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In the Image of God
In the Beginning
As Christians, we may all be aware of the scripture verse, Genesis 1:27. It is where it all began for us as people of God: "And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them." As a kid the passege fascinated me.
What did this mean? I, a young, skinny kid in the South Bronx - like God? Growing up in the South Bronx, in the late 70's and early 80's, one did not feel like, in-control, much less "like-God."
Confusing matters further, Genesis 3:22 laid the following on me: "Then God said, 'Now that the man has become like one of us in knowing good from evil, he must not be allowed to reach out his hand and pick from the tree of life too, and eat and live for ever!" Wow, it was all so confusing.
God says: "...Man has become like one of us..." He does not say, man has become like Me. No, He specifically says: "Us." For a young, un-catechised Catholic this awkward discovery begged the question, is there more than one God? And of course the answer is no, there is only one God. However, "three persons in the same God," said my uncertain mother whose most common answer in all things Catholic was merely, "no need to understand it, just believe it!" Okay...
I later came to understand that, ma (God bless the beautiful woman), like many Catholics then and now, haven't a clue about anything Catholic - that's a whole other article.
It was not till much later in life, that I became aware of the doctrine of the Trinity. That is, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Catholics we profess a belief in the Trinity every time we recite the Nicene Creed at Holy Mass or perform the sign of the cross.
Without the time to get too theological in this short article, It is precisely in this trinitarian image (three persons in one) in which we were all created.
Feeling a bit like that young, South Bronx kid from the late 70's and 80's (wait a minute, it just dawned on me, I've basically admitted my age)? Not to fear, I have an analogy for you. That's how we "older people" sometimes explain things.
First let us begin by saying that God is love - we can all agree on that, can we not? Good.
Now, take the sacrament of marriage for example. A man by his lonesome, is still capable of loving. In other words, love is wired into him he yearns to share that love, just as Genesis 2:23 tells us, Adam yearned to share his love when it says: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman..." And so, like God man is love - imperfect, and distorted love, mind you - but love nonetheless.
Likewise, a woman by her lonesome is love. Like the man, it is wired into her - perhaps in a more hewned fashion. Like man, woman yearns to share that love. Genesis 2:24 tells us: "for this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."
Man is love. Woman is love. skewed and disheveled love - but love nonetheless.
It is this wired desire to love, this yearning to share ones love that joins a man and a woman in the holy sacrament of marriage. And scripture tells us it is this "joining" (which sprouts from love) that causes the man and the woman to "become one flesh" - two persons in one. Are we beginning to see that trinitarian image within us? Good.
Now, it is out of this joining, this "becoming" of one flesh that new life springs forth and man and woman bring into the world little Johnnie or Anne - three persons in one flesh! Do we see, it is in the image of the Trinity in which we were created.
Furthermore, in the holy sacrament of marriage, a man and a woman are linked directly to the triune God himself when life is the result of the "joining" together of man and woman. For it is man who provides the sperm, it is woman who provides the ovum (egg), but it is God Almighty who provides the eternal soul.
We were created in God's image.
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