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“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

HUMAN BEINGS HAVE ALWAYS MARVELED AT THEIR UNIQUENESS. Compared to differences that separate the lower creatures, we are so different from even the highest of other living beings, the difference can hardly be described. But how and why are we so different? Until the 18th century in Western Europe, almost every person in the world took seriously the explanation that we correspond in a special way to the God who created us. This is what Genesis 1:27 affirms: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.” Let us think about what this means — and why it is so important in “obeying the gospel.”

Perhaps we can summarize our uniqueness by saying that we are personal beings. We have “consciousness” and “mind,” and the more we contemplate this, the more marvelous it is. We have a will that is free to choose our behavior. We can make decisions that are independent of our genetic makeup, our instincts, or our external influences. And if, in fact, we have this freedom because our Creator gave it to us, look at what this means: it means we have both responsibility and accountability to Him. He has the right to direct our conduct — and bring us into judgment.

Every one of us knows we have not used our freedom rightly. We know that at times we have rebelled against our Creator. Knowing full well what our Father’s will was, we deliberately went the other direction. We know this because we have something else that is unique to personal beings: conscience.

With freedom, responsibility, and conscience, therefore, come the problem of sin. By rebelling, we have cut ourselves off from our Creator spiritually. We stand under His penalty for our actions, and we desperately need Him to do what only He can do to redeem us and reconcile us to Himself. We have to have His salvation.

As we ponder whether we will say yes to God’s redemption, we recognize another fact about us. We need our God deeply. Created in His image, we yearn for Him. Whatever else we may accomplish, this truth can’t be denied: cut off from the God in whose image we were made, we are the most unsatisfied of all creatures.

“Naught but God can satisfy the soul” (Philip James Bailey).

Gary Henry — +

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