and no matter what doctrines or teachings of mine may crumble into dust as a result; from this point on, I know nothing until I discover it to be true in the pages of Scripture. There are no forbidden questions, topics or ideas; no taboos…
So fellow explorers, are you up for this?
Really? Are you sure? It could be scary, there might be dangers out there in the wild, some of our preconceptions are likely to be put to the test… are you sure you’re up for it?
If so, I’ll see you next time for our orientation session, and then at this time tomorrow, we’ll all meet together in the Garden of Eden to start from the very beginning. See you then!