God created humanity in God’s own image,
in the divine image God created them,
male and female God created them. (Genesis 1:27, CEB)
Familial resemblance is a heck of a thing. I was at dinner this week with some people from church and one of us was able to recognize our bus boy. It wasn’t because the church-goer actually KNEW the young man, but because she knew his father. “Are you the son of…?” she asked. “Yeah,” he replied with a downtrodden look.
I know this feeling well. When I was growing up I would often be confused with my father or older brother when I answered the phone. “Hello,” “Kirk, Kent?” “No, Will…” It can be a bit of a struggle growing up when you’re trying to come into your own personhood and you are continually confused with your family members. And what is more, when I look at pictures now, I can definitely tell my brother and I are related (NOOO!!!) It seems you can’t escape the family traits.
Someway, somehow, each of us is created in God’s image. We bear a family resemblance to the one who knits us together. We might not get confused in a restaurant or on the telephone, but there is something in us where others are supposed to see the Divine One. Similar to how you can’t outrun your heritage, you can’t outrun the fact that you were made in the image of God.
We can argue what the image of God looks like, and people have for millennia, but at a fundamental level, each of us possess that innate trait that connects us with the Creator. This can be a blessing in disguise, a way of dealing with rising tension as it bubbles up in dealing with others.
That person who always post ridiculous rants on Facebook, created in the image of God. That homeless man who is always on the corner, created in the image of God. That baby in the midst of a meltdown in the middle of the bread aisle, created in the image of God. The crazy uncle who spews conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory, created in the image of God.
It’s a challenge to each of us, to see God in the face of those we meet on a daily basis. We’re conditioned to stay in our cluster, haven, or group of like-minded people: those who think like us, talk like us, vote like us, believe like us, look like us. It can be easy to judge those who are different, who don’t fit into our preferential categories and deem as “less than.” But at a fundamental level, each of us has inherent value, no matter the categories we put each other in, and that breaks down any division among us.
We can’t escape our familial resemblance, the things which bind us to one another. We are all created in the image of God.