“Who are we?” is a familiar question that humanity has asked over the centuries; for we, human beings are plagued with an identity problem. The Bible’s answer to this age-old question is that we are God’s creatures.
Our foundational identity lies in the scriptural assertion that our origin is found in God.
To truly know ourselves, we must begin by accepting that our ultimate identity is dependent on a transcendent reality much greater than ourselves, the divine Creator. In his well-known prayer, Augustine speaks of human life as a ceaseless movement seeking the divine, “You have made us toward yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Likewise, the acclaimed theologian Stanley Grenz noted, “Within cosmos, we are the restless creatures that look beyond the material universe for ultimate fulfilment. We are designed to find our meaning and identity in relation to and only in relation to God.”
The Bible testifies not only to the fact that we originate from God but that we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). To be created in the image of God does not only mean that we are inherently endowed with distinct godlike faculties and freedom, but also we are created to live freely and gladly in relationships of mutual respect and love. Our lives in relationships reflect the life of the Triune God who eternally lives not in solitary existence but in communion.
The incarnated Christ is our ultimate example of what it means to be human created in the image of God.
Jesus Christ is the fullest expression of what God intends humanity to be (Colossians 1:15). In beholding the life of our Lord, we learn that our true humanity is expressed in a self-transcending life in relationships of love and service to God and others.
However, despite being created in God’s image, humans have, nonetheless, become sinners who deny creationism. The image of God in which we were created in, is obscured and distorted by sin and the violence that often accompanies it. At Audacity Malaysia, we believe in the creation of man and that sin has separated each of us from God and his purpose for our lives.
Sin is primarily disruption of our relationship with our Creator. This disruption not only separates us from God but causes us to lose our way in life. It expresses itself in many ways. Perhaps the most obvious is our self-centred idolatry. We have become largely preoccupied with our own desires, often living our lives to please ourselves. Sin is ultimately our resistance to our essential relationship with God and our denial of our dependence on his grace.
Creation is a grand and gracious act of God’s calling “into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17). And as God’s creatures, we simply cannot know what it means to be truly human without the awareness and acknowledgement of our divine origin and design; and our absolute dependence on the grace of God who created us.
As beings created in God’s image, we are the recipients of God’s unceasing care and endless pursuit. As Migliore writes, “The God who lives in relationship calls us to life in relationship. We are humans as we are addressed by God. Our Creator freely gives us life, calls us, covenants with us, and wants our response; God addresses human beings in the psychophysical totality and in their particular historical situations, God wants the free response of the whole person.”
Indeed, we have been gifted by God with the freewill to respond to him. Even as we might deny our dire need for our Creator’s grace in our sinful state, he nonetheless pursues us relentlessly in his purpose to restore his image in us. We will do well to turn towards him for we are ultimately created for him.
As Christians, we must acknowledge that to be a truer human, we are called to increasingly be transformed into the image of Christ, as we contemplate him and follow his example (2 Corinthians 3:18). In so doing, we discover the riches of God’s grace that work powerfully for our good and divine purpose. Turning freely and wholly towards our Creator, we will find that despite our fallenness, we are fearfully and wonderfully made!
- Grenz, Stanley J. Theology for the Community of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994).
- Migliore, Daniel L. Faith Seeking Understanding (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014).