God’s creation serves as a reflection of God. The beauty around us is intended to create wonder and awe within us. In Psalm 104, the poet reflects on how perfectly God has placed all things in the world.
The mountains rise and the valleys sink to their appointed places (Ps 104:9). The water falls on the mountains and the grass grows for the livestock (Ps 104:14). The amply watered trees provide a place for the birds to build their nests (Ps 104:16). The wild goats dwell in the mountains and even the rocks serve as refuge for the rock badgers (Ps 104:18). The moon marks the changing of the seasons and the sun knows when to set (Ps 104:19). All of these things show God’s wisdom (Ps 104:24). The most appropriate response is surely to say “Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!” (Ps 104:35)
Yet, only one part of God’s creation is made in the image of God—the human being. Humankind is the crown jewel of God’s creation. Near the end of Genesis 1, God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26). So, God created them male and female in His image (Gen 1:27).
Men and women have capabilities that plants, animals, water, and the sun do not have. What does it mean to be made in God’s image, after His likeness? It could mean that we are able to be in relationship at a level that no other part of creation can. God is relational, consisting of Father, Son, and Spirit. Adam and Eve were made to be relational beings. Eve is created because “It is not good” that Adam is alone (Gen 2:18). The animals don’t have relationships like this, nor do the sun and moon or the waters. Being made in God’s image could also refer to the thinking capabilities of male and female. No other part of creation can think and reason like the human.
The bottom line: humankind is like God in a way that no other part of creation is. Our sin taints our likeness to God, thus we need a Savior. However, the fact remains, people are made in God’s likeness. And this reality ought to impact how we treat one another. This is the point made in the book of James. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (James 3:9-10 NIV).
When we see the face of others, do we think of them as proof of God’s majesty, or do we see them as an irritant? When someone cuts us off in traffic, do we consider that the other driver is part of God’s grand creation? When the waiter gets our order wrong, do we still treat him as one made in God’s likeness?
Take time to ponder God’s creation. He has made the sun, moon, and stars, and their beautiful displays ought to stir within us the desire to praise the Lord. But God has also made the person with whom we are angry, frustrated, and perturbed. Let us consider the value of the human being.