|READ GENESIS 1:26-28. For further reflection, read Genesis 2:15-25.|
With the advent of smartphone cameras, selfies are now commonplace in our lives. We have the wonderful blessing to taking a photo of ourselves to remember events or places we have been. This also allows us to share those photos with loved ones. We trust that these photos are faithful representations of who we are and the places that we have been. In other words, these photos are “images” of the real people and places.
In our reading today, we read of God creating mankind in God’s own image. Mankind is the only creation that God made out of his image and likeness (v24, 27). While plenty of books have been written on exactly what this image entails, it is clear from the passage that it generally refers to mankind’s capacity for (1) relationships, and (2) rulership. As Christians, we recognize the Trinitarian nature of our God, three persons in one being, existing in happy communion and relationship for all of eternity past. Mankind are relational beings, just like our God is (v26-27). We are designed for communities, to have strong relationships, and to enjoy deep friendships.
Another aspect is our capacity to rule (v26-31). However, it is not the tyrannical rule that we often hear about in the news. Rather, it is a rulership of love and care, just like our God. Mankind is called to be “fruitful and increase in number”, and to care for (and not exploit) God’s creation. Thus, we are God’s image-bearers in our world today. We are meant to reflect who God is, just like how a photo is supposed to reflect who we are.
Mankind then is meant to be the ruler and stewards of God’s creation. We are meant to reflect God’s loving-kindness in creation together. However, it is clear that it is not meant to be limited to merely one generation. We are to have offspring (“fruitful and increase in number”). Thus, this ruling and stewardship of creation is a multi-generational design, with each generation reflecting the attributes of God’s goodness and kindness in their stewardship.
At the heart of this reflection is the unchanging nature of who God is. By our very own nature, we are an ever-changing being, just like everything else in all of creation. Each generation, while retaining some semblance of the previous generation, is different and unique in its reflection of who God is. On the other hand, God never changes. He is immutable.
The unchanging nature of God may not be the first attribute that we think about when we think about God. However, the immutability of God is great news for us. This means that we do not have to figure out how much God has changed with each generation. The God that the Old Testament saints worshipped is the same God that we worship today. Our circumstances and world may be completely different, but the one whom we worship is still the same.
It also means that when God is completely faithful to his promises. Because he is unchanging, he will never fail in his promises to us. Thus, as image-bearers of God, we reflect an unchanging God. However, there is no one who is able to reflect God perfectly in this world because of sin. We are like corrupted images, marred and tainted by sin. This is why the Christmas event is so remarkable – God himself comes down in the person of Jesus Christ and becomes the true and faithful reflection of who God is (cf. Col 1:15-20). He’s the one who rules with love and care by dying for his people. He restores our broken relationship with God through his death and resurrection.
- Praise God that he is the unchanging and immutable God
- Praise God that he is forever faithful to his promises to us
- Pray that we will continue to grow in our Christlikeness as we celebrate the coming of Christ