In the Image of God?

Introduction

This hub is going to be a sequel of sorts dealing with a similar subject to my earlier hub, God's Damned Creation. In it I want to discuss what the Bible has to say about how God looks and what this means in the creation versus evolution debate. In particular I want to focus on the perplexing notion that man is made in the “image” of God and propose that in fact God is made in the image of man.

All the Better to Eat You With

According to the book of Genesis God got together with himself and said “Let us make man in our own image”. Never mind the hints of polytheism that occur in this verse the thing I want to focus on is the image of God. You see the Bible often implies that God has some kind of physical form he conforms to on a semi-regular basis. He wrestles quite literally with Jacob, walks and talks with Adam and Eve in the Garden and appears bathed in glory and seated on a throne in Heaven. Far from symbolic many instances seem to be literally describing the physical characteristics of God.

To many modern Christians the idea of God as a man on a cloud is an absurd one made up by opponents of Christianity to skewer it as silly. Yet the Bible DOES suggest that Heaven, or the Heavens, are UP somewhere, as in above us. And God is depicted as having a physical appearance that is much like a human beings appearance. So God made mankind in his image.

This raises interesting questions about God and where his physical appearance comes from. According to most Christian teachings God is the Alpha and Omega, a timeless being and there are none like him. This means that God has no precedents – NO ANCESTORS. So God's physical body would be of his own creation and design and have been chosen by God before he created humanity. So why did God design himself to look similar to a human being AND by extension to look like other animals he created as well? My questions can be summed up in one question as DOES GOD HAVE TEETH?

This may seem like a silly question, even a nit-picky one but if you really think about it it's a perfectly valid question. God is immortal, he has always existed and always will exist, so he has no reason to eat. He doesn't need to eat to survive and won't suffer any ill effects without food so why would he posses teeth or any other part of a functioning digestive system?

Now some will argue that God's body, though he may possess a physical one, does not need to be BIOLOGICALLY FUNCTIONAL, meaning God does not need to have a working active metabolism in the body he designed for himself. Human beings, on the other hand, DO need to eat to survive and so it makes sense that we have teeth but wouldn't make sense for God to have them.

In light of evolution teeth make perfect sense and the fact that so many different kinds of animals possess them makes sense. If we all share common ancestry than we all share some traits, teeth being one that we share with a great deal of other animals. So lions have teeth, tigers have teeth and bears have teeth... but why would God have teeth? And if God doesn't have teeth than that is one thing that bears have in common with us that God doesn't.

You can, in fact, go down an almost endless list of features that human beings possess that it makes no sense for God to have chosen for himself. Everything from chest-hair, to mammary glands, to an appendix, to two arms and two legs. There is no reason why God, before creating humanity, would choose an appearance for himself that resembles a tetrapodal vertebrate placental mammal primate. Unless God planned on trying to fit in with human society on a regular basis, but that is clearly not the case as the Biblical God only appears in “human” form a handful of times in the Bible.

The Iron Chariot Before the Horse

Man made God in his own image. It's hardly a coincidence that most deities are not only anthropocentric but also anthropomorphic. Their appearances and agendas revolve around or mimic those that humanity has for/of itself because we are THEIR creators. Yes, it really is that simple.

Modern Christianity has pushed God farther and farther from the version of him depicted in the Bible because to do anything else would make maintaining their faith all but untenable. After all who can believe such ridiculous nonsense is literally true without honest doubts beginning to damage their faith after a while? The fact is that Biblical Creationists are putting the cart before the horse. God's image was decided by man.

If there is a deity out there somewhere in this vast cosmos the idea that it would be obsessed with humanity, look like humanity and want to regulate every last detail of human behavior is absurd. The idea that it would impose it's will on humanity, whether it created us or not, and utilize an ancient system of government we've outgrown by declaring itself King is equally silly in my opinion.


There was this... space! And there was a building or something with flames coming out of it, and there were creatures writhing around, and they were growling and snarling. And there were flames, and I heard a voice say "Zuul"! It was right here.
There was this... space! And there was a building or something with flames coming out of it, and there were creatures writhing around, and they were growling and snarling. And there were flames, and I heard a voice say "Zuul"! It was right here.

The Divine Throne

Nowhere is the God of the Bible's manmade origins more apparent than in the constant personifications of him as a King on a celestial throne. Human beings moved past monarchy centuries ago, what few Kings and Queens the Western world retains are mere figureheads, celebrated and watched over but not really gifted with any authority. So why would an all powerful being trying to spread a message of love and mercy be depicted as a giant humanoid on a massive throne being worshiped incessantly?

