Social Justice Series
Being a Seventh-day Adventist Christian offers some rather unique advantages over being a member of another faith. It influences how we interpret and apply Scripture.
Nowhere is this more evident than when we read Genesis 1:26 where God says, “Let us make man in our image.” There are those who insist that the word our means God was speaking of Himself and the angels. Others say He used it as human kings and rulers often do when making proclamations or decrees, as in “the royal we.”
But we can know beyond a doubt that when God said “our,” He was referring to the members of the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In other words, the image in which we were created includes attributes from all three members of the Godhead. To me, that’s exciting. I was created to reflect the Trinity and all the power and love they offer!
You and I were endowed with a special type of awareness that sets us apart from all the other creatures formed to inhabit this world. We have the capacity to reason, to use morality as a guide, to communicate with words and symbols, and to enjoy a sense of purpose. Most meaningful of all, we’re capable of understanding truth, experiencing love, and appreciating beauty.
These gifts enable us to enjoy life to the fullest and also model—serving as the Trinity’s representatives here on earth—the incredible care and tender regard that Heaven has for every human being.
There’s another aspect to our divine lineage that many overlook. With this solid connection to our roots, we’ve been assigned the task of “ruling over” or managing all of God’s creation. It’s our responsibility to care for, protect, and nurture every other creature that roams this world, whether that creature walks on two legs or more. This realization should be front and center in the Christian worldview and help shape our attitude towards humanity.
Suddenly, how we treat others—how we respond to the needs around us, how we spend our time, talent, and treasure—comes into sharp focus. Our primary task is not only to enjoy a sense of dignity and worth and to take advantage of the opportunities that come our way; we’re also to share those blessings with others. As representatives of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we’ve been given the privilege of informing those around us of their inborn connection with the kingdom of God—to let them know that they are much more than they think they are.
I’ve enjoyed a long professional association with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), our church’s premier outreach to those whose lives have been touched by tragedy or want. Not only have I created radio programs and public service announcements for them, I’m also a regular supporter of their ministry.
Their motto is a perfect reflection of the connection we all share with the Trinity. It simply states that ADRA is “serving humanity so all may live as God intended.” God’s blessings were meant for all, and if some find themselves separated from them by choice or tragedy, our job as fellow human beings is to rush to their rescue and help them reestablish the lost connections. Our God-created responsibility is to offer dignity, worth, and endless opportunities for hope and healing.
This thought was echoed by the words of a former ADRA president when I asked, “Should we feel guilty when our lives seemed so blessed while disaster strikes others so violently?” He responded, “No. We should feel a sense of responsibility to help others when and where we can.”
That’s exactly what people created in the image of God do.
Charles Mills is the author of more than 50 published books and over 300 articles. Mills began his career at Faith for Today and the Adventist Media Center in Newbury Park, California. For the past 35 years, he has been an independent media producer, writer, and radio/television host. His most recent releases include Refreshed Parables and Surprising Nature for young readers, and Religion in the Real World and The Ultimate Prescription (co-written with cardiologist Dr. James Marcum).