Image, Identity, and Legacy

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature
after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth
after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the
earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that
creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over
the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and
over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God
created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:24-28

Image. I can’t articulate, at the moment, what it means when G-d says we are created in His Image. I’m sure that at some point in my life I’ve heard some sermon or other on the topic. I know that if I read the commentary at the bottom of the page in one of my study Bibles, I’ll be told what that author thinks, and often there will be other opinions given, too. But today, for the moment anyway, I’m vague on previous teachings, and I’m not willing to check the commentaries. Until the word “image” popped out at me, I wasn’t thinking about it at all.

Identity. I began this morning with several thoughts bouncing around in my head. One was identity. I’d previously noted the following in a journal: “Identity => given, associated with a name [someone from a place] often used or [someone’s son or daughter] also used. Identity had not been something we’d look for, we just were. . . we didn’t need to ‘find ourselves.’ Identity & soul are linked, too, to place. . . a place and a place in the world. Belonging.”

Drinking a cup of coffee in the kitchen this morning, with my Bible before me, I scanned through the index just to see if the word “identity” came up. As expected, it didn’t, but “image” did. This seemed to tie together another event that is on my mind. Recently, the executive officer for an international ministry that supports persecuted Christians, in which I participate, died. The events are not clear, yet, but he left a note at the ministry saying he faced investigation for a serious crime. Furthermore, he wrote that he was suicidal and depressed at the thought of the way the accusations would affect his wife and children. It matters not if the allegations against this man are true or false, that he is dead, possibly taking his own life, then he appears guilty. All that remains now of this man is the image of a man’s corruption, and way it tarnishes G-d’s image.

The thing is, we are all capable of committing the most heinous crimes, most unforgivable acts. It isn’t why did this happen, but why doesn’t it happen more often? It isn’t “How could he?” but “Why have I been spared such horror?” When bad things happen to good people, we ought to wonder why it hasn’t happened to us instead. We are all fallen with Adam. Yes, through the grace of Messiah Y’shuaJesus, we are forgiven, redeemed during the final judgement when wicked are separated from the Lord’s True-born believers.

Legacy. Always a close companion to various thoughts that bounce around my head is what will I really leave behind. If I project a particular image, it is based upon the identity I’ve developed as I’ve grown up. Does that image match my true identity? Or am I projecting something that isn’t truly me? Am I like the wizard of Oz that stands behind a curtain, with a projector displaying a powerful entity upon the wall, as if that were him? I am created in the image of G-d. Do I display that image? Is that truly my identity in this world? If so, my legacy will be intact, I’ll leave behind whatever the Holy Spirit does through me.

More later! Lord Bless, Keep, Shine upon y’all this day and every day. May the mercy of the Lord operate abundantly in our lives.