As I have been pondering identity and formalizing my thoughts on the topic, I’ve been drawn back to the beginning. Back to the garden in which God saw that everything He made was good, but looking around something was still missing.
Out of a pile of dust on the ground, God formed man. Still, that was not enough, the creation needed something special, something of more value, something that in the end was going to have him up the ante from good to very good. So, God made man just not another creature, but an image bearer of the Creator Himself.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
Mankind was created to bear the image of God. It is part of our being and is what makes us human. This image given to Adam and his bride, Eve, gave them the capacity to accomplish their purpose to rule over the creatures and subdue the earth.
It is the image that gives us special value within the creation. How is a human different than a dolphin, cat, hamster or spider? People were crafted in the image of God, while the others were not.
The special gift of God’s image also gave special standing in the creation – united with God, having a relationship with Him and serving Him, while at the same time stewarding the creation.
Because of the untarnished image of God, there was perfect identity in God. The man and his wife had a perfect sense of self, their purpose and position, and the source of their value. At the end of the creation account, the last thing we are told about them, the last glimpse that we get of the perfect couple is that they were naked and felt no shame.
Naked not just in form but also in their openness, vulnerability, unity with each other and with God. With the result of this nakedness, this abandonment to absolute truth, was that there was no resulting shame.
Shame is the fear of not being love nor accepted. Adam and Eve felt none between themselves or with God. Intimacy without fear. No fear of rejection. No fear of abandonment. No craving separation.
At this point, there was no doubt about God’s love for them. That in the end, God had their best interest as His own.
At this point, there were no barriers to giving or receiving love from the other human. No self-protection. No protective walls. No coping strategies. No shame. Only a perfect sense of self.
No wonder God’s assessment was that this was very good.
What are some ways you see God’s original goodness in the creation?
How would you expect to respond in a relationship in which there was no shame?