Why do people make images? People make images to image. They want to image forth something. If you make a statue of Napoleon, you want people to think not so much about the statue as Napoleon. And you make the statue in a way that shows something specific about the character of Napoleon.
So God makes us in his image. We could argue about whether it is our rationality, or our morality, or our volition that makes us in his image. The point is, he makes humans in his image to image something, namely, himself. So our existence is about showing God’s existence or, specifically, it’s about showing God’s glory. Which I think means God’s manifold perfections—the radiance, the display, the streaming out of his many-colored, beautiful perfections. We want to think and live and act and speak in such a way that we draw attention to the manifold perfections of God. And I think the way we do that best is by being totally satisfied in those perfections ourselves. They mean more to us than money and more to us than fame and more to us than sex or anything else that might compete for our affections. And when people see us valuing God that much and his glory being that satisfying, they see that he is our treasure. Show me more! I think that’s what it means to glorify God by being in his image.
And the place where the glory is shown most clearly is the gospel where Christ dies; the Son of God dies for sinners. I say that because in 2 Corinthians 4:4 it says, “The god of this world,” that’s Satan, “has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Do you want to know where the glory of God is shining most brightly? It is shining in Christ in the gospel most brightly. So if we want to be conformed fully into his image and display to others his glory, there’s a verse just before that that says “beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). And that comes from the Spirit.
So we look at Jesus, we treasure him, we love him, and in that we are being shaped into his image.
When God says he made us male and female to do this, not only does that mean we want generations to go on doing this, so there’s going to be procreation here, but it means this happens best in community. It’s not good for the man to be alone. Who’s he going to glorify God to? So this little community that’s created in the beginning called male and female is representative of the community where the glory of God radiates back and forth to each other and then out to the world.
Let’s do this together. Let’s help each other glorify God.
J. C. RYLE
The glory of God is the first thing that God’s children should desire. It is the object of one of our Lord’s own prayers: “Father, glorify thy name” (John 12:28). It is the purpose for which the world was created. It is the end for which the saints are called and converted. It is the chief thing we should seek, that “God in all things may be glorified” (1 Pet. 4:11). . . .
Anything whereby we may glorify God is a talent, our gifts, our influence, our money, our knowledge, our health, our strength, our time, our senses, our reason, our intellect, our memory, our affections, our privileges as members of Christ’s Church, our advantages as possessors of the Bible—all, all are talents. Whence came these things? What hand bestowed them? Why are we what we are? Why are we not the worms that crawl on the earth? There is only one answer to these questions. All that we have is a loan from God. We are God’s stewards. We are God’s debtors. Let this thought sink deeply into our hearts.