We are taught in Christianity that we human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. However, there are some who will assert that we humans impute our own characteristics on to our image or concept of God.
Thus, one could frame this question: Do humans make God into their image, or are humans created in God’s image (both physically and in our spiritual nature)?
In the Vedic philosophy/religion of India, the atman, or spiritual monad (soul), is qualitatively like God’s spirit. It is eternal and imperishable. The atman can exist in the spiritual universe or in the material universe (as in this world). Quantitatively, the atman is infinitesimal when compared to God’s infinite Spirit, His infinite mystic power.
So, too, we humans have bodies in the form of God’s. Per the Vedic teachings, we are, in our human bodies with one head, two arms, and two legs, in the form that God has. In Hindu religious art (both in paintings and in sculpture), Lord Krishna is sometimes depicted with 2 arms, and at other times is depicted with four arms – but always with one head, and two legs. Perhaps, this form is the most advantageous for consciousness to have experiences.
So we see that it is not just in Christianity that we are told that humans were created in the image and likeness of God. And, “in the image and likeness” encompasses both our spiritual component and our physical body.
That said, we must acknowledge that there have been distortions and abuses in organized religions throughout history. (We have already written on this previously.) The temptation to abuse the privilege and power of their position has proven to be too strong to resist for many priests, Rabbis, Brahmins, ministers, primitive shamans, etc. Priests (using this term generically now) have at times moved from being intermediaries between humans and the Divine to acting as though they are in charge of God. While doing so, they have imputed some of their views on to God – claiming and asserting that God approves or disapproves of this or that without any sound basis for these claims. (One sees an example of this in contemporary Christianity – both Catholic and Protestant – in the area of married sexual love.) I would not so humbly remind these priests that God is sovereign, not man, and that they must not distort our understanding of God with their own subjective views. We are not attacking organized religion here, but we are pointing out that there have been abuses in organized religion.
We believe that God created humans, but that humans have at times distorted the concept or understanding of God.
Of course, atheists deny the existence of God and thus deny that humans were created by God. And, some cynics will assert that belief in God must have had some adaptive or survival advantage or benefit to the species, otherwise such belief would not have persisted over the millenia. (Such empty nihilism is distasteful to many people.) Actually, the belief in God does have some bearing on the questions of human destiny and the purpose of human life in this world. There is a spiritual component of our human nature. Belief in the Supreme Spirit (or, as some modern Hindu writers put it: the Immortal King Supreme), Who is the ultimate source of our existence, is not merely for comforting ourselves when we consider that we must die one day, and not simply for maintaining a moral code that protects us from our all too human tendencies to engage in self-destructive actions.
Those who are very infatuated with science sometimes overlook that science has its limitations. These people must admit that science is not competent to pass judgment on matters of the spirit. Its instruments, basically just extensions of the physical senses, cannot investigate, measure and dissect that which is spiritual and not material. I say this because so many critics and cynics will tell us that God’s existence and the existence of our souls cannot be proved by science. It is equally true that science cannot disprove God’s existence and the existence of our souls.
As others have written and said before, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. That makes sense to me.
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