Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Coloring of Creation and the Image of God

For my Facebook friends, you may have seen my paraphrase of the conversation my wife and I had following last night’s Adult Bible Study at our midweek service called FEAST!:
Onya: I really liked coloring at Bible Study tonight. It wasn't boring like last year.
Me: Last year?
Onya: Yeah, right before we broke for the summer.
Me: You mean when I was leading?
Onya: Uh...maybe boring isn't quite the right word.
It was quite funny at the time and had us laughing hysterically. My wife is really good at keeping me grounded and busting on me when it is necessary. And in all seriousness I do know what she actually meant. Drawing and coloring based upon the Days of Creation found in Genesis 1:1 – 2:3 is going to be more fun and a much lighter topic than talking about poverty and hunger.

As we were drawing our pictures for Day Six…and for me I use the term draw very loosely…I started to think about what it means to be created in God’s image.

Ludwig Feuerbach said that we as humans project our greatest attributes or our greatest desires onto what we want to be God. And while I disagree with what he means by saying that theology (the study of God) is really just anthropology (the study of man), I think that to a certain extent his notion of projecting what we want onto God is right.

It can be really easy for me to “need” something from God and to then think of God in terms of my needs. For example, when I have done something that I know that I should not have done, it is very easy for me to think of God as a merciful and gracious God. And of course these traits are accurate. But it is inaccurate for me to emphasis these traits at the expense of his justice and righteousness.

It also is very easy for me to think of God’s attributes in terms of my own understanding. Whenever I think of “love” in terms of how I understand “love” and then think of God as a loving God in those terms I am projecting my own wants and desires on Him. What I need to remember is that my love is an imperfect reflection of God’s love. The same thing is true for God’s grace, justice, righteousness and so forth. Remembering that my understanding and reflecting of these things is incomplete as well as imperfect is something that is very difficult to do at times. A fairly frequent rereading of the first few chapters of Genesis can go a long way in reminding me of this fact.

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