How Are We Created in God’s Image? part 3
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

How Are We Created in God’s Image? part 3

The Bible relates that humans were made in the image of God, but the Bible does not spell out exactly what that means. Immediately after creating Adam and Eve, the Bible states that they will have “dominion” over all nonhuman beings. Since God then prescribes a vegan diet for Adam, Eve, and the rest of creation, it is unreasonable to take the popular, self-serving position that “dominion” is meant to convey ruthless tyranny over all creatures.
Rather, Genesis 2 relates that Adam’s task is to “till and keep” the Garden of Eden. I think this helps us understand what being created in God’s image entails. Humanity, with its remarkable skills, is well-positioned to be a good steward of what God has created. Indeed, humans are distinctive in their own creativity, which provides the capacity for both resolving problems justly and nonviolently or for creating problems. Indeed, just as God was free to destroy the world with the Flood, humanity’s free will gives us a choice to be healers or destroyers.
I don’t see being created in God’s image makes humans “better” than other living beings, and it certainly doesn’t make us entitled to special privileges at the expense of others. Instead, I see it as an awesome responsibility that has the potential to give our lives direction and meaning, and also the potential to make us very effective evildoers. How we use our God-given gifts, I think, defines who we are as Christians much more than any verbal statements of faith or practices of rituals. 

Go on to: Book Review: This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology, part 1
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

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