Last night, I found myself re-reading part of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Lately I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be created in the image of God, but Lewis describes it much more eloquently than I ever could:
“A statue has the shape of a man but is not alive. In the same way, man has (in a sense I am going to explain) the ‘shape’ or likeness of God, but he has not got the kind of life God has. Let us take the first point (man’s resemblance to God) first. Everything God has made has some likeness to Himself. Space is like Him in its hugeness: not that the greatness of space is the same kind of greatness as God’s, but it is a sort of symbol of it, or a translation of it into non-spiritual terms. Matter is like God in having energy: though, again, of course, physical energy is a different kind of thing from the power of God. The vegetable world is like Him because it is alive, and He is the ‘living God’. But life, in this biological sense, is not the same as the life there is in God: it is only a kind of symbol or shadow of it.”
Lewis goes on to explain that even though humanity is the closest resemblance to God that we know of (in that we can create, love, reason, etc.), we still are part of the natural world and cannot possess spiritual life on our own:
“A man who changed from having [natural life] to having [spiritual life] would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.
And that is precisely what Christianity is about. This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of use are some day going to come to life.”
(from Mere Christianity, book 4, chapter 1)