Questions and insights into the human condition have always been of interest to me. Some people believe we are inherently good. Others believe we are inherently evil. But if we are inherently good, why is there so much evil in the world? And on the flip-side, if we are inherently evil, why is there so much good in the world? (Yes, there is a lot of good going on in the world. And you really, truly don’t have to look too far to find it. But to focus on the good things in our world is really quite counter-cultural and would likely put scores of journalists and news anchors out of a job; ’cause let’s face it, the scandal involving so-and-so is going to get the air time over a segment on a youth group raising funds to feed homeless people downtown. Not to mention, People, US, and TMZ would be a complete bore and seriously be lacking in word count, wouldn’t they?)
In light of some recent public and media attention surrounding two specific events in the U.S. that demonstrate some very un-Christian behavior from a couple of professed Christians, I found it timely to be asked this question yesterday. Perhaps it’s a question on many people’s minds.
“If man is made in the image of God, what does this tell us about God?”
I would have loved to answer that question from a positive slant. But it was asked from the negative. And really, either way you look at it, this question can’t be answered and presented in a nice neat little box. It’s a messy question. And it’s one that comes from a very specific perspective.
By no means am I suggesting the following answer I gave is a definitive, “right” or only answer. Like many things in life, the true and complete nature of humanity’s relationship to God and vice versa isn’t something that can be figured out in a few minutes. Not in a day. Not even in a lifetime. But that shouldn’t stop us from grappling with the questions we have. So here’s a partial perspective on the topic from my general point of view:
Have you ever heard about the original masterpieces they’ve discovered that have been painted over by some other artist, covering up the work of the master artist? I think it’s kind of like that. The original masterpiece God created has been painted over by our own choice of designs.
We have no one to thank but ourselves (as a species) for the things that are wrong with humanity, for who has been given the power to make choices? Yet we tend to project our bad choices back to God and blame him for everything that’s wrong in the world. We even blame him for giving us free will and the ability to make our own choices, as is reflected in the question above. But usually only when those choices make humanity look bad, ie: slavery, injustice, abuse of power/authority, hate crimes, disrespect of the environment, the list goes on …
However, God’s original design/image/brushstrokes are still there, underneath millenia of humans painting over his design with their own. But, small glimpses of the original design sometimes do resurface when people act on behalf of the world and humanity out of pure unselfish motives.
There are other positive things about humanity, too, that truly do reflect God’s image. However, sadly, we seem to like to take credit for those things ourselves.
The upside in this broken world: we do have the ability to make choices that can let the original design resurface. And in so doing, we can make our world a better place.
Have you ever asked yourself the above question? How would you answer it? Please leave a comment if you feel comfortable doing so. I’d like to hear what you think.