The book was Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas's Sex, Dating and Relationships. Their excellent book (which I recommend above all others on the subject of dating and relationships) discusses how being made in God's image affects sexuality, dating and relationships. It got me thinking about how being made in God's image affects other all aspects of our lives. When I saw Hannah Anderson was writing a book about this exact topic, I was eager to read it.
In Made for More, Hannah discusses the significance of imago dei, being made in the image of God, as it relates to women. In order to be fully human, we must reflect the image our Creator. While gender is part of our humanity, it is not the entire substance.
Early in the book, Hannah lays the foundation of her discussion:
... the goal of this book is to call women to recover an understanding of ourselves that is more basic than our gender. It's a call to recover the image of God in our lives - to re-imagine not simply what it means to be a woman, but what it means to be a person made in the very likeness of God Himself.
The paradigm is simple: God intends to reflect His identity through your identity. What He is, you will become. He is holy; you must be holy. He loves; you must love. He forgives, so you must forgive. And because He is glorious, you must be glorified as well.With the foundation laid, the book discusses the ramification of this principle, touching on areas such as grace, wisdom, knowledge, work, providence, future glory, and how we live in the already but not yet. Hannah writes sensitively and eloquently. She has wisdom I wish I'd had at her age.
It is not a lengthy book, only 175 pages, but it encourages the reader to think deeply about what it means to live in light of being made in God's image. The reader is encouraged to think of her faith beyond simple guidelines and parameters; she is encouraged to look holistically at her life of faith and confront the question: how can I reflect God's image in every circumstance?
I found very helpful the chapter discussing work. As creations of God, made in His image, this earth has been give to us to rule and reign. Ruling and reigning means work. Working imago dei means our attitude about work will be about more than getting financial remuneration or personal fulfillment:
Ultimately, working imago dei means using your God-given capacities and opportunities not to serve your own interests, but to serve those around you.
Success isn't doing whatever you want to do; it is doing whatever God has made you to do.I love this approach to work because it dovetails beautifully with the principle of vocation. God calls us to work at that which he has equipped us to do. This is not to say that our vocations will always be easy. But knowing that all work is worthy of equal dignity in the eyes of God, and that our God-given abilities can be used to reflect God's image encourages me. Women often become divided over whether or not one kind of work is more godly than another. Focusing on being made in God's image, and being called to a vocation for which He equips us makes such arguments pointless. Work becomes less about me, and more about God.
Made for More is written to women, but I think both men and women can benefit from these principles. I think young women, especially, need to hear these truths. They live in a world of mixed messages regarding their gender and identity. This book will direct them to the foundational truth from which they can begin living their identities: the foundation of imago dei.