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Friday, July 8, 2011

Imago Dei {post by Brandon}

I was recently watching a video on the devolution of human dignity by Vishal Mangalwadi, a Christian speaker and author from India (you can watch the video here). This video began to spark my thoughts. In this teaching, Vishal talks about the West's understanding of human dignity and how through understanding God, men began to realize the value of a human life. This idea comes from the book of Genesis, in which man is created in the image of God.

Early thinkers in the West began to realize that since God is free and is not bound by circumstances or our logic, therefore man is free since we are created in His image. These men and women no longer looked at their surroundings with a fatalistic mindset (this is the way it is supposed to be), but rather sought to bring change to the pain and suffering they saw around them.

If you look at eastern religions, you'll notice that they see suffering and pain as a part of life. Buddhism declares that this pain and suffering is an illusion, and followers attempt to achieve "Nirvana" to escape this. Hindus seek to appease the gods that bring this suffering with countless sacrifices. This suffering is part of the "reality" of their world.

However, through the Christian perspective, we see a God who created man and woman with the intention of being with them. Before the fall, the first mandate God gave mankind was to "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Gods purpose for man was to be fruitful. Multiply. Fill the earth. Subdue (bring under control) it. To have dominion (sovereignty/jurisdiction) over the animals. But when sin entered the world, the consequences of sin followed it and with it was pain and suffering. What followed was death.

So do we hold on, put on our seat belts and wait until we die? Do we just "cope" with the brokenness of the fall and our day to day lives? Scripture says "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven." Lets not forget that while Christ died for our individual sins, He also died for the sins of the world. From past to present to future, the effect of sin on the world has been broken. Death lost, God won. And in my book, that means that the original mandate given by God in Genesis has not been taken back. Never in scripture does it indicate that our purpose as mankind has been switched. I believe Jesus came to restore the original command given in Genesis, and that means we have a lot of responsibility.

We are stewards of everything we see around us! "The earth is the Lords, and the fullness thereof." There is no sacred, no secular. So I ask... what in your vocation/family/community/city/state/nation needs to be reconciled back to God? And what can you do to bring change? God sent His spirit to empower us with His authority. He is here on earth now like He was in Genesis. What is God saying to you?

 

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