I have a 4-year-old daughter who currently loves “all things princess.”
We’re regularly at our local library checking out books, and in the same way I used to run the aisles of Blockbuster straight to the video game section as a young boy, she bolts to books about princesses.
While I'm reading the books to her, she’ll stop and say, “Daddy, she is so pretty!” After a while, we began to notice that she would only make that comment about the princesses who looked a certain way (i.e. light complexion, light hair).
There is nothing wrong with either of those traits, they are beautiful, but as a daughter of a Mexican American father and a Caucasian mother, we want her to know that her beautiful olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes are beautiful too.
But, what gives us the basis for that? Why wouldn’t we say that one look (i.e. hair color, body shape, eye color, etc.) is better than another? Whether we know it or not, there are cultural standards of beauty all around us.
These standards fill the front pages of the magazines in the checkout line. We see pictures of these standards on commercials, billboards, and the Internet.
Stop for a moment. Take 2-3 minutes to write down what the standard of beauty is within your cultural context. Even if you agree with it or not, what is explicitly and implicitly being communicated as beautiful?
In the first book and chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1, we’re given a standard of beauty. We’re quickly introduced to a God who is at work.
 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1–3)
And this God is marvelous because He’s not just creating, but He’s delighting in His creation (Gen. 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:25, 1:31).
Like a grand symphony, by the power of His word, God creates the sun and the stars, the creatures of the sea, land, mountain ranges, but all of it, even at it’s finest, is incomparable to His crescendo at the creation of man and woman.
 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26–27)
God, who exists as the Father, Son, and Spirit, all equally God, yet distinct, reaches the climax of His creation song as He creates man and woman after His likeness.
Don’t miss this!
I once spent a fall in the Pacific Northwest and was blown away by the colors of the leaves changing. If you’ve grown up in Texas, you’re shortchanged by what a fall is because it’s breathtaking.
While God’s fingerprints are all over creation, revealing to us some of His character, they were not created to bear His likeness as you and I are.
It's at that moment, even before the first man and woman have had a chance to say anything, do anything, try and prove themselves to God, or thank Him for what He’s done, they have infinite worth and value because they’re made in His image.
We read that this infinite worth and value is not just true of the first man and woman, but all of humanity (Ps. 139:13-14).
What does that mean? Well, take a moment and look at your skin. Take a moment and think about the color of your eyes, the texture of your hair, the size of your feet, or the shape of your nose.
Think about the parts of you that you love, whether internally or externally. Now think about the internal and external parts of you that you don’t love, or wish were different.
All of it is beautiful in God’s eyes. Read that again.
Our cultural standards of beauty will continue to shift and change, as they did in the past, they will do again, but the value and worth we walk in as image bearers of God will not.
The confidence that each of us can have, from the poorest parts of our cities to the richest, from the citizens of a country to its immigrants, is that when we wake up, we have been fashioned and created to reflect the likeness of our Creator.
Might our conversations and perspectives be changed from a heart level as we consider the God of Genesis 1 and His creation and pursuit of us in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.