Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) visited me after returning from a journey, and I had a shelf with a thin cloth curtain hanging over it and on which there were portraits. When he saw it, the color of his face changed (because of anger) and he said, "O Aishah! the most grievous torment from Allah on the Day of Resurrection will be for those who imitate (Allah) in the act of His creation.'' `Aishah said: We tore it into pieces and made a cushion or two cushions out of that. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
At first look, it almost sounds as if God wants to scare people away from imitating his actions. But then I think about it, I think, why would God be worried about such a trivial thing, he is God, and absolutely no one can compare to him!
Personally, I thought it would be fairly useful to have pictures drown of the prophet while the prophet was alive for record purposes so we can clearly see how the prophet dressed, i.e. a picture speaks a thousand words. Plus illustrations of how the prophet prayed step by step would have been extremely useful too, instead of having to navigate through the huge web of hadith to try to put everything together on how the prophet dressed, how the prophet prayed etc etc.
So my question is, what is the wisdom behind telling us not to create portraits of people? i.e. it's not as if people can actually bring those portraits to life like God can. Or can we? Maybe we have been given the power and the ability to create life from portraits but we haven't realized yet, and God has forbidden it so we don't even attempt it?
I don't know what the reason behind this is, hence the question.
Based on the comment below, I don't think that answers the question. If the reason behind the prohibition of creating portraits truly is to stop idol worshiping, then why not just say that, i.e.
Anyone who creates idols in any form will have a grievous torment from Allah.
Anyone who imitates Allah in the act of his creation will have a grievous torment?
I think this has more to it than simply preventing idol worshiping.