I Am an Image Bearer

INTRODUCTION: Over the next three and a half weeks, Time With God will be exploring who we are in Christ. Our prayer is that you will grow in confidence and hope as we unpack biblical truth about who God has made us to be. Please note that there will be no Digging Deeper section.


Many theologians have attempted to describe what it means to be made in the image of God. All too often, our modern minds have narrowly stopped at the qualities or attributes that speak to our being made in God’s likeness (i.e., personality, intellect, ethical abilities, etc.). As a result, we have missed the actual heart of what it means to be an image bearer. That is, to be an image bearer is not simply to possess divine qualities that God himself possesses; rather, it is to creatively and dynamically be in relationship with Creator and creation.

As we will see in today’s passage, the Bible shouts of design for the sake of relationship. We see God communing as Trinity in order to artistically create humans so that we can relationally reflect God into his world and his world back to God.

  • In what ways do you reflect God’s creative beauty into a shattered world? And in what ways do you reflect God’s beautiful creation back to our Savior?


26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


I learned recently that the structure of Genesis 1 parallels that of the ritualistic construction of a temple. It is a poetic demonstration of the Zion in which we find ourselves—the jointed ground of heaven dancing with earth. As with the pagan tradition, the image of a god as the final piece added to the building is a sacred symbol of completion. In the same way, when the Spirit joins with Father and Son to place their image within the fibers of humanity, the temple of God’s new creation is inaugurated

Unfortunately, we often fail to embrace this imago dei (image of God). Our desire is not to be an image bearer in relation to God and his creation, but to actually be God. This distorted theology is nothing more than a prideful reenactment of the Fall and, as such, we miss out on the connections for which we have been designed. Peter Rollins says it beautifully when he writes, “From the very beginning, we humans have wanted to escape this world, to become like gods… yet, what do we find in the Gospel narratives? We find there the unique idea that God became human and dwelt with us. The desire to escape our humanity and become like God is twisted and turned on its head, throwing us back into our humanity. The Incarnation tells us that if we want to be like God, then we must be courageous enough to fully and unreservedly embrace our humanity.”

We are the likeness of God in his temple. We have been made to carry the mark of the divine into a world longing for salvation. As Revelation 21 and 22 pulls us forward, we limp into a broken world as wounded healers, knowing one day Christ, in a grand finale of astounding artistry, will put his creation right again. Heaven and Earth will collide once more, and humankind will stand in grateful awe as the image bearers of the Almighty. In this dramatic return to Eden, free from sin by the blood of the Lion that is also the Lamb, humanity—with Christ on the throne—will, finally, fully embrace our imago dei as we relate once more to God, each other, and the creation he has entrusted to us.

  • Respond to God by making an honest inventory of your relationships. Ask the Spirit to expose the sin that blocks your ability to reflect God into the world, and the creation back to God.