On the first page of scripture, the Bible affirms this fundamental truth: we are created in the image of God.
Over the years, few things have captivated my imagination quite like this little phrase. The Imago Dei is rife with implications for our understanding of ourselves, our being, our purpose, and our world. I believe it to be one of the most important truths ever revealed from the heart of God.
One of the most profound indicators of the divine image we bear is our ability to love and to be loved in return. (Sounds very “Moulin Rouge”, I know. But it’s true.) God exists in eternal relationality – Father, Son, and Spirit bound together in love. Out of that eternal love, God chose to create. God chose to create a space uninhabited by Himself, which is the first grace. Out of nothing — ex nihillo — God brings “something”. And not just something — God creates someone. I AM creates being out of the ultimate reality of His eternal Being, the Person creating persons to share in His divine image. But all of this activity that is recorded on the first pages of Scripture, this activity that is encoded in the DNA of the universe, all this creating and sustaining and speaking forth light and earth and sky and sea and calling it “good”…all of this springs from the reservoir of God’s eternally defining characteristic: His love.
And so, too, in our lives. All our creating, all our sustaining, all our begatting and birthing and naming newborn babes and rearing them…all of this springs, too, from love. Today I held my youngest son in my arms and I looked deep into his eyes, blue eyes staring back at mine. And it struck me today that this little Image-bearer we call Jackson (or Jack, or Jack-Jack, or “Floppy head”, depending on the mood) only exists because his mother and I fell in love 15 years ago. From the wellspring of that love — an extraordinary love that was developed and refined in so many “ordinary” malls and restaurants and movie theaters and conversations and experiences over the years — comes another life, a soul whose existence bears witness to the love that preceded it.
Love begets life.
Surely we are more than bundles of neurons and tissue; we are more than voters and consumers; we are more than laborers and earners; we are even more than conquerors. We are bearers of the Divine Image, our love begetting life.