24 March 2012

His Image & Likeness {Genesis}

When I have a few (or, in fact, several) minutes free in the morning after my morning coffee has been consumed and before the baby wakes, I've started again at the beginning: as in, "In the beginning ..." reading as many chapters as I can before she starts to stir.

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So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

The first chapter or two of Genesis reads like poetry, but only breaks into actual poetry at two pivotal and poignant moments: the creation of humankind, and the creation of the woman specifically (appropriate, I think).Whether or not you take these words literally, the sudden insertion of poetry asks you to pause and take a breath, to regard these moments as something sacred: everything else from daylight to the ocean and giraffes and the octopus was spoken into existence, but with humankind, God uses His own hands to form them, animating them with His own breath. Humans are the only creatures that are like Him, the only ones whose first breaths were from Him.

It's so terribly intimate.

I don't know what it all means, but I think it's worth contemplating. I think of the C. S. Lewis quote from "The Weight of Glory" about how none of us has ever met a mere mortal. I think of how I think of myself, how I treat other people. I'm not God and neither are they, but something about them is like Him and even for all the ways in which the world and the people in it can seem so screwed up, it bespeaks a certain dignity due to everyone -- no matter how old or young or small or weak or helpless or marginalized or misunderstood.

If only it were easier to hold this truth when staring the real world square in the face. I wonder if I will be able to remember when I hold a crying baby, when the first story my face tells is one of how little sleep I've gotten, and when the headlines have me wanting to lock the door and put bars on the windows -- that when human beings were made, the words chosen to tell us the story were pure poetry.

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