Racism and the Imago Dei

The main reason God loathes racism comes from the early chapters of the Bible.

On the 6th day of creation. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).

Theologians have wrestled with the imago dei (“our image”) for centuries and I am certainly not going to answer all of your questions in this blog post, but let me, instead, give you a brief understanding.

The word for “image” means “to carve or to cut off.” Genesis 1:26 means man was carved from God. He was shaped and formed – in a way – like God. That means that we are created from a heavenly pattern. That means we are created on a heavenly pattern which is not true of anything else that was created, nothing else in the time-space universe. No animal was made in God’s image. No mountain was made in God’s image. No star or black hole was made in God’s image.

Man was created in a special way. He is the only one or thing made after God in some fashion. He bears the stamp of God’s likeness. You might say the pattern for personhood was God. Like God, man has reason, intellect, will and emotion.

Image result for different races children

To “be racist” is to behave in such a way that supposes that you are made in the image of God in a way that others are not. It is a selfish distortion of the imago dei. You could say that to “be racist” is to seek to undermine the stamp of God’s image that is upon all of us.

This is also, by the way, the reason that murder is forbidden in the Scripture – “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6).

John Calvin tell us, “Now if we do not wish to violate the image of God, we ought to hold our neighbors sacred. And if we do not wish to renounce all humanity, we ought to cherish him as our flesh.”

Love your neighbor as your self – as your own flesh. Love the one of different heritage and different language and different color from you, for you were BOTH made in God’s image.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s