Again most modern Christians reject this idea as mere symbolism. God isn't REALLY sitting on a throne somewhere ruling over a kingdom, and ideas like the Kingdom of God are just figurative. But then if they are figurative than what meaning do they convey? A sense of God's authority and true power thus setting him up as dictator of all time and space?

Does God have a crown? Like teeth, or nipples, or a pituitary gland a crown is something human beings might possess that a God has no business possessing. Whether God is all powerful or not a crown is merely a symbol, a human symbol of leadership, like a Presidential Seal. Think about it. God has no other Gods, no other Kings or Lords and no rivals other than those he created himself. Depicting God as a King may have helped persuade the superstitious thousands of years ago when Kings were commonplace but in this day and age it makes the Biblical God to be outdated.

The Biblical God, like Zeus, like Thor, is an anachronism, an ancient God constantly pushed out of the way of criticism and critique by increasingly desperate attempts at apologetics (ie Presuppositional Apologetics).

God and Procreation

The God of the Bible is obsessed with sex, procreation, and ritual genital mutilation. So does God have reproductive organs? According to Christians God has a son but he DIDN'T CREATE JESUS because Jesus was supposedly right there with God throughout eternity. So then why is Jesus' considered both God's son AND one third of God himself?

Human beings have reproductive organs and so do many many other animal species and even plants have something equivalent. So if plants can have the reproductive equipment to allow for pollination they now share more in common with us than God does, because God does not have genitals and does not reproduce.


Futurama explains human evolution

The Unbroken Line

Biology makes sense in light of evolution but the fables and myths believed about our origins thousands of years ago have no insights to yield on the subject. Instead of providing explanations Creationism merely raises more questions. It offers no mechanism for God's creation save supernatural power, which itself defies any attempts at explanation and leaves behind no evidence.

Evolution functions without the supernatural, all it takes is an unbroken line of reproduction. Each new generation is a variation on the last generation and these slight differences add up over countless generations to create organisms that are both vastly different and yet share many of the same characteristics. What all we lifeforms have in common though is that none of us are one of a kind, we all come from somewhere and so we all share some traits.

Can a God that has no origin, no ancestors, no siblings, no method of reproduction even exist? Can such a thing even count as being ALIVE if it always existed and can never be destroyed? Many Christians claim that without eternal life, without eternal purpose, there can be no true meaning. But I posit that the opposite is true. Strip away birth, strip away any means of procreation, strip away a functioning biological system, and you are left with something that is either inanimate or doesn't exist at all.

Children of God

Some Christians might argue that God did reproduce, when he created human beings. That is why they call us the children of God after all, because we are all descended from God himself. But if God's creation of Adam is an act of reproduction than how close are we humans from possessing the same “DNA” as God does? We now know that human beings share well over 90% of our DNA with Chimpanzees, we also look and behave a lot like other primates. If the creationists are right than Chimpanzees also must share in the heritage of God and be made in his image, albeit a slightly blurrier version than our own.

The Bible offers no explanation for why human beings share so many similarities with our animal cousins, especially the other primates. Evolution on the other hand can show us our own journey, the endless chain of lifeforms back to the very basic chemical reactions that sparked it all.

Like with evolution I would argue that gods have ancestors too, for there is an almost endless chain of deities that man has believed in throughout time. In these modern times these ancient gods and the anachronistic beliefs regarding them simply do not fit. And so the Christian God has moved from the sky, where an ancient tower built by mere men might have breached into Heaven itself, to a more nebulous place. He's gone from a King upon a throne, wrestling with Jacob, personally burying Moses in secret, to a transdimensional spirit-being on another plane of existence. Where once he caused the Earth to quake and storms to split the sky now he is relegated to mysteries left unsolved, pushed back to the brink of the Universe as a mere first cause.

Conclusions

The God myth simply doesn't have many teeth anymore. This is why it is taught to children who have not yet developed the ability to discern between fact and fiction and reinforced to them by authority figures like family and friends. This is why emotional manipulation, such as targeting the imprisoned, the sick, the poor and the addicted have worked so well for Christianity where logic, reason and evidence have failed to come through. Apologists will do their best, with twisted logic and endless excuses, to defend and deflect any attack, no matter how valid, on their faith. They will coddle God and hide him beneath their skirts, for all of antiquity's God's are merely the Children of Men.

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Comments 9 comments

Rayne123 3 years ago

Well in a way this is kind of funny.

