Category Archives: Imago Dei

Human Beings – Accidental, Coincidental, or Designed by an Intelligent Designer

Let’s say for a moment that there is a creature from another planet. And even though this creature is not a human being, he/she/it does have the ability to investigate, reason, analyze, love, appreciate beauty, and blush (By the way, these facts alone are enough to prove that we are made in the image of an Intelligent Designer. What other living creature has this ability?).

But for illustrations sake, a mechanical machine from another planet – whom we’ll call TOFU, discovers earth and finds living here, human beings. What would TOFU discover about human beings that would prove that they had to be designed by an Intelligent Designer? TOFU would discover that there is no way that the complex human system called man and woman, evolved over time to form this living human body.

DNA
You would have to conclude that at the cellular level, you have a very complex thing called DNA. One author has shared how that human DNA contains more organized information than the Encycolopedia Britannica. The languge of life is stored within it. The organism accesses the information that it needs from DNA so it can build some of it’s critical components. The DNA stores more information in a smaller space than the most advanced supercomputer on the planet. States one author: “300 different proteins, a source of sugars, nucleotides, amino acids, and fatty acids all placed together in working order.” Each cell is like a miniature factory town, humming with power plants, automated plants, and recycling centers. The nucleus houses the cellular library, where blueprints are copied and sent to the factories. These manufacture the immense array of products needed within the cell, with the processes all regulated by enzymes that function like stopwatches to ensure that everything is perfectly timed. The outside surface of the cell is regulated with sensors, gates, pumps that regulate traffic coming in and out. It’s like a complex train system where things are so precisely timed, that no crashes happen (Behe, summarized by Nancy Pearcey). And how does evolution know where to take us as humans? Who codes the new DNA? Each cell has a specified message (specified complexity). Think about what evolution would have you to believe. A simple single cell creature… spontaneously generated from primordial soup… the cell mutated and survived a very harsh natural environment… evolved into a species that could swim… then evolved into a species that could fly… all the while surviving while scales are not feathers and feathers are not scales… and gills are not lungs and lungs are not gills… finding food… avoiding predators… and self-assembling new DNA… and reproducing these mutated changes….etc…etc… DNA. Design or accident/coincidence?

Reproduction
You would have to conclude that all the reproductive parts of the male and of the female had to arrive simultaneously together, not over millions of years. Otherwise, every significant development in the male reproductive system would have had to been matched by a female development concurrently, a very unlikely scenario. If evolution is true, the fossil record should reveal millions of intermediate sexual beings and congenital freaks. Human genitals fit snugly together and always have. Everything about the act of fertilization is reciprocal. Design or accident/coincidence?

Brain
Every body function is controlled by the brain. If you need energy, the brain tells the stomach. If you need oxygen, the brain tells the lungs. If you drop in blood pressure, the brain tells the heart to beat faster. The body is covered all over with sensory receptors. It computes millions of computations with just a walk in the park: adjusting to temperature, sensing balance via the inner ear, and taking in audio/visual aids to compute a human response. But most of the brains work happens underneath conscious awareness: a heart that beats, every breath, an eye-blink when the eye is getting dry, light waves and sound waves, every moving joint or muscle – triggers physical, hormonal, and chemical responses that are handled by the brain automatically. It lets you know if something doesn’t taste right, or smell right, or look right, so the human can be freed to pay attention to other things. The brain regulates growth, the endocrine, respiratory, gastrointestinal, circulatory, musculoskeletal, and excretory systems, all of which fit together into a wonderfully designed, interactive living being. Design or accident/coincidence?

Eye
The eye is placed at the top of the head, and gives distance vision. We can also see where we’re going and what we’re touching. Both eyes are set back inside a bony protective socket, but they protrude enough for a wider plane of sight. The eyes are spheres so they can roll around easily. They are set just enough apart to allow for depth perception. Eyebrows protect from glare. Pupils dilate. Eyelids close during sleep and are thin to allow for an awakening at dawn. They water when irritated and wash out irritants. And only humans summon tears in profoundly sad times or extremely happy times. The eye is not a survival organ or a random mutation. There are a minimum number of parts that are necessarily for it to work. Irreducible complexity is an argument made in the discussion on evolution. This concept says that the origin of complex organs must be explained. How do you account for the complexity of the human eye? Some living mechanisms are too complex to arise by the short steps required by evolution. There are many things that evolution cannot explain. Irreducibly complex organs is one of them. The eye has more than two million working parts, and can discern a candle light from miles away. Several well-matched interacting parts contribute to basic function and if one part is removed, the whole part is jeopordized and in many cases ceases to function. What good is a retina by itself? Or ocular muscles and no lens. The eye is a package. Yet Darwin would assert that the eye could not come as a package; that the eye parts each must be useful in some way by itself and performing a function in order for it to evolve in small, incremental steps. Accident or Design?

