Genesis 1:26 - Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness...."What exactly does "Created in God's Image" mean?
It certainly doesn't mean physical form, unless of course heaven is a physical realm very, very similar to the surface of our planet. Why else would God need a nose? Or feet? Or hair? Or a mouth? You need a nose to smell, and the shape of nose is fairly arbitrary, especially for humans. You need feet to move, but it only works on land and in water (I guess that's why angels have those itty-bitty wings; feet aren't that useful for moving about clouds
). You need hair to keep your head warm, protect you from sunstroke, and as a sexual selective feature (If we have hair and that means God does too, but God doesn't have to worry about sunburn or the cold because he's God, does that mean God has a non-insulating buzzcut, or that his hair is purely ornamental?
). You need a mouth to eat to keep you alive, and to help form sounds (God must be quite the talker
). All these are a result of selection on genes based on physical processes. The concept of heaven as a physical realm of that sort makes little sense.
None of this even comes close to the discussion of the variety of human forms, which of these Adam was, and which, if any, God would resemble, from the concept of race (Is God black? The first humans were African. Asian? There are more asians than anyone else. Middle Eastern? That's where the Judeo-Christian tradition originated. Maybe he's a mix of everything.
), to the differences between the sexes (If God is male, and men are created in God's image, does that mean God has a penis? And if so, what does he use it for? Writing his name in the clouds? Knocking-up Mrs. God? If there is no Mrs. God, then I'll bet God is blind or has hairy palms by now. If "he's" female, that might explain the biblical moodiness, from love to hate to wrath in the blink of an eye, and all that. Uh-oh, I think I'm going to get in trouble for that from my wife.
..). Still, the NIV Genesis account says, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness...." which seems pretty conclusive that it is physical form being talked about.
Perhaps God is the average of all men and women so that real people deviate from his perfection, starting roughly equidistant from the centre. First, that makes androgynous people closer to God's form. We can expect no genitals then, or maybe both sets. Well, that settles that
, but I hardly think people will like the idea of Eric Cartman
as Jesus ("But Meeehhhhmmm! I don't wanna die on the cross! I wanna go to Casa Bonita!
"). But it still leaves us with the problem of all those other organs and appendages that only make sense on an Earthlike world.
Some have postulated that by being created in God's image, the bible really means that we have the power to be creative, to have morals, feelings, intellect, free-will, etc. and that we have a spiritual soul. You know, all those things that separate us from animals (Oh, wait, chimps and elephants paint, get sad at loss, exhibit altruism, and can solve problems. Can't say anything about the soul part, though.
). Anyway, I call shenanigans. In Genesis 3, it is obvious that the first humans were tremendously dim and gullible. They had free-will, but they had not yet even learned of good and evil (What good is free-will without morality anyway? You end up with a psychopath
.). They saw God create with their own eyes, yet still did everything a serpent said that went against what all-powerful God said. The serpent, of course, being much smarter and more cunning than Adam or Eve, somehow already knew about good and evil. If mental power is the likeness to God, then surely the evil serpent was made in God's image, not dimwitted Adam. Remember Genesis 3:22 - "And the LORD God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil."" Clearly, the bible shows that mentality was not the way humans were created in God's image.
So, in closing, after weighing all the ideas brought up above, I'm going to side with the original, yet demonstratably flawed, view that God has a human-like physical form. Further, I shall state that this form is black because humans were African first, and male, because the Bible refers to God as "he". Undoubtedly, men should be fit, healthy, and strong, so I'll postulate that God has a superlatively powerful physical form. He'll have hair; but further, based on my previous argument, his hair should be primarily ornamental. To make good use of his mouth, he likely talks a mean streak. So, without further ado, I now present to you my image of God:"I pity the fool who doesn't kneel before God."
(NB: I realize that Mr. T is a staunch Christian, and is probably going to be offended and kick my ass.)
Labels: fun stuff, religion