Genesis tells you and me that humankind was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). The theological term for this is imago dei (Latin for the image of God). There has been much theological debate about what that precisely means. Whatever the theologians decide, it is the uniform part of all of us that reflects we are God’s. We are His creation!
My daughter is a potter. Every piece she throws on her wheel reflects her as an artist. We can look at each piece and tell by its style it is one of hers. If there is doubt, we can turn the piece over and see her signature embedded in the wet clay. They bear her ‘image’ as an artist. At the same time, I have seen pieces where the wet surface of the clay captures something even more unique, her fingerprint. When the glaze highlights that fingerprint there is an even more distinct mark of ownership. Unlike the style or signature, these fingerprints appear at different places. It might be near the rim of a cup or pitcher where she has shaped the rim. It might be in the clay where a handle is attached. They are more personal marks of her creative hands.
I like to think that we also bear some of the ‘standard’ marks of ownership from God; the imago dei. That is standard for all of us. But I also think that each of us bears some of God’s fingerprints; places where we have something that reflects His work or plans for us that are uniquely ours. No other person has these marks, but they are none-the-less part of God’s work in us.
Some of these are our spiritual gifts and talents. The scriptures tell us that while we were being formed in the womb, God was shaping us (Psalm 139:13) . These gifts have different functions in our lives as we serve Him and worship Him. Each of us also has unique experiences in life. Some that are challenging and some that are exhilarating. James tells us to consider it as part of God’s hand in our lives as we encounter difficulty because it leaves a mark on our faith (James 1: 4) . When we face challenging circumstances, we can choose to suffer senselessly or we can let God use them for good in us. And as the picture of our lives moves toward completion, we will bear some marks of God’s hands on us.
It can be said that our gifts, our circumstances and how God works in us is His fingerprint. Maybe part of the image of God is that He invites us to make choices that ultimately matter. We do not say, “Whatever God wills…” We are not passive in life just having things happen to us. The Bible is full of references that we have choices to make about God’s work and whether we follow His plans or seek to wipe away His fingerprints on our lives.
Are you looking for His marks on you?