Entry Level Theological Truth [7]

Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ Genesis 1:26

Some years ago I remember watching a news report on a fire at the Primate House of a major zoo. The newscast spent a significant amount of time – perhaps five minutes or so – discussing the calamity that befell the popular chimpanzees, apes, monkeys, and other primates. They even remarked that “grief counselors” were brought in to console the grieving employees.

The following story on the newscast concerned an elderly couple who died in a house fire the same day; they were allotted approximately forty-five seconds, and no mention was made of anyone to comfort their bereaved friends and relatives. Fully realizing that people can form strong attachments to animals – especially the cute, clever, or cuddly – this seemed to me to be a ghastly inversion of God’s creation order. Sadly, it is common in our modern culture to elevate beasts to the same level as humans; in some cases, they are even valued above mankind’s needs.

All Creatures Great And Small

Being created in God’s image invests humans with a dignity and destiny far beyond lower orders of creation like animals and plants. As things made by the Creator these lower life-forms are important and must not be misused. Nevertheless, mankind is made with rational and spiritual faculties to interact with their Maker in a relational way. We are created to know, worship, and serve the Lord.

Multitudes fail to see this exalted destiny, instead living as if they were beasts by deadening their consciences and living for their appetites, vain pleasures, and lusts. Rather than find their legitimacy in communing with their Creator, they live as if He is remote, impersonal, and uncaring. When in reality, God is personal and loving – as Paul words it:

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring. (Acts 17:26-28)

All Are Precious In His Sight

Because every person is created in God’s image, racism is demonstrated to be false. To value one race over another is to misunderstand Man’s worth to the Almighty. Regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, or nationality, all men are important, for they are all created for God. Of course, their value is greatly enhanced by the fact that the Son of God Himself became a sinlessly perfect man in order to redeem mankind through His sacrificial death on the cross and the triumphant resurrection and ascension afterwards (John 3:16.) Rather than obliterate mankind after the fall, the Lord took steps to preserve them for eternity as well as to elevate them to an enjoyment of life in His presence that was impossible before. By becoming a man, and identifying with the human race, God the Son shows us the importance that the triune Godhead places upon creatures made in the image of God.

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2 comments

  1. bettyshorten

    It is always distressing to us when the media exalt animals above humankind. Certainly we recognize that these are creatures made by God for His purposes, and to some extent for our enjoyment – But as you say, Man was made in the image of God and so “special” that He died to redeem us from our sin and its penalty.

    • Thanks Betty for your comment. There is a real push today to put animals and humans on the same level. My kids were watching a cartoon recently where a number of animals were rescued from what looked like certain death. Afterwards the commentator said “saving animal life is just as important as saving human life. Well, I beg to differ.

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