NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 150 pages of Ric Ergenbright's oversized volume, "The Image of God," contain stunning photography that captures the crowning achievement of God's creation: mankind.

Along with an array of images, the book opens with the creation story itself, with scriptural references that address man's creation, fall and redemption.

As an international travel photographer who has worked on assignment for National Geographic, Life, Outdoor Photography, the Audubon Society and others, Ergenbright admitted he once had a "secular view of life."

"I didn't believe in the existence of God, so I certainly didn't believe He was directing my life," he said. "When I came to faith in Christ, my eyes were graciously opened to see He had been controlling my every step.

"It was like looking at the world with one eye closed – that is monocular vision where everything is flat. And when I opened the other eye, I had binocular vision," Ergenbright said of his new perspective after becoming a Christian.

"All of a sudden everything became richer and deeper; I saw the true glory of its design."

Ergenbright's newfound perspective also helped him become a more thoughtful artist.

"As a trained photographer, I was able to construct a well-composed picture, but apart from knowing the meaning of it, it was meaningless in the full sense of that word," he said, adding that it was "like a secular view of science where you might know how things work, but you deny why things work."

Acknowledging that God is sovereign over all of creation, including the unsaved, Ergenbright said there isn't a picture in the book taken without the "intent of glorifying God," even when his subjects did not know Christ.

"I can't look upon any man without seeing him as a unique individual created by God and known by God before the foundations of the world were set. He knows our frame, and He knows our every day before it is begun," Ergenbright reflected.

The photographs in "The Image of God" represent the faces from ethnic and racial groups in proportion to the population of the world, reflecting a perspective that Ergenbright hopes will compel Christians to look differently upon those around them, even those who deny God.

"How can you really love your neighbor if you do not see man as glorious, made in the image of God?" Ergenbright asked. "While we are broken images, we are still made in His image."

According to the Bible, man is the "most glorious and exalted of God's creation" even if we don't play the part, he said. "Since man is uniquely made in the image of the all-glorious Creator, his glory is based entirely on the glory of God Himself."

Ergenbright said it's not a commonly held view that man is glorious, because what is seen is the "outworking of the fall."

"We see in the world such great evidence of the sinful heart of man and the nature of the fall," he said, noting the importance of reconnecting "God's purpose in man so that we can understand His true glory and live according the commands of Scripture."


To see more of Ric Ergenbright's photography or to purchase his books, visit
 www.ricergenbright.com.

© 2004 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.