God has created us in his image so that we might act as his representatives in this world. He gives us work to do. He gives us purpose and meaning. He is all-powerful and can make whatever he wants. But in his grace he has deigned to use human beings as instruments in making things the way he wants them to be. And he has a purpose for each person who has ever lived and will ever live. He is so perfect and there are such depths to his love and magnificence that his “image” can never be captured or perfectly manifested in any single person (with the exception of that most exceptional person, Jesus Christ himself). As one of my favorite theologians Abraham Kuyper puts it, “The mere fact that God created a man and a woman proves indisputably that identical uniformity was not part of the plan of creation. So we may draw no other conclusion than that the rich variety among people, in terms of aptitude and talent, came forth from the creation itself and belongs to the essence of human nature. If this is so, then it follows automatically that in relation to the image of God, no single human being bears this feature of God in its fullness, but that all talent and all genius together comprise the capacity for incorporating within itself this fullness of the thought of God.”
Jordan Ballor, born in Los Angeles, is a scholar at the Acton Institute. His favorite movie is Elf, he has a dog named Juno, his favorite smell is coffee, his first job was at at a golf club as a caddy, and when not engaged in academic rigor he enjoys watching and playing sports.