Wednesday, May 07, 2008

His Image, Our Value

Not long after my son was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome and we began to wrestle through all of his disabilities, we found ourselves at a social gathering for families with special needs kids. There was much good in this gathering, but I left deeply troubled. In every conversation I kept hearing some form of one of the worst of the Devil’s lies. That lie suggests that worth is determined by contribution. Therefore, in order to justify a person’s existence, you must be able to demonstrate some way in which they contribute to society.

Looking for ways that people with special needs contribute to the world can be a fine exercise, but when it becomes the justification for their existence, we have bought the utilitarian tale. The Truth, according to God, is that people are valuable for the simple fact that they are made in His image. Value is all in relation to Him, not my supposed contribution.

This is gloriously freeing! I do not have to justify the existence of my disabled son (or my “abled” daughters and wife or even me!) to anyone – our value, your value is that you were made in God’s image.

So, I was glad to read this little paragraph today in Stephanie Hubach’s book. Same Lake, Different Boat:

Consider it this way: the image of God within each indi­vidual can be likened to a mirror that reflects God’s glory, in part, to others. Unmarred at creation, what an incredible and awesome reflection that must have been! In a world now impacted by the fall, each person’s mirror is cracked, yet all the pieces still remain. Consequently, the looking glass reflects a distorted view of God’s glory—but it remains a partial mirror of him just the same. Our struggle enters in because we find it so much easier to identify the cracks in the mirror, and so we miss the image entirely. It takes a conscious effort for us to concentrate on the most fundamental blessing of creation—that we are all created in the image of God—and to gaze speechlessly at his goodness, truth, and beauty in oth­ers. Yet lives are radically transformed—ours and those around us—when we intentionally choose to focus on the image of God within.


  1. I had an interesting and troubling conversation with another member at the church I attend. They said that the fact that God created human beings in his image means God looks like a human being with a body. I responded that is not the case pointing to John 4 where Jesus says that God is spirit, but would like additional help on explaining what it means that God created man in his image and likeness.

  2. As the dad of a daughter with schizencephaly, bravo. Well said - and thank you.

  3. I agree! Great thoughts.
    I just wish our society would recognize God's beautiful gift we have in these "disabled" people. If we had the right heart attitude we would see how very much these people DO contribute to our society. (God contributes through them, just as with us)

  4. Well said. I commend to you a book by Dr. J. Dwight Pentacost entitled "Designed to Be Like Him". I believe it is available at Amazon. Dr. Pentacost was Professor of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas. In the book he discusses what it means to have been created in God's image. Briefly, he writes that mankind shares God's qualities of person-hood to the extent that we have a mind as He has a mind by which He knows, we have a heart as He has a heart by which He loves, and we have a will, as He has a will by which He makes decisions. Through His saving grace He imparts to us new capacities of mind, heart and will through which we can know Him more fully, through which we can love Him, and by which we can choose to be obedient to Him. It is all about the marvelous grace He lavishes upon His creation. It is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.