What does it mean to be the image of God? It means the universe experiences God through humankind.
The deaths of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Robin Williams and others upset many of us, partially because their departures leave us wondering what went wrong in the lives of these people. They were well-loved by so many, yet felt there was no other way of dealing with their struggles. Why did they feel so hopeless? If they could not find ways to alleviate their pain, what hope do others have?
Since 1999, the suicide rate in the United States has risen by 25%. Suggesting an increasing number of people are losing hope.
In writing this post, I seek to offer some points of hope. Below, I offer an argument to stay. And it is written out of love for my friends who are considering giving up, too.
The argument starts with the beginning of humanity. Genesis 1:27 — the very beginning of the Bible — makes a big deal of humans being “created in [God’s] own image.” I don’t bring up this passage to make a scientific argument about the creation of the universe or humanity. Instead, this story makes a theological point, relating a special link between people and God. To be created in God’s image means we bear a likeness to God. We carry God into the world. Each of us. ALL of us.
Being God-carriers is a tremendous responsibility. The idea carries an implication that the universe experiences God because of us. We make God seen and heard. On the flip side, the universe does not experience God without our involvement. If we are removed from the world, so is the image of God.
The world desperately needs the image of God, and so needs our representation.