Created in the Image of God

by Mark Votava


One of the greatest seeds of revelation that I have experienced in my life has been when I started to understand that I am created in the image of God, as beautiful, loved and valued.  This has made all the difference to me as I have lived with a childhood woundedness by my father who communicated to me that I wasn’t seen and valued for who I was.  God has been healing me over the years to show me that I am a beloved child of God.

  • Settling into the status quo  

Jamie Arpin-Ricci writes in his book The Cost of Community, “…yet too often we settle into the status quo of nominal obedience, emphasizing our articulated beliefs rather than focusing on our living and active faith.  When challenged, we often cite our sinful imperfection and dependence on grace as a way to minimize or dismiss the indictment of our compromises…”

  • We are created in the image of God

So many people seem to dismiss the potential of obedience as a lifestyle of worship because they do not realize they are created in the image of God.  We just like to focus on our sin and ignore the image of God within us and say, “I’m just a sinner,” as if we could not be anything more than that.  Why do we rarely focus on the image of God within us that calls us to something more?  Is it because we don’t understand, are apathetic or something more?

  • Reflecting the image of God through our way of life

We do not have to live according to our sin!  So much of scripture points this out.  “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness…” (Romans 6:13).  We have the potential to reflect the image of God to others through our way of life.

  • Life, wisdom and strength

The Father, the Son and the Spirit live inside of our bodies to give us life, wisdom and strength.  How can we not see that this is so important to understand as the body of Christ in the parish?  We will do great damage if we do not understand this because most of our relationships will become exploitive and manipulative as a result.  And who wants that?

  • The image of God has been buried by layers of the false self

People in our culture have seen too much of the sin in us and not a lot of love and compassion from us.  The mystical imagination cultivates the image of God within us that has been buried by layers of the false self.  We need to work out our salvation through a radical odedience in the parish with others as the body of Christ in everyday life.

How come we have such a difficult time recognizing the image of God within ourselves?