Archive for June, 2012

Although there are only a handful of texts that express the fact that man is created in the “image of God”, which, of course, in Latin is imago dei. All of the subsequent biblical references to the concept (Genesis 5:1-2, Genesis 9:6-7, 1 Corinthians 11:7 and James 3:9-10), seen to be launched from the basis of Genesis 1:26-27 which states:

 

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

 

In these two verses, we see the word “image” used three times – twice in Verse 27 alone. Thus, it is an important point that God is making very, very clear through Moses’ authorship. We were made in the image of God. What does it mean for us to have been made in the image of God? Humans in their whole being—body and soul—adequately and faithfully represent God (Psalm 94:10), possess life from Him and therefore potential intimacy with Him (Genesis 2:7), and serve on earth as His administrators (Psalm 8). The image is passed on to every human, giving each person dignity.

 

Creation in the image of God is affirmed for all persons. Man was created male and female and each was created in the image of God. This verse (Genesis 1:27), practically at the beginning of the Bible, immediately tells us that each and every one of us (since there are no restrictions presented) is made in the image of God. Disdain for another person’s gender or race is unbiblical from the 27th verse of the Bible. There is no mention of the superiority of anything but God in the first 26 verses. Therefore, all are of equal value to God. Therefore, to show disdain for another human being is an affront and even an attack upon God. To show disdain for another person is to show disdain for the image of God (even if it is in the unregenerate post-fall/pre-salvation state).

 

Creation in the image of God means that we are like God in some way, a reflection in some way of who He is. If God created us in his image does this not tell us that from the beginning of mankind we were intended to know of God not only from Him but from one another? We were intended to reflect the glory of God to another by us being made in His image. A visible sign to one another. We were to be his image bearers to one another. How blessed would that state of being had been? With the fall of Adam, the only untainted image of God we can hold onto is Jesus Christ. Only in him, since the fall, can we have glimpse of the untainted image of God.

 

The fall of Man in Adam’s sin caused the image of God in man to be damaged. The image of God in us is made dirty through the introduction of sin. Since Adam and Eve were the first humans, whether one believes this literally or figuratively, they, representing first humans, passed this capacity for sin forward to their direct descendants and their direct descendants passed it on to theirs and so on. It is similar to mating a calico cat to a white cat. The calico tendencies are introduced into the line of white cats and forever projects itself in the progeny of the white cat. Sin is thus a propensity that is introduced into mankind and prevents him from fully realizing the relationship with God that was intended. The relationship that is represented by our own internal image of God reflecting back the eternal triune love of the eternal trinity. Through the image of God in us, we were to eternally exist with the trinity in the total agape love revolving in a circle. We were to participate eternally in the trinity in a blessed state of worship. The introduction of sin changed all that.

 

Now, each of us has been born with this imperfection of the propensity to commit sin. This propensity is so powerful that it is a virtual certain that we will commit sin at our age of moral responsibility. Once we acknowledge our sin state and fall in love with it we are condemned to the eternal desolation because we cannot come before God with our imperfection. God’s perfection cannot tolerate the imperfection of sin. We can only have hope of standing before God at judgment if a cleansing of this sin nature takes place. God provided that through the atoning death of Jesus Christ and made valid through his resurrection. Through believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God that arose from the dead and placing faith for our very existence in Him do we regain (through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit) the fully clear and close image of God.

 

It is an important concept to state that the image of God is not totally obliterated or lost due to our sin nature because it is there even in our depraved sin. To say that the image of God is completely destroyed by our sin nature says two things. First, theologically, it says that there is something too great for God. If sin is too great for God to overcome, sending his Son to be our salvation is pointless and useless. We have the image of God in us but sin prevents us from recognizing it and living it out. It is only through the saving grace of Jesus that this cloud is removed from the image. Jesus then sends for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us to restore the full clarity of the image. Second, how do you explain the moral compass that we are born with regardless of whether we have heard the gospel or not? We know right from wrong from the time we become morally conscious. There is no sociologist or anthropologist that will deny this claim. That my friends is the image of God within us from the start. If one claims that we have sin nature from the start; how then, can you deny that we have some semblance of the image of God within us from the start – regardless of whether you have ever heard of Jesus or not.

 

This, therefore, makes each person capable of having the image of God restored no matter where you are, what you have done, where you live, what religion you are born into. It doesn’t matter. Everyone is so valuable to God because of their inherent image of God within them that we cannot deny the gospel to anyone. We also cannot say that this person is not worth saving and that one is. It is also increases the urgency to develop relationships with the least of mankind, by human standards, and the most of mankind, by human standards. We cannot afford to do nothing. The image of God is there. It is to be reawakened. It is our duty to assist the Lord our God is reclaiming all the clouded images of God that pass our way each day.

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