Skip to main content

Born of joy: recognising your image in God.

Born of joy abstract blog graphic on the Hunter of Beauty blog

Have you ever impressed yourself? I reckon you probably have, at least once. Even if it was only in a little way. I've had many moments of impressing myself over the years. Musically, artistically, intellectually, personally. Being made in God's image, we often achieve wonderful things, even when we're not even intending to seek greatness for ourselves. And the things we do that impress us, often lead to situations that benefit other people. People have paid to see me play songs I wrote with a band I was in (not that I think it's any good anymore, mind). My artwork has been exhibited in a gallery and people have bought it to hang on their walls for their own enjoyment.

If you've read this blog before, you'll notice it looks rather different at the moment. That's because I had a little go at a re-branding during my lunch break. It's starts with the concept of what might be achievable, then you have a go at the creation process, and if you feel impressed by it, you usually end up sharing it with other people. Even if we know not everyone will like it, if we are impressed with what we've achieved, we often seek to put it before the public eye. Whether that's a piece of art or music, a political manifesto, the logo I've just designed for the blog, or my kids being proud of their increasingly coherent artwork. We put what we're proud of in front of others after it has first impressed us.

There is something about that initial sensation of joy we feel, that gives us the confidence that others might enjoy it too. It makes sense. When one human being feels joy at something, it stands to reason that another human being might also feel joy at that same thing. We recognise our likeness in another and conclude that they will likely experience life in a similar way to us. So we share our moments of joy; our discoveries or creations.

If we can recognise our likeness in another human being by virtue of self-analysis, it also stands to reason that we should be able to recognise our Creator, in whose image we are made in, by virtue of self-analysis. Now, being sinful beings, our image is a broken reflection of the one who created us and now no longer a wholly accurate way to comprehend what God is like. So we must be careful in thinking this way. Yet the image is not completely damaged. And to create or to sense joy at a discovery or to seek to share this is no sin. So when we recognise those little moments of joy when we impress ourselves with an achievement, we can understand something of the experience God had (and still has...) during the creation process.

This is a really sweet thought, right? To think of God being impressed with what he knew he could achieve - creation - and then to go on and produce it. What joy for him at that moment. Six days of delighting in what he was creating. As Genesis chapter one repeats for us "And God saw that it was good" God really did enjoy what he created. So enjoyable and worthy of sharing he even created people (in part) so that it could be shared. And thus the gift returns over and over again as people continue to reflect their creator by creating. And let's not forget that, being made specifically in his image, mankind is the pinnacle of God's creation. We're the best bit of it. We're the title track.

And d'ya know, there is supposed to be something super comforting about this truth. It centres us in the affections of our creator; our father, God. And we have a basis for understanding our relationship to him. His initial posture, at the point of creation, is one of joy, delight and affirmation of those whom he as just created. We are precious to him. That should give us much confidence and assurance as Christians, battling with sin, as we seek to draw near to him. Often we feel the weight of our guilt and unworthiness or sense his anger or displeasure at us (or mankind in general). Yet, we should understand that our relationship with him did not start at a point of animosity. We did not start off evil and he did not start off angry. We were his children, and like a newborn child that has neither done good nor evil unto his parents, is loved by the simply by the fact that he is theirs. So it is with God. Our journey is one of recovery, not of reaching something new. Recovering love, not attaining favour.

So, whenever you impress yourself next, with something worth sharing, remember that feeling of joy that led to it, and read into that the joy of your father when he created YOU!


Popular posts from this blog

Does God care what you look like? Part 1: Yes!

Does God care about the way we look? Does he care about our bodies, our hairstyles or our clothing? Does he care about tattoos or a wonky nose - or perhaps a scar or physical defect? In my church, we generally don't care about what people look like. Black, white, fat, thin, fashionable, unfashionable. How someone looks might be a very occasional point of interest, but generally speaking, what someone looks like will not have a significant influence on our judgement or value of a person. Heck, even I managed to get away with leading a Sunday service in shorts without getting so much as a raised eyebrow. Whilst the modern day, western, evangelical church scene will be keen to point out that there are more important things to worry about than what people look like - taking a sort of "man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart" approach - the rest of the world is obsessed with personal appearance. Beauty is big business and hot topic All you ha

The Importance of Plastic

What I like about philosophy is that you have an idea which you express in a certain way, according to the language you use, the words you know, the analogies you can think of, the categories you have defined, the context you exist in etc... But then you spot something, another idea, expressed rather differently and related to a different situation, yet somehow it seems eerily familiar. I love it when I see a conceptual crossover of ideas. I love Francis Schaeffer's 'line of despair' idea, I love Elaine Scarry's 'beauty makes copies of itself' idea and I love Piet Mondrian's 'plastic art' idea, to name but a few off the top of my head. It's quite reassuring and encouraging to find resonance in your own thinking with the ideas of great minds. But not necessarily surprising. God made the world to work a certain way, so why shouldn't people come up with similar ideas about how to interpret the material and spiritual universe? Anyway, I want to b

Jesus IS Ruling Well

Jesus IS Ruling Well As I was reflecting on 2020 and pondering the year ahead, a verse from Psalm 118 came to mind. As it turns out the whole Psalm is full of the type of wisdom that will help us all to reflect on a year we didn’t expect and will help us prepare for a year we can’t really predict. Psalm 118 offers us three things to remember about God, and then an appropriate response at the end. This little transcript is in no way an in-depth exegesis of the whole psalm - so full of glory as it is - but touches on the key points which are of most use to use for helping us get to grips with how God operates in the world. Point one: Remember that God is good The first thing we need to remember according to the psalm is that God is good . Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. That's how the psalm begins. Right from the off, the psalmist is establishing the innate goodness of God. It’s the premise of the rest of the psalm and good practice for us, to recognise that God is a good God