“So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
From a Biblical perspective, our meaning and purpose comes from the understanding that humans are made in the image of God. We are wired for relationship. We exist to be in relationship with God, ourselves, others and creation. Our purpose is to take our part in God’s ongoing creation project, not as robots, but as free agents.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
To be Christian also requires the honest acknowledgement that we are broken images. We know the story of the first and man and woman who disobediently ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Living as though we are the centre of the universe has consequences. Humans have an incredible propensity to mess up. Being realistic about this and facing it, allows us to practice compassion towards others. Fortunately for us and our world, the story doesn’t end there. In the closing pages of the Bible we discover an image of another tree, the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life grows in the midst of a restored human community, and its leaves are for the healing of the nations. Christianity is about our journey from people who relate to the world through the Tree of Knowledge, to people who relate to the world through the Tree of Life. Having faith in Jesus Christ enables us to discover a world where God is at work, where humans are rescued and forgiven, where men and women are restored as image bearers of God’s purpose and take their role in the healing of our world.
“On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
Our lives lie in front of us. The world beckons us in all its amazing variety, in both its beauty and sorrow. Christian faith provides the means of navigating our way through this world. If approached in the right way, it provides us with navigation points and grid lines, it gives meaning to landmarks that we’ve maybe overlooked or misunderstood. It invites us into a way of life with both meaning and purpose.