I asked God if he eats and then bam here comes your hub with I guess my answered question.

I believe in his existence and I also know he is within all of us. He does not live literally in the sky but I do believe he reigns here on earth and can be wherever and whatever he wants to be.

I do believe actually that there is a kingdom (brand new waiting for the Lord to reign as King). I also believe that there is a heaven a beautiful new world.

However this is a great hub with some touch of humor, thank you

Laurie


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Thanks for the comment Rayne, glad that even a believer in God can find something useful in my hubs :)

I like to think that if there was a god out there it would bear little or no resemblance, physical or otherwise, to any of those who human beings have believed in. The gods our religion's worship tend to be reflections of the people that believe in them, which is why there is such a disconnect between what the Bible has to say about God and what modern Christians often believe.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 3 years ago from Michigan, USA

Titen, I found your comments regarding whether God has a need to eat fascinating. I must admit, the first thoughts that came to mind were of Data the android from Star Trek TNG who, though he doesn't need to eat, pretends to eat and drink, just to fit in with the rest of the crew.

It also reminded me of all the passages regarding God's apparent love of barbecue. He may reside in Heaven but, according to the Old Testament, he clearly enjoys the smell coming from burning animals here on Earth. So either he has a functioning nose with incredible sensitivity, or he's closer than people are willing to admit (and we presumably missed his house on all those space missions).

In the end, I'd say the most compelling argument (aside from the fundamental question of God's existence) for whether God created man or vice-versa is to consider that God (as described in the Bible) possesses all the faults of humanity but almost none of the positive qualities of humanity, like empathy, humility, compassion and a sense of justice.

Is it more logical that man created God, giving him only some of humanity's traits, or that God created humanity, giving them more traits than he possesses himself?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Well, obviously the Gods have teeth. All those sacrifices - fatted lambs, roasted meat, fruits and vegetables, first born male children, etc. had to be chewed by teeth.

Obviously we share DNA with the Gods, it is the map/plan/blueprint by which we were created out of the dust.

Obviously God wears a crown and sits on a throne - If he wants to because he can be anywhere, anytime, anything he wants to.

Obviously there is a better world called heaven somewhere, incredibly beautiful and peaceful where lions sleep with lambs. There is a book that says so and if that book says it, it must be true.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again Author

At least Data has a functioning body and mind, even if it isn't really biological. That show made me wonder if we might one day see a civil rights movement for Artificially intelligent beings or for clones.

Yeah it is strange that the God of the Bible enjoys the wafting aroma of burning flesh, I guess it made sense back when gods resided in the sky that they could smell the smoke. Another thing that always perplexed me was how detailed the methods of sacrifice often were. Specifying where the entrails were to go, where to sprinkle the blood, what animals God preferred for which sins/occasions. Of course Christians claim ALL of those animal sacrifices were symbolic of Jesus' later sacrifice, except that none of those animal sacrifices were symbolic, those animals were literally slaughtered and those doing the slaughtering certainly would have had NO idea they were foreshadowing the sacrificial slaughter of a man-god.

"Is it more logical that man created God, giving him only some of humanity's traits, or that God created humanity, giving them more traits than he possesses himself?"

That's a very concise way of putting it.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again Author

I'm half expecting someone who believes in ancient astronauts to come into this hub and start talking about how the God of the Bible was an alien and that we DO share his DNA. The thing that keeps the Bible alive is constant reinterpretation and constant salesmanship.

Also don't forget all the virgins sacrificed to the gods throughout antiquity as well, how else were the harvests supposed to be bountiful? At least in South American religions they ripped your heart out on an altar, sounds far kinder than being eaten while still alive to me.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

As a semi-expert on Mayan and Aztec sacrifices, I can tell you this. Researchers have uncovered good evidence to suggest that the sacrifices went willingly and were given powerful drugs to spare them the pain of whatever method was in favor at the time. They often fought wars for the sole purpose of capturing sacrificial offerings, but the people were willing to sacrifice themselves for the 'greater good' anyway.

It's all in how you were raised. Your beliefs almost always align with your parents and ancestors simply because that is what you are taught from birth.

Unfortunately, there are still way too many people being taught from ancient books. They cannot give up their childhood programming.


