|The following passages offer five insights into humans as God’s creations.
Bible Reading: Genesis 1:1-31
Key Bible Verse: Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
What does this passage suggest about the value of humans in God’s eyes?
How is it significant to your self-image that you are created in the image of God?
Reflection: Being made in God’s image refers to characteristics God shares with us. In what ways are we made in God’s image? God obviously did not create us exactly like himself, because God has no physical body. Instead, we are reflections of God’s glory. Some feel that the image of God refers to our reason, creativity, speech, or self-determination. More likely, it is our entire self that reflects the image of God. We will never be totally like God, because he is our supreme Creator. But we do have the ability to reflect his character in our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness.
Key Bible Verse: Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)
How well do you think that humans fulfill this role in today’s world?
Reflection: We are the caretakers of God’s creation. To reign over something is to have absolute authority and control over it. God has ultimate rule over the earth, and he exercises his authority with loving care. When God delegated some of his authority to the human race, he expected us to take responsibility for the environment and the other creatures that share our planet. We must not be careless and wasteful as we fulfill this charge. God was careful how he made this earth. We must not be careless about how we take care of it.
Bible Reading: Psalm 8:1-9
Key Bible Verse: When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place—what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:3-5)
Why is the psalmist so amazed when he looks at the night sky and the moon and stars?
How does this psalm encourage you in believing that you matter to God?
Reflection: God places high value on his human creations. When we look at the vast expanse of creation, we wonder how God could be concerned for people who constantly disappoint him. Yet God created us only a little lower than himself or the angels! The next time you question your worth as a person, remember that God considers you highly valuable. We have great worth because we bear the stamp of the Creator. Because God has already declared how valuable we are to him, we can be set free from feelings of worthlessness.
Bible Reading: Genesis 9:1-7
Key Bible Verse: If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image. (Genesis 9:6)
Why do you think being made in God’s image sets humans apart so distinctly from other creatures?
Reflection: God’s image is an important factor in all human relationships. Here God explains why murder is so wrong: to kill a person is to kill one made in God’s image. Because all human beings are made in God’s image, all people possess the qualities that distinguish them from animals: morality, reason, creativity, and self-worth. When we interact with others, we are interacting with beings made by God, beings to whom God offers eternal life. God wants us to recognize his image in all people.
Bible Reading: Mark 12: 13-17
Key Bible Verse: When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply completely amazed them. (Mark 12:16-17)
How did Jesus’ answer effectively address the Pharisees’ question?
Knowing that you bear God’s image, what does it mean to “give to God what belongs to God”?
Reflection: God’s image in us means that we belong to him. The Pharisees and Herodians thought they had the perfect question to trap Jesus. But Jesus answered wisely, once again exposing their self-interest and wrong motives. Jesus said that the coin bearing the emperor’s image should be given to the emperor. But our life, which bears God’s image, belongs to God. Are you giving God all that is rightfully his? Give your life to God—you bear his image.
This study is adapted from the Handbook of Bible Application (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2000), available everywhere books are sold.