Ear
The ear catches sound waves like a satellite. It converts it into electrical impulses and sends it to the brain for processing. Even as we age, the ear gets larger to offset the loss of hearing that comes with age. Inner and outer hair cells allow for fine-tuned hearing: cracks of a floorboard, a single instrument in an orchestra, and the sounds of someone breathing, and yet somehow, they tune out the blood splashing through our veins. Speech and sound would have had to evolve together in an evolutionary system. So, you would have had the simulataneous development of the vocal chords. Accident or design?

Nose
It’s really the brain that smells thousands of odors and millions of combinations. It impacts what we eat, when we make love, who just walked into the room, and when we should get out of the house. It filters dirty air and permits us to breath without having to have our mouths open. The nostrils point downward and are placed to receive aroma input, especially before ingesting. Accident or design?

Mouth
The mouth does so much: speaking, tasting, communicating, kissing. The teach allows for consuming food. The tongue allows for taste and swallowing. It also senses texture, helps create an appetite, and aids in digestion. Accident or design?

Touch
Millions of sensory receptors line the human body. Touch tells us when our clothes are too tight or the water is too cold or a blister is developing on our heel. Touch provides comfort and closeness. Many areas are ready to fire off responses when touched – they are hyper-sensitive and chemicals are released when these places are stimulated. Accident or design?

Skin
Skin protects us. It is waterproof, antibacterial, elastic, and flexible, self-repairing, washable, and self-replaces. It makes us look better too. Accident or design?

Our “from another planet – called TOFU” creature will also recognize, upon further investigation, that humans are built for something more than just survival. Humans are overbuilt for the world. We just needed a stick and drum but we have orchestras and Beethoven. And Spielberg and Mozart, and Celine Deion and Einstein and Van Gogh. They take us far beyond mere survival, beyond “competition”. They celebrate each others accomplishments and paint murals to capture beauty and use body language to convey a message. They laugh at each other and write poetry about people and things they love. They are not just trying to “survive”; they are celebrating something – something called life. They can imagine things and display morals. They have a sense of pride in their work. They love to create great scultures or simply doodlings. The coordinate colors and textures and mimic people and animals. They smile and plan for the future. They set priorities and gather food. They dance and perform, write and create. They reason and teach complex ideas. They pray and worship and reach out to a Someone. They show facial expressions and feel regret. They seek justice and long for grace. They deceive and are embarrassed when caught. They remember and hope, taste and touch, see and hear, eat and digest, hold and make love.

And if this “from another planet – TOFU” creature would read the documents of Atheistic Man and Christian Theism Man, he/she/it would theorize that…

Humans are either…
a descendent of a tiny cell of primoridal protoplasm…an arbitrary product of time and place, chance and natural forces…a grab bag of atomic particles, genetic substance…who exists on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in a corner of a meaningless universe, only slightly different from a banana or an amoeba…coming from nothing and going no where…

Or humans are…
a special creation of a good and powerful Intelligent Designer… who made them in His image…with a unique capacity to think and feel and know things…set above all other life forms…to observe all of the rest of creation…discovering how a world works…all the while, engaging this Designer in relationship… encountering His love… and changing the world for the better… and fulfilling a God-given purpose, minus the suffering eventually…on a new earth…

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Filed under Anthropic Principle, Anthropology, Atheism, Atheist, Beauty, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Desire, First Cause, Human Being, Imago Dei, Intelligent Design, Irreducible Complexity, Pleasure, Sex, Worldview

Reclaiming Fallen Creation – Create God-Honoring Culture

Before God asked us to do anything else in Genesis 1-2, He gave us a job to do and basically said “Take care of my stuff.”

We are to exercise a responsible stewardship. We can never create what God created, but we are called to extend it, shape it and form it and organize it and research it and use it in such a God-glorifying way that we thus extend his creative work in our world.

We are to plant and manage fields and food supplies. We are to construct cities and communities and restore old ones. We are to make music and works of art. We are to breakdown diseases and sicknesses and endeavor to find a cure. We are to utilize all of science to find answers to as many questions as we can. We are to adventure into outer space. We are to dedicate ourselves to the laboratory. We are to study law and economics. We are to engage in education and politics. We are to build databases and information systems to give people greater control over the information in their lives.

Why? All of this is to massage the potential of the created order. By penetrating our society and letting God’s values come to bear in all of the areas, we speak a “Genesis”, a new creation, into the lives of people and our world.

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Filed under Atheism, Christian Worldview, Cultural Commission, Cultural Mandate, Genesis 1-3, Imago Dei, Larger Story, Life Purpose, Restoration

God’s Image Defines My Life Purpose

Genesis really defines what our purpose in life really is. It makes clear our true purpose.

