Life and the Image of God

Last Sunday my mom told me a cool way to remember what God made each day of creation.  The first three days were “making” days: light, water and sky, land and plants.  He built the structures necessary to sustain life.  Then He followed those with three “filling” days, and filled those structures with stars and moons, fish and birds, animals and people.  That makes it so much easier to keep all those days in order in one’s head!

massachusetts_nature_outside

I was surprised to encounter the very same concept in an article from the Desiring God blog this week.  It was an article on how husbands should love their wives, so after showing how God created structure and then filled it with life, it continued:

“Men are meant to create structures so that life can flourish. We create farms where the conditions can be perfectly calibrated to maximize the fruitfulness of the trees. We create ranches where animals can grow strong. We create financial structures where investments can reach their full potential. And, in the home, we create an environment where our wives and children can flourish in every area under God.” – Ben Stuart

How interesting that God first created a man “to create structures so that life can flourish” – and then from him the first woman, the “mother of all life.”  Eve’s very name means life!  Men and women need each other, for many reasons, but also because men generally create strong structures (which are empty by themselves), and women fill them with life (which needs a structure to flourish in).

I’ve also been thinking about femininity this week.  What makes a woman feminine?  There are many feminine qualities we could name, but which of them distinguish us from men entirely?  The first, biggest answer to those questions is that women are life-givers.  God has made us to give birth, to nourish those babies with milk from our own bodies, to kiss boo-boos and nurse sick children back to health.  We are homemakers, nourishers, caregivers, helpers, empathizers.  We enable people to thrive!  Of course men can do some of those things too (the exception being the whole “giving birth and breastfeeding” thing), and the talents of women are not limited to this short list of attributes.  We can certainly create structures too.  But giving and promoting life is something women are especially good at, an area where we excel, because God made us to reflect that part of His nature.

Writers also give life, in our own way.  We take what exists only in our imagination and bring it to life on the page, so it can be alive for others to read.  We human beings are “sub-creators”, as J.R.R. Tolkien liked to say – any work of creativity is bringing something out of nothing, or shaping new things out of materials we possess, imitating God who created the world with His word.

Many believe we are products of random chance, evolved in a survival-of-the-fittest pattern where the unfit get left behind and die out.  But then how do they make sense of this?

“For all of our evolution, it has been the females who have cared for each other and helped each other learn how to birth and feed and love and raise strong babies. It has been the wisdom of women that has seen us through the darkest times in history, when survival was precious, and when our strength for each other was the key to our existence.” – Mayim Bialik

(Hey, look, women promoting life!  Even those who believe in evolution can’t deny that distinction between male and female.)  In a kill or be killed kind of world, why should primitive humans help each other?  Why help the neighboring cavewoman birth safely and help her learn how to feed her little cavebaby?  The child will just grow up to compete with yours for food and resources.  I suppose evolutionists would argue that primitive man found it helpful to live in supportive communities for security after a certain point.

But regardless, the fact remains that we live in a world where everything is falling apart.  People age and die, stuff breaks, things decompose, objects rust and wear, buildings crumble.  Fallen man is not naturally life-promoting – we are all prone to hatred, selfishness, and violence by our sinful nature.  When you take all factors into account, really it’s amazing that humanity hasn’t destroyed itself or died out by now.  (God’s sustaining and protective grace at work!)

So why do we still see people building things and helping others, making structure, filling it with life?  After all, it’s not only Christians who accomplish great things, have amazing creativity, or are good parents.  Even the wicked man knows how to give good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13), and God gives good gifts to believers and unbelievers alike, including talents and skills and a desire for a healthy, cooperative society.

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Shattered mirrors still reflect the light.  Even ugly sin can’t obscure His beautiful image completely.  Through all sinners’ bad intentions, evil desires, and wickedness, we still see flashing glimpses of a creative, life-giving God.

We’ve all seen things online…fifty photos that will restore your faith in humanity, 20 inspiring acts of kindness, and so forth.  As Christians, maybe we could retitle those in our minds when we see them.  “Fifty photos to refresh your faith in our Creator God!”

Fifty new reasons to glorify the Almighty Giver of Life.  Fifty reflections of our Maker’s love.  Fifty glimpses of the image of God in His creation.  Fifty tiny pictures of the love Christ has for us, that we should have for others.

Here’s one I found with 35.  Happy weekend to you all!  🙂

“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

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3 Comments

  1. netraptor001

     /  April 12, 2014

    Loved your thoughts today! I like the idea of creating structures, then filling them. That’s so awesome.

    Reply
  2. Beautiful insights! We are most fulfilled when we embrace our differences and uniqueness then when we try to fully take on the role of the opposite sex. I think many women would be surprised to find their womanhood could be so satisfying since the whole of society wants to either pridefully elevate or completely demean the role of womanhood.

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