God's image, our image

A Christian Science perspective: Looking beyond the selfie to the image that truly represents what we are.

It will be another bumper year for images in 2017, even just counting selfies alone. It has been estimated by Google that users of its Android smartphone operating system alone take more than 90 million selfies each day!

This flood of images has led me to think more thoughtfully about the whole “image” topic, especially as it relates to understanding what we all actually are. I’ve had an interesting realization: Despite the pictures – the countless images – that we might have of ourselves or others, for a truer view we need to look beyond physicality.

In fact, the best way to know our true identity is to see ourselves as God sees us. God, divine Spirit, is the infinite goodness that made each of us, and since like produces like, Spirit knows its creation as being far beyond the realms of mortality. And as we see ourselves as Spirit’s offspring, more of our true identity as God’s spiritual image emerges in our experience. As the Bible puts it, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18).

This doesn’t mean we are “spittin’ images,” or identical mini-copies, of God, but that each of us exists as an individually distinct image, or representation, of the one infinite God, Spirit.

We could think of it this way. Suppose you were hiking on a trail that circled a big mountain. Each step you take would give you a different perspective of that mountain, but there are countless ways to view it. Similarly, there’s only one God, which universal man reflects, but the spiritual nature of each of us is a completely individual expression of the countless spiritual attributes, such as joy and harmony, forever within our one, shared divine source.

In this way, we are each a unique expression of the infinite God – the image of the measureless Being that Christian Science reveals as Truth and Love itself. On page 476 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” author Mary Baker Eddy says: “When speaking of God’s children, not the children of men, Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is within you;’ that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God’s image is unfallen and eternal.”

“Unfallen and eternal” – just think how those divine attributes expand our view of ourselves and each other. God’s unchanging, pure goodness is expressed in us, right now and forever. Even though the world may present a different picture, in all ways and at all times it is God’s qualities that make up our entire, unique identity as His spiritual image. And it makes a practical difference to understand that.

Someone I know who worked as a professional athlete found that beholding himself as the image of Truth and Love, rather than as defined and limited by materiality, brought his performance to a completely new level. As the stress of believing he had to have the “right” physical body size lost its grip on his thoughts, his play became so much freer and stronger. Some of his teammates caught this sense of spiritual self-identification, too, and felt tangibly that same freedom.

So, as we take all those selfies, let’s appreciate the precious fact that in reality there is only one image that genuinely represents our true identity: the image, or reflection, of God that we each actually are. Let’s value our own, and each other’s, worth enough to prayerfully behold one another as we truly are, made in God’s image.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.