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God or Dog?

God or Dog?

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

Genesis does not explicitly describe what attributes man was given that bore the likeness of God, so there is some room here for interpretation. In the context of previous verse, God made the beasts of the earth (v. 25), it seems that this God-likeness is that which sets us apart from the animals. In this light, it could be many things: intellect, reasoning, speech or creativity.

In pondering this, I got to thinking about what sets me apart from my dog. There are many jokes to be made here, but in watching him, I observed that he is a creature of flesh and instinct. He is ruled by his appetites. Unfortunately, I am familiar with that condition.

The most striking difference to me, is that my dog has no capacity for communion with God. He has a flesh life but no spirit life. He simply does not have the tools to participate in the spiritual and thus, he can never know God. God is spirit (John 4:24). God, in his love, created man with the capacity to know and love him in return. In addition to a flesh life, God breathed into man His spirit life.

Man is unique in creation, having both flesh and spirit and in having the choice between the two. Daily then, I must make this decision, to live in my flesh, like my dog, or, to live in my spirit life, pursuing God. I can be driven and owned by the desires of my flesh, or I can daily deny self, and follow God.

I do not do both well. When I pursue my flesh, I neglect God. When I pursue God, I abandon my flesh. As God has given me this unique gift, I must continually choose to exercise my capacity to know Him. If I want to be more than my dog, I must continually choose to indulge, not in my flesh, but in the life of God in me.

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