I spent yesterday afternoon catching up with a dear friend, cramming everything from Chuck Norris jokes and perfectly non-awkward silences to the intelligence of crows and some of life’s foundational questions into two late-summer hours. During our conversation we spoke of our perceptions of God and how life experiences irrevocably alter and shape how we perceive and relate to Him. This exchange reminded me of something that Voltaire said, “If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.”

The imperative to create is imprinted on who we are as human beings. Ayn Rand said, “Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.” But what do we base our decisions on? Surely we can only choose how we should build once we see ourselves, and our inherent worth, clearly? As Andre Gide puts it: “Man is more interesting than men. God made him and not them in his image. Each one is more precious than all.” What we have in us of the image of God is the love of truth and justice and this beauty itself is but the sensible image of the infinite (to create a mash-up of Demosthenes and Francis Bacon’s thoughts).

Thomas Merton continues to be one of the most compelling and challenging voices I have ever encountered. He said, “A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” As we dull our desire for truth, justice and love we create ourselves in the image of the temporal, confining any legacy we may have to an echo in an hourglass.

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