The Image of God: Image Reflectors

While this article may seem primarily reflective, it is, in fact, highly practical; our understanding of ourselves and others shapes everything we do and the way we do it. At the heart of all self-understanding is that most practical (and important) of all things: “what comes into our minds when we think about God…”[1]. As such, the teacher’s task is prophetic – seeing things and people from God’s perspective; and priestly – leading our people to the Lord and restoration. The teacher’s high calling helps students see and become what God sees them becoming: a unique beautiful expression of His own image, restored in Christ.

At creation new life burst forth from the Father by Son in the Spirit of love. Earth and all in it mysteriously imaged and revealed something of Heaven’s Glory, as the invisible was made visible.

The climax: “let Us make mankind in Our image, to be like Us!”[2] In His most beautiful, exhilarating, joyous and solemn creative act, God shaped us. He made us fruitful, to re-create and co-create from His inexhaustible creative storehouse, to extend God’s eternal creativity in expanding manifestations of His image, loving rule and generative activity, for His greater glory and His creation’s greater good.When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is mankind, that You take thought of him? And the son of man, that You care for him? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet.[3]

God directly shaped Adam from the dust breathing Spirit-energy into him; then He crafted Eve from sleeping Adam’s side, breathing His Spirit into her.

Eden—the beautiful, restful, fruitful Garden of God—was a stunning backdrop for the work-play of God’s children. The grandeur of God’s image—mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, creative—was perfectly expressed in Adam and Eve! God’s royal representatives ruled wisely, maintaining the harmony of the Garden of God. Knowing God, they knew the secrets of His creation.

Their prayer life was quiet, brilliant, energizing, beautiful, true, kind, restful, comfortable, strong, gentle; deep words interspersed with golden, restful, informative, expectant, receptive, expressive silence.

Our longing for a better world is our shared memory of Eden and a yearning for a future better world—past and future glory in this moment’s disappointment, the awakening of our soul to our true longing.

At the heart of being God’s image is choice, without which love cannot exist. Right choosing means choosing to love, obey, trust, and serve God. Our fullest capacity to create flows from full alignment with our Creator; here we are most creative, joyful, effective and loving, most fully alive as God’s image.

Choosing for self-advancement, self-glory, self-reliance (i.e., against God and His glory in seeking the best for the other and for God’s creation) is sin, a posture and activity whereby we miss the mark, falling far short of the glory of God.

The secret of strength—doing the will of the Father in humble reliance and obedient response to having received all from Him—becomes twisted into what Satan calls a weakness. All we are and have is gift and grace.

Because of God’s grace and mercy freely offered by Christ, the way back is always available. Our pilgrimage is all about God restoring us—and through us others and His creation—as His image in Christ, who is the perfect image of God.

Augustine states: “the Godhead of the Holy Trinity and the image to which man is made are one”[4]. God’s will is that we who were created like Him, yet distinct from Him, should be united with Him in fruitful, intimate union. Our destiny is to become reflectors of God’s restored image:

And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world[5].

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart….”[6]

Howard Dueck, M.A.
Regional Director: Latin America & Beyond Borders
TeachBeyond Global

[2] Genesis 1:26
[3] Psalm 8:3-6
[4] Augustine. Confessions. Book XII, article 5. Translated by R S Pine-Coffin. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1979.
[5] John 17:22-24
[6] Ecclesiastes 3:11


Photo Credits:  Creation of Adam. detail. Michaelangelo. public domain imageSunlightLe dahu Flickr via Compfight cc. Sunset. JerzyGorecki via Pixabay.

Howard Dueck (MA, Biblical Counseling), together with his wife Eileen, began their service with TeachBeyond in 1988 in Brazil, where Howard taught, counseled and was involved in leadership at the Gramado Bible College. He continued counseling and teaching when they moved to Germany. He currently is based near Winnipeg, Canada, and serves as the TeachBeyond regional director for Latin America and director for Beyond Borders (TeachBeyond’s  education outreach to displaced persons).