So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them [Gen 1:27, NLT]
The fact that we are made in the Image of God marks us out from all other living creatures. It distinguishes us from all other living creatures on the one hand and indicates our family resemblance to our heavenly Father on the other. But what does it mean to be made in the Image of God?
The Image of God in human beings means that we are intelligent and creative far beyond any other creatures. We also have a self-awareness that animals do not have. God is not only the great artist who made creation beautiful, but has made us in his image so that we can appreciate beauty. Beauty, awe and wonder are experienced only by humans. Not only that, we ponder the meaning of our existence, evaluate our actions and consider their impact on our future destiny.
A crucial aspect of our being made in the Image of God is our desire for meaningful and lasting relationships. In fact the dominant theme of human existence, reflected in stories the world over, is about relationships…Love. Life and love go together so closely that the breakdown of relationships is the single biggest cause of people wanting to commit suicide. God in Christ alone offers us a vision of love that elevates and redeems human life.
The Image of God in human beings also means that we are moral creatures and incurably spiritual or religious. Whereas conscience is a major aspect of our humanity, animals have no natural sense of guilt or awareness of good and evil choices. Human beings are thus the ultimate image-bearers – creative, thinking, artistic, moral, relational beings, who hunger after God. The Image of God in us not only helps us to see who we really are, but also reveals God to us. However, it is fully and perfectly revealed only in Jesus: …the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. [John 1:18].