Made in God’s Image
“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.” (NIV)
The Bible uses both the words ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ to say that human beings are like God in some way.
What does being made in God’s image have to do with circumcising babies and children?
But I still haven’t said what it means to be made in God’s image.
“Historically people have said things like our morality, our sense of right and wrong or our rationality, our ability to reason or our spirituality, our ability to relate to God or our aesthetic sense. You don’t find too many monkeys creating Mona Lisas… And I think, frankly, all of those are true and aspects of what it means to be in God’s image.”
“After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man out of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness.” -Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647)
The purpose of human beings, made in God’s image, is often described as reflecting God’s glory: The point of being created in the image of God is that human beings are destined to display God. That’s what images do. -John Piper. (from “Why Do I Exist?,” a phenomenal article that explains this much better than I can.)
Being made in God’s image means our purpose is to represent God in the world and reflect him by our actions and our nature.
We reflect God’s glory and show him to the world best, not when we treat other image bearers in a way that causes them pain and harm, but when we treat humans with respect, compassion and careful thought. We shine as reminders of God’s own glory, not when we cause pain and flippantly say ‘well, he won’t remember it’, but compassionately say ‘is there any way I could help my fellow human avoid unnecessary pain?’ We image God when we are excited about Him and therefore, delighted (not disgusted) with the creation he made and called very good. And the world is indeed watching what we reflect:
“As a nonbeliever, the thought of a Christian circumcising their child seems to go against what it seems they preach/believe…A child can be expected to learn, understand, and practice the writings in the Bible, yet can’t be expected to learn to rinse their penis with water? A child is begged to be saved (from abortion) only to be born to have their body immediately modified? They can believe in something they can’t see, yet won’t believe the research presented in front of them? A Christian who circumcises in the name of Christianity gives the religion a bad name to outsiders like myself.” -Molly
“Many Christians have no problem shunning what’s common and accepted in society and defending their position using the Bible/their religion (birth control, sex before marriage, same sex relationships, etc.) yet follow the status quo like sheep when it comes to circumcision.” -Ashley