I am the Apex of Creation
How do you measure your worth? Is your dignity based on what you do? And do you judge other people based on what they do, and not who they are?
This topic of worth, of dignity, is one of the main truths to come out of the story of creation in chapter 1 of Genesis. On Day 6, now that the earth is habitable, God creates animals to populate the earth, and then, as the apex of creation, God makes Adam, mankind, both Adam and Eve. And he doesn’t just say they are good; he says everything is “very good.”
There's a literary crescendo that’s building throughout the story of creation. The length of the description of each day is lengthening. The pattern of God saying “let there be” is replaced on Day 6 by “let us make,” and the familiar “according to their kind” becomes “in our image.” And instead of filling the earth, mankind is told to both fill and subdue the earth.
The unmistakable truth is that you are I are uniquely created. We are created beings and hence part of creation, but we are also distinct from creation because we alone are created in God’s image. We are the crowning achievement of God’s creative work.
What does it mean to be created in God’s “image”? It means that in many ways, we resemble God in ways the rest of creation can’t. God wanted to make something more like himself, more than any of the animals, birds, or fish, more than the mountains or the stars in the sky. So we were created with spiritual qualities that enable us to have an awareness of God. We were given relational qualities so we could walk with God. And we were given moral qualities so we would have a conscience, an innate sense of right and wrong. We were made like God so we could reflect him to one another and also to reflect God back up to God.
You and I are not some Darwinian mistake. We didn’t make it to the top of the evolutionary ladder because we have opposing thumbs and the ability to think abstractly. We're not some primordial scrum that washed up on the beach and started to form amino acids. And we do not earn our worth, our dignity, because of what we do. We are the crowning point of God’s creative energies; that is why human life has dignity and value.
The world measures dignity and worth based on performance. How fast can you run? How high can you jump? How smart are you? Where do you live? How much money do you make? Are you considered “pretty” or “handsome”? In fact, many people in this world are so desperate for dignity that they hold celebrations and give themselves awards, and give us the opportunity to tell them we wish we were like them. (I hope you can hear the sarcasm.)
But the dignity that I possess, that you possess, comes from this one simple fact: God made us to be more like him than anything else in all creation. I am valuable because God has decreed that I am valuable. We alone are created in the image of God, and this is why we all have the same value, the same worth, the same inherent dignity.
Don’t believe the world’s lies. Jesus says in Luke 16:15, “What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” You are valuable, more valuable than the planet, more valuable than the trees, more valuable than the animals, because we, and we alone, possess the very image of God.