“When we move into our deepest human nature, we find God, the divine source of everything. The incarnation, the word becoming flesh, also happens in us. We too are divine words being made flesh in our time and place. Our true humanity is the discovery that we are also sons and daughters of God, all divine words, spoken into being.”—Kent Dobson
What does it mean to be human? I was reading the story of Simeon and Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:21-35), and I got to thinking about “the image of God.” We were created in the image of God, as was Jesus when he was born.
The “image of God” is less about reflection than it is about essence. When we see ourselves as a representation, or reflection, of God, it is very easy to label God: “God looks like (fill in the blank).” But if we understand this image of God language to say that we hold the essence of God within us, then we must acknowledge that God is more, greater, and other than any label.
Likewise, if we try to imagine ourselves as the “words being made flesh in our time and place,” we can start to see the divine diversity toward which Jesus was born to guide us. To be human is to recognize in the other the divine.
I find it fascinating that God called Godself “I Am.” To exist. Rob Bell does a great job explaining this. Simply to exist is to experience God, who simply exists. Simply existing makes us enough. This is what stirred my thoughts about being made in the image of God, who simply exists.
Do you exist? Are you? If so, then you are the image of God. God is. You are. I am. We are the image of God simply because we exist. This is why Jesus became human: to show us that being human is enough—enough to deserve dignity, enough to deserve love, enough to deserve peace and belonging and joy.
As we walk through this life, we do it together, not for the sake of tribalism or being in the right group, but because we are all human and we are all the image of God.
(Kent Dobson, “Bitten By a Camel: Leaving Church, Finding God”, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN, 106.)