God’s Voice pt.2: Divine Gifts April 14, 2008Posted by Matt in God's Voice.
Tags: creativity, god, imago dei, logic, love, religion
Once upon a time, our prokaryotic ancestors of eons ago emerged from the primordial sludge and began that long, strenous track across the spectrum of time, weaving its way through life explosions and mass extinctions until finally reaching a new stratum of existence, that of modern man. Now, man was somewhat different from the other creatures, even those of his own mammalian family, for this being had certain traits far greater than those of his preceding stages. Compared to other living things of the day, man had ascended to a height of power that was near god-like.
We read the account of creation in the book of Genesis and, whether or not you believe it to be a highly accurate, scientific text in which the entire universe was begat in a mere 144 hours (and obviously from the paragraph above, I don’t), there is one bit of passage that really sticks out:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” Gen 1:26
What exactly does it mean to be the imago dei – the image of God? Does it mean, perhaps, that God is a bipedal humanoid being and we actually physically look like Him? Or does it maybe mean something else entirely?
No, I would say that the image of God is not necessarily found in outward appearances, rather, it is an inward trait, one that presents itself in our very being and it is present in every piece of humanity around the globe. In my view, God bestowed a bit of Himself, a portion of His divinity upon us when he granted us our existence as modern man. In doing so, we may even say that He relinquished a bit of his divine powers in order to bestow upon us these powerful presents. So, in what ways does the imago dei within us present itself?
Logic and Reason – While it may be said that other primates show some very rudimentary abilities to apply logic to a problem, it is human beings that have crafted and employed this gift from above. Just as God crafted the cosmos and set it into motion according to the carefully constructed laws of physics, concocted a table of elemental substances of which all known matter is contructed, and began living things along their arduous evolutionary trek, human beings then took and eventually shaped many of these forces to do their bidding – sometimes for good and sometimes evil, from the near-eradication of deadly diseases to the horrific power of the nuclear bomb.
Creativity – Is there any doubt that God is certainly a great and wondrous artist? Whether gazing upon the purple mountains majesty or looking into the far reaches of our galaxy or theorizing about the smallest particles imaginable, His greatly imaginative handiwork can be seen all about us. So, it stands to reason that this gift has given us nearly unimaginable works of beauty by the human hand in everything from the beauty of poetry to the elegance of mathematical proof to the works of classical painters and sculptors. Creativity is surely a trait of the divine.
Love – Perhaps the greatest and most often neglected of our astoundingly great gifts in our overly-individualistic Western culture is that of love and community. As the great poet William Blake once said:
“And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk, or jew;
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.”
To be continued…