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In the Inclusive Image of God


In Christian doctrine is the foundational teaching that God is One, “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is One” (Deut 6:4) and reiterated by Jesus (Mk 12:29). We are also presented with the doctrinal paradox that God is also three persons: the Father/Mother, Creator and Sustainer; the Son, Saviour, Messiah and Redeemer; and the Holy Spirit, Sophia, the Power, and the Enabler. These three persons in One exist in complete and perfect harmony with each other, utterly in tune, joyfully intimate, and perfectly Inclusive.

What I’m pondering about just now is that, if we are created in the inclusive image of the Triune God then our natural state is actually one of inclusivity, in self and with one another in community.

So why do we spend so much time and energy exiling, scapegoating, and killing one another out of fear, hatred of others for being different, envy for what others have, some or other phobic attitude that gives us some delusional right to look down upon and consider someone less than us?

If we are made in the including image of God then our priorities should surely involve the good of all people, peace between our nations, compassion for those facing trials, challenges, sickness; respect for others before suspicion, and generally practicing what comes in that loaded word - love.

And yet in our human frailty we find it far easier to hate, to separate people into ‘them’ and ‘us’, and to step into the shoes of bigotry and condemnation. Every time we do this we are actually shattering the image of God in us and in those we target.

In the Gospels, I have noticed that in just about every account of Jesus Christ healing healing someone, he heals whatever ails them , yes, but he also does something more than this. He heals whatever has become fragmented through or around their condition. By that I mean he restores them socially, religiously, even economically, and ‘gives them back’ to friends, to family, to the priest, thus restoring them in all senses . . . he heals their souls and the image of God in them.

When we exclude we act from fragmented souls. When we exclude we act from a fragmented image of God. It is this fragmentation of the image of God in us that allows for every act of exiling, scapegoating, killing; every act of war; every phobic attitude towards someone ‘other’ than us. When we allow this fragmentation to be healed, and the image of God in us is restored, then and only then can authentic inclusivity be extended and offered.