During my darkest depressions — when I sought to take my own life — I had no care about whether or not I was losing my mind. It was already gone and I didn’t possess the capacity to care even if I could. Learning about how being made in the image of God has traditionally meant the capacity for reason and self-awareness, my heart sinks into my stomach recalling the oceans of times I have not had either. Clearly, there were times I was not created in God’s image. I…lost it?
Yet even as I formulate these words on a blog, even as I exercise this odd capacity to not only receive this learning but articulate my response to it, I begin to understand how some ancient theologians, like Augustine, believed that the Imago Dei rested in the mind. God is immaterial as is the mind, thus the mind must be the most like God we are.
Yet for the mind to remain alive as the mind, it requires breath. It requires body. Pope Benedict suggested that everyone possesses the breath of God. From the beginning, we read of a Being who breathes into the nostrils of a pile of dirt and brings it life. As the body is returned into this concept of Imago Dei, the mind seems more proportionately relevant, neither greater than or less than the body. Powered by the breath of God rather than apart from it, my mind resonates within me like my heart beats — with proper time and rhythm, broken and fractured, but reflective wholly of God.