Image of God, Loving Relationship and Creation Care

Dansk: Vittskövle Kirke, Skåne, Skabelsesberet...

Dansk: Vittskövle Kirke, Skåne, Skabelsesberetningen: dyrene på landjorden (1. Mos. 1,24) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Delfo Canceran offers a stunning reflection on the Image of God as articulated in the creation narratives in Genesis. In a 2011 issue of the Asia Journal of Theology, he sets out to redeem the patristic, male-centric rendering and interpretations of the creation narrative and full humanity of all humanity resulting from God’s creative activity. Canceran suggests that we begin by “re-conceptualizing the image of God in human beings characterized by human responsibility and human relationship. . . . This communion is characterized by relationship of respect, responsibility and solidarity to the other persons, not based on hierarchy, opposition and exclusion in God.”[1] To image God in the Trinitarian sense is to constantly yearn to be in relationship, give and receive, participate. “The monotheistic God (as opposed to Trinitarian God) is ontologically self-absorbed. In the model of the Trinity, human beings are articulated with the rest of creation. To be in relation is to be potentially active with everything in relationship.”[2] This perspective, this stance has enormous creation care implications.

Further reflection on the intimacy and action of Trinity bears considerable weight on the nature and representation of sexuality in general. “Sexuality expresses an image of God. . . . This is shown in God’s intimate relationship and solidarity with human beings. Sexual desires and needs express our inter-dependence and inter-connectedness with one another.” It can now be viewed as “mutual relationship of love.” In this view, respect and care for the earth, and respect and care for one another is imaging God. “This view shatters the ‘illusion that we can exist by ourselves, entirely for ourselves.’”[3] By relating to one another and with the earth that is given to their care, “creation is an ongoing activity of making and remaking the world. As co-creators in the unfinished act of creation, human beings open up infinite possibilities of the earth to the well-being of humanity.”[4]

When creation lives as image-bearers of the Trinity, this truest expression of humanity participates in the creative act of righteousness—making things right in this world. The Kingdom of God is within us. Should we not act like it?


[1]Delfo Canceran, “Image of God: A Theological Reconstruction of the Beginning,” Asia Journal of Theology 25, no. 1 (2011)., 17.

[2]Ibid., 17.

[3]Ibid., 17.

[4]Ibid., 18.

One thought on “Image of God, Loving Relationship and Creation Care

  1. Pingback: religion good for environmentalism | Eating the Elephant with a Spoon

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