Having posted recently about bodies–twice, with a guest post–I have come to the conclusion that my positions on the matters previously discussed require some explanation–more specifically, the presupposition behind those positions.
Essentially, I believe that human beings are created in the image of God, unlike anything else in this world. At base, pretty much all of my positions, philosophies, opinions, and whatnot stem from this.
So, what does this mean, exactly?
First, human beings are more precious than any other form of life. Given the choice between killing a human or the last (insert animal here) , I’ll kill the animal. However, that also means that the penalty for the murder of another human being must be death, for no other penalty will suffice. But care must be taken that an innocent man is not slain.
Second, because God is the maker of humanity, he gets to set the rules for humanity, and the parameters for how we interact with others and with Him. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. And when I say maker, I mean maker. That which we were created from, he made, and he was not made himself. This is true of no one who is not God, which means that no one who is not God can claim this right.
Thirdly, the previous two mean we should approach other people, and ourselves, with the idea that we are made in the image of God–the imago Dei. I fail miserably at this, because I treat people like they’re mortal. We aren’t. We are immortal–not eternal, mind. When the body dies, the soul lives on. What is done with and to that body, especially by its owner, marks the soul, but the soul is the immortal component.
This should not fill us with pride, that we are made in God’s image. For man’s origins are ultimately of dirt, given life by the breath of God.
This does mean that we are not to degrade ourselves or others, not even in jest or at play. This does mean that we are all–and I do mean all, not just the favored group of whatever time we are in–precious in the sight of God.
Fourthly, we must remember that this image is already marred and twisted by sin and the fall of man. That which was all good has been corrupted, and I mean this in the most ancient sense of the term. We are dead men walking. We don’t know how to treat each other as we should anymore, but we can’t be alone, for enough of what we were remains that we feel the need to be together–and those who don’t have this are broken in their own way.
So we murder. We lie. We steal. We rape. We seduce. We tempt. We flaunt. We covet. We envy. We seek that which is other than the Creator. We seek ourselves and find our doom.
But fifthly, salvation is offered. The path has been given by which we can go from death to life, by the life and death and return of the Creator’s Son, who is one with His Father and yet is not the Father.
Someday the image will be remade as the creation broken with it is, but for now, we walk in the darkness, seeking the light. Let us not mar the image of God more than we have, whether it be the one reflected in us or the one reflected within others.
Cultures forget this at their peril, for it is within the first failure to acknowledge the image of God that the seeds of their fall are planted.
‘Til next time,
Lowell Van Ness