On the first day of a class I was teaching on how gender is expressed in the home, church, and society, I thought through the material I planned to cover. And honestly, I feared that some of what I’d prepared was too elementary for seminary students. Did they really need to hear again that both male and female were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27)?
Yet despite my doubts, I determined to cover even the basics. So, as I taught, I repeated what I assumed they all knew. But sure enough, a woman sitting on the front row sat stunned.
“Are you saying I myself am made in the image of God—without having to be married?” she asked.
“I’m not saying that. Genesis says so.”
She turned to face all her classmates. “Did you know that?” she exclaimed.
They all nodded.
She looked back at me and burst into the tears of joy. She did not have to marry to fully image God. Nor did she have to bear children to ultimately image Him.
In the days that followed, this student changed her focus from seeking a husband to equipping herself for ministry.
At the time of our creation in the Garden, humans bore God’s image perfectly—simply by being. Today that image is marred but not erased (see James 3:9). We bear God’s image by virtue of being His creations. But we are also called and predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. And what is that image like? It’s embodying love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23).
Dr. Sandra Glahn is professor of Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Theological Seminary. Her most recent book is a collaboration with 25 experts on marriage, divorce, same-sex attraction, gender dysphoria, and more, titled Sanctified Sexuality: Valuing Sex in an Oversexed World. Excerpt adapted from Sanctified Sexuality.