Created in God’s image

By Dave Henning / August 16, 2023

“Created in God’s image means we must live for the true God or we will have to make something else God and orbit our lives around that. . . .  To ask, ‘Who are you?’ is to ask, ‘Whose are you?’  To know who you are is to know who you have given yourself to, what controls you, what you most fundamentally trust.”- Timothy Keller

“Then the men were seized by a great fear — after [Jonah] admitted that he was fleeing from the face of the Lord — they said to him: ‘How could you have done this?’ “- Jonah 1:10

In Chapter 4 (“Embracing the Other”) of The Prodigal Prophet, Timothy Keller notes that the lots the sailors cast indicated Jonah’s responsibility for the storm.  As a result, they began to pepper Jonah with questions.  Identity questions.

All people, Pastor Keller states, do many things.  But, he asks, what are we doing those things for?  As the sailors understood, to ask about purpose, place, and people provides an insightful way of asking, “Who are you?”

However, the author points out, the sailors ask their questions with an urgent goal in mind.  To understand what angered Jonah’s God so they can figure out what to do.  Because the sailors viewed who you were and what you worshipped as two side of the same coin.  The most foundational layer of your identity.

Consequently, Pastor Keller counsels:

“Today we may be tempted to say something like ‘People no longer believe in the gods and often don’t believe in any god at all.  So this superstitious view — that your identity is rooted in wheat you worship — is irrelevant today.’  To say this is to commit a fundamental error. . . .

The sailors are not wrong in their analysis.  Everyone gets an identity from something.  Everyone must say to himself or herself, ‘I’m significant because of ‘This‘ and I’m acceptable because I’m welcomed by ‘Them.’  But then whatever This is and whoever They are, these things become virtual gods to us, and the deepest truth about who we are.”

Today’s question: What does it mean to you to be created in God’s image?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Shallow Christian identities”

About the author

Dave Henning

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