Daily Archives: October 15, 2010

Marred Image

Psalm 104:14-15 (ESV)
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
[15] and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

Animals cannot grow gardens. They cannot take the raw materials necessary for life and brew up a nutritious meal from them. All the nutrients and satisfaction they require is in them in their raw state. The grass grows wild, the cattle eat it and enjoy it and are nourished by it. The cattle never complain about the lack of variety or feel longings for something different today.

But we do. We are created in the image of God and that involves a love for variety and diversity and the ability to make something new out of basic raw materials. “Watch this” God says to the heavenly hosts and He bends down and makes a creature like Himself out of the mud. Not like the animals were we brought into existence. So when God made man he put in him, as part of God’s own image, the longing to create things of beauty and the desire to take raw materials and create something fabulous out of them.

Note what the verse says. God made grass grow for livestock to eat and he made plants for man to cultivate. Livestock eat it just as it is. We may do that as well, but we also cultivate.

Even the wine that is made to gladden the heart of man is not a raw material. It is the product of a combination of materials, and fermentation and ingenuity and skill. The bread referred to does not grow. It is the product of years of experimentation, study and knowledge passed on from one generation to another. Taking raw materials and making something new out of them is part of what it means to be made in the image of God.

Taking that ability to cultivate and think and then use it to make weapons for war, develop  technologies for the purpose of destroying the planet several times over, combining chemicals to make poisons that can kill whole countries, developing ingenious devices that torture and maim, gadgets for unthinkable destruction, immorality and self promotion, are all what it means to be fallen.  Thus we have today all the technological wonders created from the materials put here by God for us to use creatively. And what do we do with them? The exact opposite they were given in the first place.

The technological wonders of our age have not made mankind a better behaved bunch. They have made us use our depravity with greater technological skill. The abilities we have to save people and heal and benefit humanity are also used to kill. The ability God gave us to create has been turned on its head so that we can destroy. The answer to mankind’s problems is not found in science. What is needed is a fundamental change to the human heart so that human beings would no longer use their God given intelligence and skill for such horrifying purposes. What is needed is for God to intervene into the very soul of the pinnacle of His creation and change it from within.

And that is precisely what He has done. The history of humanity is a testimony of taking the good that God did and turning it around for evil. The story of the Gospel is God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, doing something even greater to turn things back again.