The Image.

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

This was a post started on August 27th, and just finished today (Oct. 5th).

I preached a message this past Sunday at the church my family and I attend.  The previous times I have spoken there I have taken a message that I have spoken before and have reworded it, updated it, re-tooled it for that context.  This time, however, I brought something completely new.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over and had some apprehension and nervousness about it.

I rarely speak a message without some amount of nervousness because I know I always come to a text with biases and certain lenses on how I read and understand the Bible, therefore, how I interpret it.  I will never, ever, be able to come to any text pure and free from bias.  Nobody can.  We can get close.  But we will always be influenced by something or someone.  This is not the point of this post.

The message was on stories.  How we tell stories is determined by how we begin our stories.  Far too often we have started the story, in the Christian tradition, with: you are a sinner.  In other words, we have started the story in Gen. 3.  We tell them, they are sinners who need forgiveness.  But is this the right beginning to the story?  And if not, where is?  And if another place is the right starting point how will that affect the trajectory of the story we do tell?

The story starts in Gen. 1.  Yet what tends to happen is we mine Gen. 1 for a whole bunch of scientific proofs that the Earth is only 8,000 or so years old, or that God created in a literal 24 hour, 6 day framework.  And we miss the beautiful truth that is being told.  I am not convinced that the Earth is young, and I am not convinced in a literal understanding of a 24 hour, 6 day creation (and yes, I still believe in the historicity and literalness of other biblical stories, I still believe in the virgin birth, the work/miracles of Jesus, his death on a cross, his literal resurrection, etc.).  But I am not opposed to those ideas either.  And as fascinating as these issues are if this is where I get stuck concerning Gen. 1 – I am missing out on something very profound.  There are plenty of resources to help guide one in the intricacies of Gen. 1, but when we start with a young earth, instead of being created in God’s image we have already let a minor issue upstage the beautiful, wonderful reality of how we have been created in God’s image.

Gen. 1 tells me, bottom line, it was God who created.  I will leave the how and when to Him (since he was around at that time and I wasn’t)…he wants me to know, simply, that he created.  He created male and female.  And he created us in His image.  His likeness.  Why do people have value, and worth, and dignity?  God’s image reflected in us.  All of us.

Above all that God created he created female and male… his image.  Even the angels themselves have not been created in his image.  We are unique, we are valuable and we have incredible worth because of this image of God in us.

The story doesn’t start with being horrible sinners.  The story, properly, starts with us being creatively, lovingly fashioned into the image of God.


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