There is indeed more to 'the image of God' than just a passing resemblance; in The Message, mankind is made 'reflecting God's nature'.
Whether or not God is basically humanoid (or at least, humans basically God-shaped) we probably won't find out just yet, and will each have to come to our own decision as to what to believe (or indeed if it even matters).
Let us assume that it does matter. Depending on how we decide to interpret these verses, there are two basic responses when confronted by intelligent insectoids from Betelgeuse:
- Our interpretation is confirmed, and our understanding of scripture enhanced:Ah, it did refer just to the nature of God. Presumably God doesn't have a body, after all...
- Our interpretation is challenged:But God's a humanoid! How can these... things be more intelligent than us? Perhaps they are demons. Perhaps the Bible isn't as inerrant as I thought...
And all this before the alien ambassador can get his mandibles round 'Take me to your leader'.
Once he has appeared on Parkinson and Oprah, regaling us all with tales of interstellar travel and what it's really like on Betelgeuse, it surely cannot be long before some other long argued over point of belief is challenged.
How long before the established church falls apart, a rift opening up between those unable to reconcile alien life with their version of Christianity and those using the opportunity to enhance their understanding of God.
How does secular culture react to this new schism in the church?
How does our alien ambassador react?
Yet another reason Christians should read science fiction - to get a head start on thinking about these issues if they ever come up.
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