Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In the Image of God

In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, we learn that "All human beings--male and female--are created in the image of God.

So what does it mean to be created in the image of God?

In preparation for this lesson, I found a pretty fair analogy on a Christian website which I will now share with you.  

Using the digital camera on my laptop, my kids and I took photos of ourselves together at the start of our discussion.  They loved to see their funny faces on the screen and in the photos.  We noticed that some photos looked very much like us.  Other photos were blurry and did not yield a perfect likeness.

We then read the line from the Family Proclamation, "All human beings--male and female--are created in the image of God."  

We also read Genesis 1:27:   27 So God created man in his own aimage, in the image of God created he him; male and bfemale created he them.

Referencing the photos we had just taken, we discussed what it means to be created in someone's image. 

We also noted that the pictures that we took with our digital camera produced a pretty excellent likeness of us...but there were still imperfections in the image.

Likewise, God created us in his image, so we look like Him, but we are not yet perfect like He is.  

Physically speaking, many of God's children are born with imperfect bodies, imperfect minds, imperfect emotional states and desires, and so on.  In fact, we all are.

Perhaps that is one of the first lessons of mortality: We strive for perfection, while laboring in imperfect bodies.
Is our ability to become perfect like God contingent on having a perfect physical body in this life?

Certainly not.

Being created in God's image is not just about being able to say that we have all ten fingers and toes!

It is about seeing God's image reflected in the light of our eyes, the brightness of our smile, and the goodness of our soul.  

As Russell M. Nelson has taught, "For reasons usually unknown, some people are born with physical limitations...A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny." (source)

Once again, the key to making sure that we keep the fact that we are created in God's image ever-obvious to ourselves and to those around us is using our AGENCY to make correct choices and to follow God's commandments.

And the thing that our key (agency) needs to unlock is the ATONEMENT of Jesus Christ.

Just as photographs age and yellow and become distorted with the passage of time, so mistakes and our sins (and even the actions of others toward us) can blur and warp the image of God that we see in ourselves and others.

In order to keep ourselves in a state where we accurately reflect the image of God that he intended for us, we need the "Master Developer" to help us remove sin and misdeeds from our lives by the power of the Atonement.

As we use our agency to repent, heal hurt, and remove wrong behaviors, we will be able to clearly see ourselves as sons and daughters of heavenly parents with a divine nature and destiny, and others will be able to recognize that we, regardless of our imperfect circumstances, have been created in the image of God.

So, let's review:

1.  Each of us--male and female--are created in the image of God.
2.  Our bodies, our minds, our desires are not perfect yet, but have the potential to be.
3.  We must work hard, using our agency, to make sure that we reflect the image of God.
4.  Mistakes and sin will distort how we see and understand ourselves and prevent us from reflecting our true image.
5.  Through the Atonement of Christ, we can remove distortions to our character and develop into the people God wants us to be.

Note:  This analogy can be used to highlight other points related to this topic that I have not described here.  Feel free to explore and bring out principles that you feel are important to teach your family.  You might also substitute using other objects such as old and new photos or a mirror instead of a camera.  Also, note that I try to keep the lessons to 5-10 minutes, and this reflects that goal.

Be sure to check out other lessons in this series:

Five-minute Lessons on The Family Proclamation

Agency & The Family Proclamation

In the Image of God

The Pedigree of Your Spirit

Gender Matters

Temples: The Forever Family Place

To Multiply & Replenish the Earth

Family Love

The Responsibility of Parents

Complete Fidelity

Want another way to teach this lesson?  
Check out the cool craft we made together the last time we talked about this:

You can find the instructions here.


  1. Another great lesson for us all. This was a great review and I loved it.

    1. Thank you, LeAnn! I appreciate all of your comments!