Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sacredness of People

Close relationships are important for emotiona...Image via Wikipedia

December 15, 2009

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

I believe each person is created in the "image of God." (Gen. 1:26f; 5:1,3; 9:6; I Cor. 11:7; Col. 3:10; James 3:9). This means that people reflect or "mirror" certain aspects of the character and purposes of God. Our essential nature images God. Because all people are made in the "image" of God they are vitally related to God. Being in the image of God implies several important things:

Being in the "image" of God means that all persons are fundamentally good as to their God-ordained nature. It also means we have unique moral agency. God grants human freedom within His freedom. All people are responsible for their choices and actions.

This "image" is conferred upon the whole human race. This "image" was given initially to the first people and is also perpetuated to their descendants (Acts 17:26). This also implies that all people are equal in relation to God: all races and nationalities (Acts 10:9-16; 17:26), male or female (Gen. 1:26f; 2:18; 5:1f), and social classes (Ex. 23:6; Dt. 14:28f; Is. 61:1-2). This provides a basis for respecting people of various religious perspectives and faiths.

Being in the "image" of God means that all people are related in human solidarity. This means that all people are related to one another and have a responsibility to regard and care for each other. (Gen. 4:9-15; Lev. 19:18; Mk. 12:31; Lk. 10:27-37).

People are sacred because they are in the "image" of God. This means that our value is inestimable since we belong to God. The sacredness of people is to be recognized in all human relationships and endeavors. (Ex. 19:5,6; Ps. 8; 21:5).

The image of God in us is deformed by our sin, falleness and human evil (Genesis 3:15). Every human being is spoiled and tarnished by the influence of sin. Yet, the "image" of God in people persists in significant measure after the fall. It is not totally destroyed by the effects of sin and the fall; it is retained as a work of God’s grace.

My understanding of Christian ministry and relating to others is strongly informed by the sacredness of people. The uniqueness of each person as made in God’s image challenges me to see the meaning, wonder, value of all people, even as they behave in an evil and unjust manner. This provides me the strongest motivation for compassion and hope in all human circumstances of disease, suffering and pain.

[1] Unity of common cause.

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