We read in Genesis: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

No other creature was given this kind of mandate. In this simple mandate, we have someone to love (male and female), we have a job to do (rule over), we have an adventure to live (explore the Outback), and a God to enjoy (made in His image). God sums up our purpose in two short verses with one key phrase “the image of God”. Something of God is crammed into every life.

We are scaled down copies of God. Some people tarnish it and some people polish it, but we are all responsible for it. If we are not made in the image of God life is cheapened; but if we are, we have inestimable worth.

At the time the Book of Genesis was written, ancient kings of the Near East, who ruled vast territories, knew that they could not be physically present everywhere in their kingdoms, so they commissioned statues of themselves to be placed in all the major cities of their realms. When people looked at these statues, they were reminded of the authority of the king who ruled them. The statue was not the same as the king, but it represented the king and was due the same glory and honor. To dishonor the statue of the king was sacrilege, treason.

Humanity was to function in the same way. We are reflections, rough representations of the Creator in ways that his other creatures are not (Intimate Allies, 18). You are God’s representative on earth. There is no higher calling. When we create, and excel at something and are able to stand back and admire what we have created and accomplished through His power and creativity at work in us image-bearers, we are most like the image of God as it is presented in Genesis 1 and 2.

Because we are made in God’s image, we are capable of great things in the area of mathematics, science, technology, philosophy, the arts, sports, medicine, construction, and serving causes that change people’s lives, and so on and so forth. Our greatness is a result of God’s image in us. We reflect the glory of our Maker. Knowing that we are fulfilling God’s purpose of representation in our world and moving the largers story along, is the only thing that really gives rest to the restless human heart.

Like so many worldviews today (like atheism or secular humanism), we still have communities of people who will deny that we are image-bearers, either by denouncing the existence of the King or offering naturalistic explanations for how we came to exist. As a result, life purpose is lost, our image-bearing status is denied. Oh, there are still people to love, places to go, adventures to live. But there is no God to reflect. Cut off from this connection, we don’t view people right, we don’t view our jobs right, and we don’t fully live the adventure of making an eternal difference.

In a post-Fallen world, God’s image has become marred; it is defaced but not erased. In this defaced state, we don’t create or do things or admire what we’ve created for the right reasons. We use our abilities to do evil things sometimes or to selfishly enjoy the benefits that they bring. And instead of creating in community, we fragment into disunity, filled with jealousy, envy, pride, sloth, and wasted potential.

The glory of the Creator in you is demonstrated when you find yourself enjoying God, created in His image, reflecting His purposes, caught up in His love-story, and partnering with Him to restore a broken humanity. The body He gave you to live in; the globe He gave you to live on; the abilities He infused you with; the brain he placed in your cranium; the property and possessions He has allowed you to own – it’s all to be creatively shaped, cared for, and used in a way that reflects the One whose image you bear.

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Filed under Atheism, God, Image of God, Imago Dei

Why are There so Many Atheism Blogs? – Part 2

The Image of God – Even in an Atheistic Blog

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Mankind is made in the image of God. What does this mean? Simply stated, we reflect our Creator.

Dorothy Sayers has questioned: “How then can [man] be said to resemble God? Is it his immortal soul, his rationality, his self-consciousness, his free will, or what, that gives him a claim to this rather startling distinction? A case may be argued for all these elements in the complex nature of man (The Whimsical… 114).” What she goes on to state is that we can observe God in Genesis 1 and begin to understand what or Who it is that we are reflecting. One of the things that stands out is our creativity. Like God, we love to create.

We love to write stories (even untrue ones reflect a bit of God’s image in us through the very fact that we are writing at all), produce movies (even immoral ones express some of God’s image as we tell a story we love), express poetry (even bad poetry indicates a measure of artistic expression), – you’re getting the picture now…

…We build buildings, create community, assemble machines, produce websites, explore the unknown, construct a great meal, and build a family with our spouse, and even write a blog. And even if that blog is atheistic – it still expresses God’s image.

We love to create! And what we create is not complete until it has been offered and shared with others in community. This is ironic for atheists, who proport that they don’t believe in God, but yet they reflect His image by bloging in community so much. They are expressing God’s image, even while they deny His existence.

By the way, these “reflective images” don’t sound like a machine to me for some reason? This is a living person we’re talking about here, shaped by God, not a collection of chemicals, or at one time cosmic garbage. These things we make are not distorted physical drives; they are expressions of God in us. It’s unique to human beings. (How many dogs do you see admiring a sunset in the evening?)

In Genesis, God said it was all good after the first week of creation, and then he told Adam and Eve, “Now, you guys keep this going. Keep creating and shaping, knowing and loving.”

To all people, including atheists, keep blogging! You are a reflection of the One you deny. But what do you say? Let’s polish His image, rather than tarnish it.

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Filed under Agnosticism, Atheism, Christian Worldview, God, Image of God, Imago Dei, Theism, Worldview