In the book of Genesis, B’rayshis, it says, “God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.” In a very real sense, Man was God’s self portrait. God looked upon his creation of Man, and declared that it (the creation of man), was good.
Because Man is God’s self portrait, devaluing the life of a human is considered a sin, because killing a human being is striking out against the image of God. When Adam and Eve sinned, it grieved God, because His image was distorted.
We are told that in the time of Noach, in Genesis 6:5-7,” The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. The LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”
The violence and murders were so common and grievous, that God looked at his distorted self portrait, and decided to destroy it. The one exception was Noach and his family. Noach was called righteous in his generations, meaning that even though he was an imperfect, flawed human, he was different from the violent mankind around him. Murder and violence are an affront to God, because they do not reflect His nature. This is why our actions are so much more important than our words. Our lives were intended to reflect the character of the Almighty. When we fall short of that, we distort the image of God.
People have their own ideas of what holiness is supposed to look like. Some think its supposed to be some kind of etherial, other worldly attitude or demeanor. That kind of thing has always left me feeling that such behavior was phony; probably because it is. God is not looking for us to be phonies. He wants His people to behave and act with kindness toward others who also bear the image of God. For sure we are not perfect, and acting like we are will never ring true to anyone. Acting with kindness and love does indeed reflect God’s image. It means we need to treat one another with respect, even if they disagree with us. It means we don’t relate to others in a violent manner, unless our own lives are threatened.
As I consider the world around us, it has been a long history of wars and violence. People kill each other, but not just out of jealousy or anger, but for religious reasons. The current barbaric Islamic murders of non-Muslims, with beheadings are no different than the religious wars of the past. They have shattered our western notion that we have moved forward from our violent past. These are no different than the crusades or the inquisitions in past generations. We are watching the Dark Ages invade the 21st century. Religious violence is worse than conventional violence, because it is done in the Name of God. I can not believe that God would look upon his creation and not be grieved. I’m sure the end of mankind is again in His mind. Yeshua said in Luke 17:26-27, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”
The question that crosses many people’s minds these days is, “how much longer can this violence go on?”