Last time we considered the story of the Creation as it is recounted in Genesis Chapter 1. In {bible}Genesis 1 v.27{/bible} we read that "God created human beings, making them to be like himself." So what does this mean? In a few moments you might like to jot down what you think it means before considering the following:

 

  • Does God look like us? For some this is an appealing thought: that God looks like us in earthly appearance. It is an intriguing thought but possibly a distraction, just as the resulting question of "Is God male or female?" can also be, when perhaps it is enough to know that God's parenting skills are second to none: He is like a good father should be. He cares for us, without our needing to worry about His appearance or gender. Since He has also made people as male and female, the most important point that follows is that He is able to identify equally with both genders. Neither gender should therefore think themselves superior to the other: both are equal and equally valued by God.
  • Which leads to the second point: that people can relate to God. We are made to belong to Him and to one another. Just as God takes responsibility for us and provides for our needs so we need to look after one another.
  • People can think like God can. We can reason, plan, decide, and reflect.
  • People can know the difference between right and wrong, as God does. We have the capacity to make right and wrong decisions.
  • People can create and care for things, as God does.
  • People represent God on earth, and have a responsibility to be like God. In Genesis 1 v.26 we read that humanity "will have power (or dominion as some translations put it) over the fish, birds, and all the animals, domestic and wild, large and small." Verse 28 emphasises this by stating that "I am putting you in charge..."

Of these points, perhaps the last five are the more significant, since in our thoughts, behaviour and actions we can most closely emulate God, or alternatively make the wrong choices. Just as God has the capacity to choose to do things of His own freewill, so we too also have this capacity.

This incidentally also offers a partial explanation for some of the suffering in this World, a great deal of which is caused by human decisions. Where greed, envy, distrust and war occur, then wrong human choices are to be found. God could undoubtedly stop this, but were He to do so by continual forceful intervention in every choice that we make, then we would lose the capacity that God has given to us to make and take decisions, as well as that other vital gift: the ability to learn. God will not control all of us like some celestial puppeteer, although He can guide us and assist us through prayer where we invite Him to guide us in our decisions: another reason why prayer is vital to Christians. Through making right choices we have the ability to undo the evil brought about by wrong ones, although this may take longer than we think sometimes.

This serves to emphasize the importance of the final bullet point above. We have been made stewards of this planet, which is a vital role. God was pleased with what He had made, and He has entrusted it to us for us to look after. God's Creation is special and to be valued, and He has given us the capacity to make the most of it. We need to take care of it and one another by trying to make the right decisions.

Chris Noyce