I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Atlantic Ocean.
It was the summer after first grade, and we’d gone to the beach over a long weekend. The ocean was the biggest thing I had ever seen, and I felt small and awed all at once.
I remember feeling that way again as a teenager, sitting at the end of a pier on Lake Michigan late one summer evening. I stared out at the sky, counting stars and remaining still and quiet long enough to take in the enormity of the expanse above me.
And finally in adulthood, with my forehead pressed against the cool plastic of the airplane window, I watched from a bird’s-eye view as the mountains, canyons and deserts of the western states passed slowly beneath me. It was almost too marvelous to be real. I felt small, I felt awed—these were impressive moments.
But none of these—not the ocean, not the sky, not the snow-capped mountains or the God-carved gorges—bear the image of the Creator Himself. Indeed, the Bible tells us “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1) and the rocks will cry out to praise Him if we will not (Luke 19:40). But that’s the thing: we get first dibs. When God created the world, He saved the best for last.
There is so much to say and study about what being made in God’s image means, but foremost for us today is this:
Being an image-bearer is our greatest calling.
It’s a call to an ever-deeper relationship with our Creator. As humans, we have the unique capacity to know God and to have relationship with Him. (And do not be mistaken, every man and every woman has some kind of relationship with God.)
It’s a calling to see worth, value, and dignity in every human, no matter how sinful or distorted or far from God. To devalue any human being—even yourself— is to deny her intrinsic worth as an image-bearer of the Creator.
It’s a call to reflect Him. Mankind has the unique capacity to reflect God like nothing else in all creation. Though our sin defaces us, we were originally created to see God Himself in each other. We are called daily to our God-reflecting potential.
It’s a call to accountability to the One whose image we bear. God gave both man and animals the task of being fruitful and multiplying, but He charged man with dominion over every living thing and gave them a law to obey (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:16-17, Psalm 8:6-8).
As we will learn tomorrow when our original glory is diminished by original sin, being an image bearer is a call back to humanness in its purest form. God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” and His creation was complete and good (Genesis 1:26, 31). In a sense, these same words are spoken over us every day of our lives because of who we are in Christ. We are “being renewed in knowledge according to the image of [our] Creator,” day by day (Colossians 3:9-10).
This is what salvation is. God is making us ever new, ever more complete—today, on this 4th day of August, just like He did on the sixth day of creation. He is restoring His likeness in us.
He is making us a new creation!