Sunday, April 29, 2007

Kierkegaard on the Imago Dei

The perfect passage for a beautiful Sunday in Spring:

"How glorious it is to be a Human Being!... Now how should we speak about this glory? We could go on speaking for a long time without ever finishing, but this is not the place for that. Let us therefore speak briefly instead and concentrate everything on that one single verse that Scripture itself uses with authority: God created the human being in his image, but again for the sake of brevity let us understand this verse with regard to only one thing.

God created the human being in his image. Must it not be glorious to be clothed in this way! In praise of the lily, the Gospel declares that it surpasses Solomon in glory. Must it not be infinitely more glorious to resemble God! The lily does not resemble God - no, it does not do that. It bears a little mark by which it reminds one of God; it has a witness, since God has not let himself be without witness in anything created, although the lily does not resemble him...

To be spirit, that is the human being's invisible glory. Thus when the worried human out in the field stands surrounded by all these witnesses, when every single flower says to him, "Remember God!" he replies, "I will indeed do that, my children - I will worship him, and you poor little ones cannot do that." Consequently the erect, upright one is a worshiper. The upright gait of the human is the sign of distinction, but to be able to prostrate oneself in adoration and worship is even more glorious; and all nature is like the great staff of servants who remind the human, the ruler, about worshiping God. This is what is expected, not that the human being is to come and assume the command, which is also glorious and assigned to him, but that worshiping he shall praise the Creator, something nature cannot do, since it can only remind the human being about doing that. It is glorious to be clothed as the lily, even more glorious to be the erect and upright ruler, but most glorious to be nothing by worshiping!

To worship is not to rule, and yet worship is what makes the human being resemble God, and to be able truly to worship is the excellence of the invisible glory above all creation. The pagan was not aware of God and therefore sought likeness in ruling. But the resemblance is not like that - no, then instead it is taken in vain... The human being and God do not resemble each other directly but inversely; only when God has infinitely become the eternal and omnipotent object of worship and the human being always a worshiper, only then do they resemble each other... The ability to worship is no visible glory, it cannot be seen, and yet nature's visible glory sighs; it pleads with the ruler, it incessantly reminds the human that whatever he does he absolutely must not forget - to worship. Oh, how glorious to be a human being!"

- From Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, "What we learn from the lilies in the field and from the birds of the air", pg. 192-193.

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