Thank-you to Carl Shank for his earlier Devotional series on Wisdom. I look forward to this Devotional series on Bearing the image of God, a topic which the Emerging Scholars Network will give focused attention to in the coming months as we frame A Theology of Higher Education. To God be the glory! ~ Thomas B. Grosh IV, Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26) The most Hebraic understanding of this Bible verse is that humankind was created to be “like” God, not identical to God but similar to God and representing God. This is borne out in the usage of the terms in Genesis 5:3 where Seth was in the “image” and “likeness” of his father, Adam. Seth was “like” his father, Adam, not identical but similar to Adam. Perhaps he had the same color of hair or eyes or was built like his father, or had the same temperament or disposition. What does it mean to be “like” God? How should we bear the image of God? This series of devotionals seeks to capture some of that majesty and mystery.
We are “like” God in creative energy and design. Richard Goosen and Paul Stevens put it this way: “As workers, human beings are called to extend the sanctuary (the Garden) into the world, to ‘fill the earth’ (Gen. 1:28) by not only populating creation with more human beings but filling it with the glory of God by humanizing the earth through creative work. We do this through inventing better cell phones, farming the land, designing improved computer programs, developing educational programs and creating better images.” (Entrepreneurial Leadership, InterVarsity Press, 2013, p. 84) Like God, we exert creative energy and innovation to complete His creative work on earth. That is part of our image likeness and image responsibility. To see work and study as anything less is to adopt a dumbed down understanding of bearing the image of God.
God wants us to work, to study, to create. He blesses and honors that work and calls it “good” as we imitate Him and seek to honor and glorify Him. This applies to all kinds and types of work, from hands-on to the most sophisticated thought processes which we can devise. Often, this exalted view of work extending the image of God is lost in the secular, daily grind of life or just getting a paycheck. We are much more than extensions of the animal kingdom and are defined much more fully than “hunters” or “gatherers.” We are God’s sons and daughters, agents of the King of Glory filling this earth with His work.
This week, dear God help me find the “good” in my work so as to extend Your image in me in my world. Give me a God-honoring and kingdom building viewpoint and philosophy as I seek to serve You each and every day of my life.