” . . . He himself says, He created us in His image and likeness. Now if this is so–and it is–there is no point in our fatiguing ourselves by attempting to comprehend the beauty of this castle; for, though it is His creature, and there is therefore as much difference between it and God as between creature and Creator, the very fact that His Majesty says it is made in His image means that we can hardly form any conception of the soul’s great dignity and beauty. (Teresa of Avila – First Mansion: Chapter 1)
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1.27)
Three concepts related to the image of God can lead us to a better understanding ourselves and others:
Equality and Diversity: Genesis 1.27 says we are “created in His image”. The outcome of God expressing Himself in His image is humankind (i.e. male and female). This asserts both equality and diversity (without the prejudice of enculturation).
Beauty and Dignity: In describing our souls Teresa uses words and phrases like “paradise”, “great beauty”, “great capacity”, and “dignity”. She says, ” . . . there is no point in our fatiguing ourselves by attempting to comprehend the beauty of the castle;”. The Psalmist says it this way, “. . . you have made them (humans) a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.”
Differentiation without Distance: Teresa says there is a great difference “between creature and Creator”. This chasm is related to differentiation not distance — there is no distance since he indwells us. This differentiation means we are not God and we have limitations. Respecting these limitations is important to spiritual health. Attempts to transcend our limitations through excessive activity or trying to control others only increases our limitations. Once we honor our limitations, the Unlimited works through us to influence outcomes beyond our control.
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