Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
As I write this devotional, a new baby is being born into our family. The mother and father are at the hospital and my wife and I are staring at our phones waiting for information to pop up telling us what is happening. We then are charged with distributing that info to an entire network of family – siblings, aunts, uncles, great grandparents, etc. The physical experience of childbirth is all resting on the mother but everyone in our family is sharing the mental and emotional trauma and drama together.
God doesn’t create like we do. He creates, when it suits His purpose, ex nihilo. He creates with more wisdom, more power, and, I strongly suspect, more confidence than we do. But a similarity between how we create and how God does it is the communal nature of the act. The plural pronoun in our text for today is sometimes interpreted as a reference to the Holy Trinity. God created mankind in the community of the Godhead.
God does more than create in community. He then invites us all to join the community of the creation. God does not create us like a factory turns out widgets, to be dispersed across the earth by market forces. He wants all of the people He creates to remain with Him, to know Him, to share in His love, and to participate in His redemptive work in the world.
Our baby being born today will be the same. We aren’t delivering her into the world to make her own way or be carried off by the winds of fortune. She will become an important part of the ongoing life of the community. She will be celebrated, watched over, protected, guided, and loved. She will be invited to take her place in all the family traditions and swaddled with relationships, just like her cousins who came before her.
The greatest goal of our family will be to see her join the union of our community and God’s. Our family is sanctified and blessed by our collective participation in the community of God. He speaks through us to one another and, sometimes, to the world. He cares for us and provides meaning to all our trials and our work. It is up to each member of our family whether to remain in God’s family. But it is the purpose of our family to be part of His.
If that is not part of your own family story, I would invite you to make it so. Any individual in a family can commit themselves to Christ. That same individual can then become the conduit by which God calls all member of your family into His own. With God’s help you can give birth to a new community of Christ.