Part 1 – Shadows of the Kingdom, Chapter 3 – The Image-bearers
[Bible references: Exodus 19:6; Psalm 19; 37:4-5; 139:16; Proverbs 3:5-6; Ecclesiastes 3:1-22; Jeremiah 29:11; John 10:27; Acts 16:6-10; 17:24-28; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Peter 1:16; 2:9; 4:10]
Man appears in the visible world as the highest expression of the divine gift, because he bears within him the interior dimension of the gift. With it he brings into the world his particular likeness to God, with which he transcends and dominates also his “visibility” in the world, his corporality, his masculinity or femininity, his nakedness. A reflection of this likeness is also the primordial awareness of the nuptial meaning of the body, pervaded by the mystery of original innocence.
Thus, in this dimension, a primordial sacrament is constituted, understood as a sign that transmits effectively in the visible world the invisible mystery hidden in God from time immemorial. This is the mystery of truth and love, the mystery of divine life, in which man really participates. In the history of man, original innocence begins this participation and it is also a source of original happiness. The sacrament, as a visible sign, is constituted with man, as a body, by means of his visible masculinity and femininity. The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus be a sign of it.
God has placed each one of us in a particular time and place and with particular people. Within that time and place and people he has plans for us. Each of us has a particular mind and body with which we need to discern God’s calling for us in our time and place. Such plans are revealed in many places in scripture.
And though we are called to particular times, places and people, there are ways in which God’s transcendent character spills over onto us. The mark of his transcendence is even placed in each of our hearts. The expressions of transcendence are impossible to avoid in our day and age: Although we were not born with the ability to fly, we can fly to the moon, although we were not born to live under water, we are able to spend months at a time under water even at incredible depths, although we were not born to run like a cheetah, we don’t even think about climbing into a vehicle and going more than 60 miles an hour for hours at a time, we can also create works of art that show places we have never been, we can use the resources of the earth to generate more power than we can imagine … and the list goes on.
With our gift of transcendence, God has shown that he has set us aside as his representatives, “to be holy as he is holy.” We are not to merely live as earthly creatures but as creatures who represent the living God. The challenge before us is to discern, as God’s image-bearers, to what end God can use our particular bodies, emotions and minds in the particular family and community into which we are placed, to fulfill the purpose he has intended for each of us.
 Paul II, John. “The Redemption of the Body and Sacramentality of Marriage (Theology of the Body)” Man Enters the World As a Subject of Truth and Love, p. 49 28 Nov 1984
 Russell, Chris. “8 Steps to knowing God’s will for your life”; “How to Find God’s Plan” WEC International; Renner, Rick. “Discerning God’s Plan for your life”
List the ways in which we exhibit transcendence.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:9-15. How can we, within the finiteness of our lives and our intelligence, see how beauty points to eternity?