Creating us in His image does not mean making us identical to him. An image reflects but is different than the original. God’s aim in creation was to give of Himself to others in an eternal relationship. Thus creating us in His image meant that we have infinite potentiality and thus able receive from God all that He has to give. But that means that we could not simply be what God made us to be, like the angels. We would have to have the capability to become more, so growth and learning would have to be our basic nature.
The above describes the relationship between parent and child, NOT that between designer and tool. That means that instead of designing us for an end according to a functional purpose, God created a womb in which we could be conceived and grow – and thus to be an end in ourselves, deciding our own purpose and nature. That womb is the physical universe designed to support the self-organizing process of life, which requires a system of fixed rules we know of as the laws of nature.
It is right to say that God created us, but not in the way of a designer making tools but in the way that is always the case for creating living things, as in the role of a farmer, shepherd, teacher or parent – NOT that of a watchmaker, or other creators of non-living things. So what do the farmer, shepherd, teacher and parent actually do? Design the living things? No. Design the right environment for growth and learning? Yes. Decide what they become? No. Provide necessities, stimulation, and guidance? Yes. In other words, what these creators of life do is participate in their lives as part of the environment in which their living creations learn and grow. After all, just because we are a product of a self-organizing process of growth and learning doesn’t mean we do this in a vacuum.