Friday, March 19, 2021

More on the image of God

As not one man or one particular nation but all men and all nations are endowed with the likeness of God, there is no danger of ever worshipping man, because only that which is extraordinary and different may become an object of worship. But the divine likeness is something all men share.

This is a conception of far-reaching importance to biblical piety. What it implies can hardly be summarized. Reverence for God is shown in our reverence for man. The fear you must feel of offending or hurting a human being must be as ultimate as your fear of God. An act of violence is an act of desecration. To be arrogant toward man is to be blasphemous toward God.

He who oppresses the poor blasphemes his Maker,
He who is gracious to the needy honors Him. —Proverbs 14:31
“You must not say, since I have been put to shame, let my neighbor be put to shame ... If you do so, know whom you put to shame, for in the likeness of God made he him." Rabbi Joshua ben Levi said: “A precession of angels pass before man wherever he goes, proclaiming: Make way for the image (eikonion) of God.”—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 85

<idle musing>
And that is a very good reason to be against the death penalty! Further, it is the reason that racism and sexism are so repugnant to God. All are made in the image of God, male and female, every race and nationality. All are to proclaim the wonders and glories of God together. Lord, haste the day when that is true!
</idle musing>

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