Talitha, the Person Who Is Adopted

Thoughts about Racial Harmony and Sanctity of Life

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Our daughter, Talitha, is a human being. Only one thing greater could be said of her. I pray daily that it will be said, namely, that she is reconciled to God through Christ. That is one truth. Talitha is a human being.

Our daughter, Talitha, is adopted. That is another truth.

These two truths are profound in our minds as we love her. The first truth is breathtaking. Genesis 1:27 says, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." To be a human being is to be in the image of God. What does it mean to have a child in the image of God? Gustav Oehler put it like this in 1873:

The creating God does not reach the goal of His creation until He has set over against Him His image in man. From this last fact it is plain that the self-revelation of God, the unveiling of His being, is the final end of the creation of the world; or, to express it more generally, that the whole world serves to reveal the divine glory, and is thereby the object of divine joy. (Theology of the Old Testament [Minneapolis: Klock and Klock Christian Publishers, 1978], p. 121)

Talitha is part of God's purpose to "reveal the divine glory, and is thereby the object of divine joy." Nothing greater can be said of her. By comparison to this truth, race - whether red, yellow, black, brown or white - is as nothing. It is not nothing. But if we could only feel the weight of what it means for her to be created in the image of God, we would see that human personhood is to racial identity as the sun is to a candle, or as the ocean is to a thimble.

On November 6, 1995, I wrote to Noel this paragraph as part of a long letter of joy over our adoption plan:

In adopting a black child we would embrace and affirm the value of personhood in God's image above racial distinctives. This is a crucial message for our day of cultural pride that may tend to minimize the utter uniqueness of humanity over against all other beings with a value as created in God's image that is infinitely more important than any racial or cultural trait. We would be saying that being a human person is so indescribably important that it should take priority over race and culture in governing what is good for a child.

The other truth about Talitha is that she is adopted. We learned from our heavenly Father how to do this. "When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption" (Galatians 4:4-5). But there is even more. In that same letter to Noel I wrote:

By adopting this child we would embrace and affirm the preciousness of life over against the death-dealing industry of abortion. Talitha's birth-mother chose against abortion. We choose to affirm that choice. By this we put our money and our time and our lives where our mouth is. There are other ways to be real and serious about fighting abortion. But here is one that is necessary and therefore some families must do it. To do it is a good and powerful thing.

Our special times to focus on Racial Harmony and Sanctity of Life lead us to ponder the preciousness of being created in the image of God and being adopted into the eternal family of God. The greatest truths are the most basic ones. If we saw the wonder and felt the weight and tasted the glory of these truths, what a difference it would make in our racial attitudes and our engagement for the unborn. Pray with me that God's power in these two special weekends would linger and help us to rise from our slumber.

Wakening with you,

Pastor John