Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26
What does it mean to be made in God’s image? How are we like Him? This is complex, mysterious and hard to think about, but in this passage God is specifically referring to our supremacy over the rest of creation. He says we are to rule over all the animals of the earth, we are created to be unique above all that He has made.
We were created to have a special place with God. Even as He rules all of creation, He has put us in a position with that same kind of power and responsibility. Unlike the rest of His creatures we can reason and think, we can interpret our emotions, and we can acknowledge His existence. Being “in His image” is to help us grasp who God is. Sharing His likeness allows us to see and feel and touch who God is.
Because of this we can reason about who we are and who God is, we can feel and accept His love, and we can have a relationship with Him. It sets us apart from everything else in His creation. He made us in a way to be able to do those things. In those regards we are “like” Him.
When sin entered the world, our reflection of His image was distorted. We misused the abilities of understanding, emotion and imagination which He had given us. We perverted them for our own selfish purposes. We became distant from God, and careless in our responsibilities over His creation.
Through Jesus, God’s image within us can be restored. We are forgiven and brought into God’s family. Our relationship is healed. Our understanding is restored. Our emotions are made well. Our imagination is mended. We can once again view ourselves and hold onto who we really are—created in His image!