Connecting the Dots: Tracing Our Image to Its Artist
by Karissa Weaver
Welcome to a mystery that has plagued the ages—that is: what exactly does it mean to be fully human? The deepest parts of ourselves—the overwhelming longings, keenest emotions, and most intimate thoughts—where do they come from and why are they there? Humanity has grasped at a myriad of answers and found dead-ends and brokenness. Blessed are we, the children of God, who have been given the truth. God said, “Let us make man in our Image, according to our likeness.” We—broken and deprived people—have traces of our Almighty God inside us; traces we can follow back to Him. What greater cause for wonder is there than this? I invite you, dear sisters and brothers, to come along with me and take a little peek at what this means for us.
Image-Bearers of Value
This means incredibly much for our identity. Everything, perhaps. God’s image inscribed upon us is our source of value—that which sets us apart from the rest of creation, and of utmost importance is its immutability. This source of value cannot be altered or lessened in any way. You see, God’s stamp on us isn’t something that can be rubbed off by the harshness of Earth. It is an innate part of us, forever. That makes you, every person you’ll ever meet, and all those that you won’t intrinsically valuable, forever. Little ol’ you and me, can you imagine? Each one of us so precious to God that He put a part of Himself in us.
These traces of God’s character can be found in You and every person with whom you ever enter conversation. No one got skipped. This is an exhilarating truth for me—that I can see the invisible God in His creation with which I talk and interact every day of my life. And then it is a sobering truth when I realize how many times I have scorned and ignored image-bearers of the God I claim to adore. Yet, there is hope. I sit here thinking of all the people I have yet to meet in my life; all for whom I can genuinely care because I know the truth of their value. I know its source.
Tracing the Image
The wonder does not stop there. Not only is God’s image a little window in each of us through which we can learn more about Him, it is a path that points each of us to intimacy with Him. Let me explain. We can observe in ourselves and the world around us some distinct traits of humankind: connection and relationship, emotions, spirituality, and intelligent thought to name a few.
Humans crave connection; it is widely accepted that humans need relationship of some level to be healthy. Emotions are significant in our lives, letting us experience reality. On a deeper level, everyone wants to find love and acceptance of themselves, whether consciously aware of it or not. The drive for spiritual connection can be seen throughout history in the myriad of religions that have been created, and man’s ingrained desire to worship something. Lastly is our ability to think intellectually and process information. Our world, we think, is driven by the gears of logic and reasoning; we look around and instinctively try to discover the laws by which it operates and how it all came to be.
The beauty and meaning in all of these traits is that, if followed, they lead us to God. Take relationship for one. Human relationships are flawed and broken, filled with pain and disappointment. God is the only One that can fulfill our weighty needs through relationship with Him. Following, that same relationship is the only thing that can bring stability to the whirling ups and downs of our emotions. The experience of being fully known and still loved brings ultimate peace and security, and the silver lining of His sovereignty makes joy possible in suffering. Worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth brings light to the darkness that, if left alone, permeates our beings. Lastly, our pursuit of logic and reasoning often leads us on a quest for its source. Why and how is there order in the universe and why do we care? The answer to that question is found in God, the creator of it all.
Complete the Image
This short list is by no means exhaustive. God has made us far more complex than what the means of any article can begin to uncover. There is always room for discovery, for deeper understanding of the purpose for which God has instilled certain desires and thoughts in us. But how can we find fulfillment when we often don’t understand our own selves, and can only sense that something’s not how it should be? I believe it can be found by looking at who God is and what He has done in the Bible, and asking His spirit to reveal to us a clearer picture of how we are meant to be completed by Him. “For His Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets…We have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” (1 Cor. 2:10, 2:12 NLT)
Is your mind swimming in wonder yet? Mine is drowning, and David’s testimony about God’s knowledge being too wonderful to attain comes to mind. Yet, as I write this, the lyrics of a song by Jess Ray play through my mind. “It may be too good to be understood, but it’s not too good to be true.” That simple sentence, friends, is the beauty in the wonder of the image of God. Let wonder pull us in as we follow God’s image to completion by its Artist. Let’s strive to stop the wrong of undervaluing that we so readily cast upon ourselves and each other. May we enjoy the mystery of it all, allowing it to lead us into worship of the One who “destroys the wisdom of the wise and discards the intelligence of the intelligent”, and who is “wisdom itself”. (1 Cor. 1:19, 1:30 NLT)
Karissa is a recent high school graduate in a big world, who wants to live life with her eyes wide open. She’s still in the process of finding her passions; but she loves to learn, enjoy the beauty in the world around her, and discover God’s truths through writing, people, and stories. Her home is Ohio, where she lives with her parents and two younger siblings.