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He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. 

                                                                            – Colossians 1:15-20

In the first of the two creation stories that highlight the opening chapters of Genesis, the authors articulate the intention of God to create humankind in God’s own image, the imago dei; and before the ink dried on the parchment, theologians, seekers, skeptics, cynics, scholars, and believers began and have continued to debate not only the definition and substance of the imago dei, but also what damage it suffered in the scandalous twist of events that transpired during the recording of the world’s first reality show, The Garden of Eden. That the Fall of humanity depicted in the Eden narrative would have an impact on the imago dei is not in debate nearly as much as is the extent of this impact. Some said nothing essential to our human nature was damaged. Luther argued that with the arrival of sin in the Garden, humanity lost the imago dei in everything but name only. Calvin, however, proposed that the outcome of Eden’s soap opera was not a total loss of the imago dei, but what was left was surely and thoroughly corrupted.


It does not require intensive investigation or deep thought to see an abundance of evidence confirming notions of total depravity. Even one as faithful and persevering as Paul despaired of his capacity to overcome depravity: “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.”


However, and this is perhaps the most pivotal "however" in history, in Christ, God was able to detect and capture the smallest fragment of imago dei left within us. For in Christ “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” How small that fragment of imago dei was becomes irrelevant when compared to the magnitude of God’s grace. In a world where we expend far too much energy and anxiety seeking to be seen, heard, and known, what joy and peace it is to discover that in and through Christ, God not only sees, hears, and knows us, but God perceives something of Godself in each of us.

Grace and Peace,



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