What Separates Us From Animals

26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

27 So God created humankind in his image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

-Genesis 1:26-27 (NRSV)


Ever wondered what differentiates us from another creature? 
Or what makes us human? Like, truly human?

Scholars throughout the years have expressed the notion that humans being created in the image of God meant that we have dominion over the earth and all of its inhabitants. It was seen purely as a functional thing. However, such reading has created implications where we see ourselves more apart from creatures than does it tell how we are created in the image of God. Professor Bruce McCormack speaks, citing that such a question as the one posited above has been the wrong question to ask when dealing with the image of God.

In addition, another great problem with this interpretation is the erroneous tendency to act like gods (in the sense of independence and self-determination) when we were created to act on behalf of God. I don't feel it necessary to elaborate on this matter as a simple visit to any news site succinctly points to the instability and inequality of global economics, environmental and social care for the world.

It has come to the point where my conclusion prohibits me to believe that the image of God is merely a functional thing. What I mean is that we are not created in the image of God in such a way where we are to be rulers of the earth. Yes, we are to be stewards of what God has created. However, beyond that, being created in the image of God is to be seen more as a relational thing than functional. As Professor Bruce McCormack would say, there is this sense of "kenotic, self-giving love" that transpires in the moment where two people interact.

Just recently, I happen to come across a video of a girl who unexpectedly became paralyzed (without explanation) from her waist down for 11 days. Upon her sudden recovery, she surprised her favorite nurse of such great news.

The sheer amount of joy and love expressed in this short 80 second clip emulates such divine truth of where humanity is found in the likeness of God. The banner image above was a picture I took in the city. 

For some odd reason, I imagine being created in God's image in this light. Perhaps it's their carefree nature--where they are not concerned about their own selves, but solely in a holy moment. Holy because it is in a "kenotic, self-giving love".