Fr. Michael Schleupner continues an insightful series about our image of God. What can we learn about how we project this image, based on scripture and theology? Let’s read more in Fr. Michael’s thoughts from Genesis and how that relates to our own personal relationship with God.
Our Image of God – 4
Our image of God, as I have said in this series over the last several weeks, is crucial. It affects not just how we relate to God, but even how we feel about ourselves and relate to others. To express my own image of God in a positive way, I first want to go back to the beginning – the Book of Genesis.
• We have traditionally looked upon Genesis as revealing the sin of the first human beings, Adam and Eve. We call this Original Sin. We have seen this as affecting all of Adam and Eve’s descendants and that means every person born into this world. We have looked upon humanity as tainted or even corrupted by this Original Sin. We have held that even innocent infants need to be cleansed of this. We have also said that if infants died before baptism, they would not go to heaven but would go to limbo because of this Original Sin.
• More recently, some of our theologians are seeing the story of the fall in a different way. They see this as an expression of the human condition. We are all born into the same reality. And this reality has some negative dimensions. We all experience some struggle in our relationships with one another. We all struggle with our own identity and purpose in life and ultimately with our relationship with God. We are not morally culpable for this condition or innately corrupted by it. But we do live in it and struggle because of it.
• With this understanding, the Sacrament of Baptism is not just a cleansing of sin that we ourselves did not personally commit. More than that it is our initiation into a life with Christ. It is the beginning of an opportunity to live life and to deal with life’s struggles with Jesus as our companion and with the Holy Spirit alive within us. Additionally, Baptism initiates us into a community of faith that we call the Church. This is to be a support for us on the journey of life. This community is to be a channel for receiving the authentic Word of God and for receiving the sacraments that follow Baptism and are our nourishment for the journey.
I see the above understanding as a foundation for an image of God that I will try to express and build beginning in next week’s column.
~Father Michael Schleupner
If you would like to receive Fr. Michael’s Inbox Inspirations please click here!