Bayou-Picayune Podcast, S02 EP12: God versus Man: Who was created in whose image
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Did God create man in God’s image?
Or did man create his gods in man’s image?
The oldest books in the Bible were apparently written before The Iliad, the oldest Greek manuscript.
However, because of oral traditions
Before Greek mythology, ancient civilizations (like the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians) depicted their gods as bestial, such as, birds or bulls or monstrous combinations of man and animal.
To understand the problem this presented for ancient man, consider this: That cat you’re petting in your lap, who knows what is going on in its head? She can — and probably has — on numerous occasions and with absolutely no provocation, hissed at you or scratched or bit you.
That was the problem for ancient man when he created gods that were bestial. Man had no way of understanding what, if anything, the gods wanted or expected of mankind.
Then came the Greeks, who, by making their gods human, made their world seem more rational. Even if Zeus lied or was petty or lustful, at least he was more understandable than a cat.
Now we come to the opposite proposition. Instead of man (specifically, the Greeks) creating their gods in man’s image, let’s look at what Judeo-Christians mean when they say God created man in God’s image.
First of all, we must dismiss the shallow and simplistic notion that God has a gender and that He (or She) has a physical appearance and that we look like Him or Her.
For Judeo-Christians, when they say man was created in the image and likeness of God, they mean something else entirely. Here are four of those characteristics which they attribute to a creative Godhead:
One, unlike animals, we possess a spiritual nature and can distinguish between right and wrong. An animal, as far as we can ascertain, does not have a conscience. It simply moves on from one thing to another because it really isn’t responsible for its actions. (Many people today disavow man’s moral compass and claim that we, like animals, are not responsible for our actions and that we are simply victims of heredity or environment. As a teacher, I see this in young people today. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry,” when they do something wrong, they say, “My bad,” as though, like an animal, they are not really responsible for what they have done.)
Two, we each possess self-consciousness and a personality, traits
Three, we are rational. We have
Four, we are emotional and creative, which Judeo-Christians point to as something we share in common with a loving Creator. Everything from the artistic treasures in the Louvre to our child’s crayon drawings on the refrigerator. Our music. Our stories. Our written records. No other species creates like us.
And there you have it: Our ability to distinguish between right and wrong, our consciousness and individual personalities, our ability to think in the abstract and build things, and our innate sense to express ourselves creatively — these are four of the “Godlike” characteristics, which, according to Judeo-Christians, indicate that humans were created in the image and likeness of a higher power, which we call God.