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 3 years ago from New Mexico

Great hub, great points made about the ridiculousness that is God. We indeed created God, hence why for each culture and each mindset there seem to be a different God. There are over 20 different religions, only a few are new and Christian based but all in all they are made up by man. Man created God to bend the masses to their will, God's will is in fact the will of the creators of such a God, obedience to the authority. Who decides what God's will is? The creators of the God. Religion is merely a scam for the people who are the authority of what God wants to get rich off the gullible masses who believe in such a God. Religion is a tax free business, now who doesn't want a tax free business? The creator of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, was a convicted scam artist, he made up the religion so he could convince his wife to let him have more wives and to convince people to give him money. Scientology is the same, L. Ron Hubbard is quoted as saying, "If I really wanted to get rich I'd start my own religion", and so he did.

Now think about this Christians, if you grew up in India you'd be Hindu, but no you grew up in a nation populated mostly by Christians. Also how old is JudeoChristianity? 3000 at most. While there are religions far older, most dead now.... except Hinduism, which is the oldest living religion. And the believers of any sort of God, whether you believe God has a spiritual form that looks like us, or whether you believe God is some sort of intelligent omniscience, what is your proof that what you believe is reality? What is the basis for your beliefs? A book by an author who claims it's the word of God? You can believe that all you want, but I'm not that stupid.... yes I just called believers stupid, because to be perfectly honest, (for example) if tell someone I have a million dollars and I will give the entire amount to you if you let stay at your house and eat all your food and maybe have sex with you 18 year old daughter, what would you think of that person? They are an idiot, right? What's the difference? I am God (says the Bible) and I will give you eternal life in heaven if you are completely obedient and loving to me..... really? Okay. Seriously? When someone offers something that is too good to be true why would you NOT ask for proof of the claim? Because someone says if you question it the offer is expired and you will burn in hell for questioning the validity of their authority? That sounds more like a mob boss than a God. And considering all the other horrendous things the Bible said God has done to people he found, imperfect or even slightly disobedient, the God of the Bible sounds like a complete lying monster. I love you but if you look at the city behind you that I have burned down I am going to turn you to a pillar of salt.... seriously he did that.... in the Bible at least.

God is a fictional character in a work of fiction created by not one person but many people trying to get followers to bend their behaviors to their will. And then some of these behaviors, credited as being divined by God are just plain evil, like "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" or "Stoning disobedient Children" "God kills 70,000 innocent people because David ordered a census of the people (1 Chronicles 21). God also orders the destruction of 60 cities so that the Israelites can live there. He orders the killing of all the men, women, and children of each city, and the looting of all of value (Deuteronomy 3). He orders another attack and the killing of “all the living creatures of the city: men and women, young, and old, as well as oxen sheep, and asses” (Joshua 6). In Judges 21, He orders the murder of all the people of Jabesh-gilead, except for the virgin girls who were taken to be forcibly raped and married. When they wanted more virgins, God told them to hide alongside the road and when they saw a girl they liked, kidnap her and forcibly rape her and make her your wife! In 2 Kings 10:18-27, God orders the murder of all the worshipers of a different god in their very own church! In total God kills 371,186 people directly and orders another 1,862,265 people murdered."

These are not actions of a loving all powerful God, this is the behavior of humanity claiming God wanted us to do this to preserve the status quo.

Yet, people claim it's okay because God can do what he wants with his creation and we are the imperfect ones and God is perfect....

All I can say to anyone is prove it. Prove that one, God is a real thing, two, God is necessary for our existence or the existence of the universe, and more so, three, that God is good.... after you have proven one and two....

The problem is you can't, you have to have faith, faith is the stupid affirmation of the absurd, it's believing in something without evidence or in spite of the evidence to the contrary and because of this you will claim that something is evidence of God despite the alternate, provable and contrary explanatory evidence that science has discovered.

Sorry about the rant, Titen, I loved this article, it was brilliant.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Thanks for the kind words artblack01 and feel free to rant away whenever you want.

It kinda amazes me that people will believe Christianity is the one true religion without ever looking at other, especially OLDER, religions. I can remember my Father, who remains a fundamentalist to this day, would just scoff and dismiss the idea that any religion might be older than Christianity. Whenever a TV program came on discussing geology or life on Earth that talked in the millions or billions of years he scoffed at the idea.

It's amazing how easy it is for humans to blind ourselves and to believe that our special brand of superstition is superior or truer than someone else's. Christians mock Scientology and dismiss Mormonism but will believe their own special brand of nonsense without question. To dismiss someone else's superstition is one thing, but then they also dismiss scientific facts and ideas that contradict their own ancient dogmas. As much as I respect their rights to believe what they want I can't help but see many of the more Fundamentalist and literalist religious people as holding back mankind's progress on multiple fronts.

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