September 2015

Let us make humankind in our image (according to our likeness)

[Genesis 1.26]

This is not an easy Saying for contemplative praying, and I would not be surprised if you were to find yourself anothe r one for this month (e.g. perhaps from the book "Within Thy Silence"). But I have found it (and still find it) to be an important and amazingly relevant Word from God.

In verse 26 of Genesis 1, God suddenly changes his manner of speech from "Let there be... to Let us ... The Epistle of Bar nabas (a 2nd century Christian text) interestingly suggests that God is now speaking to the "only-begotten Son," the eternal Christ who became incarnate in Jesus. This alignment of Jesus with the cosmic Christ is often neglected in modern times, but it is firmly fixed in traditional Christian teaching. Befo re using the Saying it is important to read and ponder these New Testament texts which affirm the doctrine:

John 1. 1 & v.14:   Jo hn 8.58:   1 Corinthians 15.47:    Colossians 1. 15-17 & 3. 10:   

Hebrews 1. 1-3:   Revelation 1. 12-18.

Also, the Saying will only reveal its relevance if you abandon the idea that the act of creation is something that happened long ago. God's powerfully-loving creating is in the "now" and the "next" as much as in the "then". And in Jesus, the Christ, re-genesis is added to genesis. The One who is made perfectly in God's image and likeness gives us a foretaste of God's plan for ul timate perfection. In addition, through Jesus the Christ, The Holy Spirit is energising humankind to work with God towards that perfection.

This Saying, then, spoken within the Godhead, is also being continually spoken to humankind. "Let us (i.e. you human beings, together with Jesus) never c ease our striving together to make humankind in our image." We are the crown of God's creation, yet still so far short of the perfection for which, with all the created order, we are destined within the loving purposes of God. So this Saying is a wake-up call, especially to people of faith who are commissio ned to share the vision with others and to lead humanity into the divine kingdom. In contemplative intercession we need to be mindful that this Divine invi tation to co-operate with our creative and re-creative God is extended to those for whom we pray, whether they know it or not.