Birds are wonderfully blessed with beaks, elephants with trunks, trees with bark, and cats with nocturnal vision–in all these ways God filled nature with glory; but on nothing else in his wolrd did he invest his image. Only human beings can fully know his love by intimate fellowship with him.
So what does that mean, really? That we have opportunity to know God like no other memb er of his created world means at least this:” that our warmes and most intimate walks with him are not accomplished for our benefit, but for his. We don’t practice religion–don’t pray and sing and study Scripture–for our benefit. Our righteousness is not our own. He made us in his image, not so that we could enjoy him–although we can; we carry his likeness so he can enjoy us. God gives us his love because we are his, not because of what we are on our own. He wills our lives of praise. He wants to know us, in the deepest and richest sense of the word, because we are like him.
Everything we do out of faith, everything we know of God, begins in the fact that we are his kin.
Abraham Kuyper, Tr. James C. Schapp, Near Unto God, pg 39