Man and woman, made in His image, after His likeness. Man and woman, the final creations, handed dominion and glory. Man and woman, created by God, made by God, more like God, than any other beast.
Man and woman, a reflection of the Almighty, crafted to do what the Almighty could do. God spoke words, and it was so. Adam named animals, and they were named. God breathed words, life, into the dust of the ground, and it lived. Mankind exhales words that builds worlds, defines theories and relationships, calls the unknown into existence. From the beginning of our time, man and woman were made to speak, unlike the waters, trees and birds of the air. They were made to create, more than the sun and flowers and the beasts of the earth. In their words, by their speaking, they were given His image, made in His likeness to be like gods.
Loudmouthed creatures that we are, we’ve experienced this to be true. Speaking reality with our words. Changing hearts and minds. Persuading and manipulating. Creating and destroying. By the power of our definitions, our signifiers, our meanings, our words, we know how to create a world. Be it politics or literature, delusions or elementary school, mankind shapes the creation. We don’t always like to admit, that we know how to wield the power of gods.
Because we remember what happened, a long time ago. When the God of creation was challenged by His likeness, His creature, an idol. Serpent spoke and created another story. Man and woman took his words and ate, thereby confessing the new creation. Creating and destroying, words changed the world. What was the greatest gift given, the image of God to make as He made, was the downfall to death for those like gods.
No longer could these gods trust God unconditionally, they made a world filled with the discernment of good and evil. No longer could these gods only hear the One who spoke first, they now each had voices of independence. No longer could these gods be counted good, they recreated themselves in their own image.
“Where are you? What have you done?” cries the God who knows the answer.
“Don’t look at me, just listen to me. We didn’t know what we could create.”
And gods were cast down, next to mute golden calfs. God let them speak, and it was so. No ears, no voice. And from then until now, they are trapped by their words.
It would have been reasonable if God inflicted His silence. Punish with the means by which His likeness betrayed His love. Quiet God, allowing creatures to believe they were speaking the truth. Soundless God that would just abandon them to their own empty stories. Unspeaking God. Torturous God. Watching as His people bleed out, dry up, slowly. Ignoring them as they chatter, panic, waste away. But silence would not uncreate this world they now suffered.
Words create and destroy. And for the love of His beloveds, God had to destroy.
The great Word of God that spoke at creation, became flesh and dwelt among us. This Word did something that only the Word of God could do. Descend from the eternal heavens and put on skin and bone. Mankind was reminded this Word from God was no longer a sound to be internally grasped, or a far away wish dream of an ethereal reality. Word was a person. Word was an event in time. Word was the image and likeness of man. Word, who is Christ, spoke last to change this world.
“It is finished”, and it was. The final word filled the empty idols with breath. Word being killed and destroyed caused the gasp of new life. Word ever powerful reclaimed our lost image, recreated our likeness, restored us like gods.
God made us like gods. To create and destroy. And we will, with our words, in the image and likeness of God. Words from the mouth of His likeness will hurt, words will help, words will build, and they will cut too deep. Words spoken from the image will shame, forgive, and words will live longer than we will. Words from hearts of idols will control, fall silent in fear, stop speaking when needed most. Words will continue to create and destroy.
But we will speak boldly. Words flowing throughout the creation just as God designed. Unafraid, because God’s last Word from the cross finished it. The final Word, who is Christ, destroyed our present evil age and created our eternal kingdom. The living Word, who is the only true God, hopes everything, believes everything, enlivens everything, and has said everything, for you.