Playing with Shadows

A few weeks ago, I was lying on my bed with my son and we were making shadow puppets on the ceiling. It was fun to spend time with him just being silly. My artistic expression in this realm is very limited. I can make a rabbit, a dog, an angry dog, and a slightly different looking dog….oh…and an alligator. Since my son is two, his shadow puppets looked more like hands that were slightly contorted in different ways.

When I was playing this game, it occurred to me that the answer to an age old question could be staring me in the face. What does it mean to be made in God’s image, or likeness? The Bible says it clearly….but humans come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. So, what then, is the answer?

While making shadow puppets I realized that the word “likeness” could mean, in this context, something closer to shadows. I can see the shapes, sizes, and movements of an entity that is only seen in this form if the light is behind it. So, our lives could only, at their best, be a shadow of the true nature of God…we can’t see details but we can see form. Our lives and this earth are not what is truly real.

Shadow is not only a noun, but it is also a verb. To shadow means to follow someone around. Perhaps if you were to shadow someone, you may do the same occupational tasks as them in order to learn the functions of a certain job.

God is telling us something here. Even though we cannot see everything that is going on (the details and what the light is projecting), we are still called to follow. We, mere shadows, are called to shadow.

Take a step today to follow where the light is coming from.

-Landon DeCrastos

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One thought on “Playing with Shadows

  1. Landon, good post. Here’s a brief 2c. I’m inclined to think that the function of mankind in the image of God must have some connection to what the function of images were in pagan religions in the Ancient Near East at the time of the writing of Genesis by Moses et al. It is so interesting how, in the prophets, God always rebukes the pagan gods as useless, comparing their uselessness to their physical idols or images of gold, silver, stone or wood which cannot speak, cannot see and cannot hear, and therefore cannot respond. This is much unlike the LORD, the Living God, who can see, who does hear, and who does respond and can therefore be love and relational, and everything else we find written about him.

    Perhaps the image of God has something to do with representing with God this unique way. God made Adam in his image, but when fallen Adam’s son was begotten, scripture says, after the image of Adam, or in the likeness of Adam, which was a sinful one. Later on we see that Christ is describes at the “image” or “icon” of the invisible God, who is himself the exact representation of the Fathers being, and who also therefore reveals the Father to us (c. Col. 1:15; Jn. 1:18, 14:8-11).

    In light of all this, image-bearing is apt to be a theologically rich thing which finds its truest expression in the person of Jesus, and therefore the nature and function of the image of God in man is truly chrisotological in nature. Coupled with the concept that we as believers are united to Christ by faith in order to share or partake in the divine nature by grace (cf. 2 Pet. 1:4), it is clear that the glorified christlikeness in all the fullness of all life and relationship with God in blessing is the true end of the image of God, and all human beings are made for that end glory as the truest expression of their true humanity.

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