Faith & Co. | Image and Likeness of God (Jeff Keuss)
Articles


(dramatic music) – I think one of the most
important things we do is we interact with each
other as human beings it’s remind how do we see
each other and what’s called being made in the image
and likeness of God. In Genesis one, 26 and 27, God
pronounces that human beings have been made in the image and likeness. Okay, and those are two powerful
words in the Old Testament, in the Torah scroll. To be made in the image and
in the Latin many people are familiar with imago
dei, the image of God, means an idealized sense of
gifting that human beings have been given. And one of the primary
things that differentiates a human being from all
other parts of creation is our freedom to both
turn into the nature of God but also to turn away from
the way we’ve been created. It’s a unique things that
human beings have amongst all of creation by being
stamped with this image of God is this unbelievable freedom. So where dogs, cats, snakes,
bushes, are kinda bound into the created order
in a particular way, human beings can actually be inhumane. We can step away from kind of
what we were created to do. We can imagine possibilities
that even go beyond our capacity as limited human
beings to even actualize. Right, so we can have fantasies. We can imagine other worlds. And we can also take
that imaginative power, that freedom into unbelievable
areas of charity and grace. All of this is an image
of God thing, right? This amazing capacity
to freely imagine things and then act upon it in
really profound ways. Being created in the likeness of God is how we live out the image, right? So do I live in a certain
way that moves me away from being like God in my
values, in my practices, in my economic spending, right? So that’s the tension point
that human beings live in. They have this ideal of an
image that they hold out for themselves but through
brokenness, through distractions, through pain, through loss, through shame, through suffering,
through bad mentorships, through systematic or institutional evils that maybe constraint us,
human beings move away from that image and their
likeness becomes distorted. They become bent. In Washington State, if you go
on the Washington coastline, you’ll see these gorgeous madrone trees. And if you’ve ever been
around a madrone tree you’ll realize how powerful a madrone is. You can’t even cut it with an
ax, it’s such a dense wood. When there’s fires, madrones are the first things to survive. They won’t even burn that deeply, right? They’re incredibly tough. But the madrone trees
on the Washington coast have been hit by 70 and
80-mile an hour winds all winter long, right? And those winds push against
these trees as they’re trying to grow and they become these
twisted, gnarly, bent things that are quite beautiful on one level because of their survival instinct. They literally clutch
onto the side of cliffs. Their tenacity is amazing
but if you put that same tree in a vacuum without those winds buffeting it would grow straight up. And we as human beings are
like those madrone trees. The context we’re around,
the systems, and you think of this in terms of
companies or institutions can constrain, bend, and
force people into a mold of becoming something
other than what their image was creating them to be. So when we work alongside
human beings, we remember these tensions all are always at place. There’s a certain image
we’ve been created for but the likeness that we may
be receiving is not in line with that at all. So sensitivity around employer
or manager relationships for example, right? When we have people who
come into our workplace and working with us, their
likeness may not be aligned with some of the images
that we would hope for and maybe want. But what is their story? Where did they come from? What did they overcome
to get to this place? May help us appreciate that
they’re moving in a direction of image that may take more
work than some other people. (dramatic music)

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