Image



“Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man.” – From East of Eden by John Steinbeck

“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

So God created human beings in His own image.

In the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:26-27

Man is made in the image of God.

I believe there are many aspects of humans that reflect Gods image. Humans like God are multi -layered, complex beings and many of our attributes mirror the divine.

There could be book after book exploring the topic of mankind being image- bearers of God. However today I am going to focus on what the first two chapters of Genesis have to say on the topic, and more specifically where the Holy Spirit has lead me in my study and what He has imparted to me to share.[1]

Genesis is the first book of the Bible, the first Chapter of Gods Salvation story. The first few Chapters of Genesis effect how the reader, or listener views the rest of the Bible. The creation story is fundamentally important for understanding the Bible, God and what it means to be human. Good Biblical theology starts with a proper understanding of the creation story. We cannot fully see or understand the beauty and power of our Savior without first understanding the creation story.

Genesis is the creation story.

The first thing we learn about God is that He created the world.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” –Genesis 1:1

This is the first characteristic of God. He is a creative God.

And as we look at the creation story we see out of all creation, man is the only creature that is made creative.

Man is made in the image of God in that we were made creative.

This is the first characteristic of man. Man was made creative.

If we look closer at Genesis 1 and 2, we see something interesting. We see that God is a structured, organized creator. We see that as God created He put everything in its perfect place.

We see in Genesis 1:2-5. The first thing God does is He creates light and then He separates the light from the darkness.

“The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.” – Genesis 1:3-5

In Gods creation, the putting of everything in order had a very specific purpose. Our God is a powerful God and so too is His creation.

Everything had to be put into perfect order or else the world’s elements; Gods creation would be in utter Chaos.

Our God is not a God of chaos but a God of Order. He controls and subdues chaos.

Look at the wording in Genesis 1:2, 6-9.

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” – Genesis 1:2

“Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. God called the space “sky.”
 And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened.” – Genesis 1:6-9

Could you imagine these watery depths, waves crashing over all creation, unrelenting in the their power?

The surf crushing everything in its path? Chaotic in its destruction if not separated from the sky.

Or a world without land? All creation living under the hot sun upon a mass of water, swimming and swimming, for endless days.

Without a creative God of order, It would be a chaotic world.

This is significant to us as “image bearers of God”

Lets look at Genesis 1:26, 2:15, 19-20.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” -Genesis 1:26

“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.” -Genesis 2:15

“So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.” -Genesis 2:19-20

What was the first job God gives mankind?

It is to organize His Creation or to be the “caretakers of creation.”

God gave this important job to the only creative creature on the planet.

Also he gave Adam the creative jobs of organizing the animals with names. Each with its own kind defined by its own creative name given by mankind.

So Mankind was to separate and organize the creation, like God, to keep order over creation

Sin/ Fall/ Restoration

You will notice if you read through the creation story that at the end of every day, as God creates and separates, subduing chaos, He calls His creation Good.

A good God created a good world. Not surprising.

However man brought sin into the world.

The fall of man did not only affect mankind but all creation.

The well-ordered, good world turned chaotic once again.

Chaos was released upon all creation due to sin entering the world.

God did not change; He was and still is a good God. His creation however was corrupted.

Redemption Plan

God couldn’t leave His creation this way.

A good God had a great plan.

His initial creation was complete, but that didn’t mean God was done with His creative forces.

God started the restoration of His creation using His image bearer’s, mankind.

That is what God has been doing since the fall,

restoring,

and redeeming

all things

bent by sin.

Responsibility

God has assigned man the job of subduing the chaotic powers of wayward creation.

From day one, right after man fell, God has been using Man to redeem His creation.

This is how we resemble God!

We resemble His creative force, not merely in that we can build a cabinet, write a novel or invent a new board game.

We resemble God in that we are part of His restoration of creation, because we as humans have redemption written on our souls

This is what the Bible speaks about,

the redemption of creation using, fallen and imperfect people to bring about His plan of redemption!

From the Flood,

to Abraham,

to the nation of Israel,

to the law system,

and finally it comes to a magnificent crescendo with Jesus Christ,

who by a single act, redeems creation and restores mankind to the stature they once had.

To be in right relationship with God almighty.

Redemption written on Mans heart

We can see humanity throughout history revealing Gods inner design.

Mankind has written story after story depicting sacrifice and redemption in every culture and in every age.

The Greeks, the druids, eastern cultures, European cultures all have story’s telling of a man dying to bring redemption or to save a people group.

It’s the same today. The top three grossing films of all time depict sacrifice, love and redemption.[2]

This is not accident, humanity longs for the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.

These films, these stories may not be the gospel in the truest form but they do testify to the truth of a real God who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

Just like the fall did not change a good God.

The fall did not change truth.

All truth is Gods truth.

These stories show that God is real.

The truths found in these stories belong to God.

The men that write them may not know Christ personally but there stories reveal that God has placed His stamp of authorship upon their souls.

God created this world as good, so everything that is not good is a distortion and a cheap copy of true creation. That is what sin is: a distortion of truth, a distortion of creation.

This is important to remember when it comes to our witness.

I see a lot of Christians defining themselves by what they reject. Not by what they accept. But if we reject all that is Buddhist, or Muslim, or Roman Catholic, then what do we have left to accept?

All truth is Gods truth and all people are made “in the image of God” for they have the redemption story placed on their hearts. There is a little of Gods truth in everyone!

We must affirm and accept Gods truth in people no matter what form it takes.

I affirm in the Buddhist that there is such thing as lasting peace, only true peace is found through relationship in Christ Jesus.

I affirm in the Muslim that there is only one God; only the true God is Jesus Christ.

I affirm in the mystic that there is a power un-seen, only I believe that true power is only in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You see our God is the God of true reality and He takes what is distorted and corrupted and redeems it.

He takes chaos and makes peace.

Man is made in the image of God, and it is God who will reveal His image in the hearts of men, bringing them to repentance in His son Jesus Christ

In the end we must trust God to continue his good work in the hearts of those we are witnessing to.

It is like this, a man can walk around with a counterfeit bill in his pocket and believe he is wealthy, but once he is shown the real thing he will never choose counterfeit over the real thing.

It’s the same thing with people when they get the true Savior, when their longing for true redemption and revival is satisfied they will never go back to the false God they once followed.

We must be carful as Christians not to be known for what we reject, for we could be rejecting a truth given by God to those who do not yet realize who it is from.

And we must remember everything apart from God is nothing and it will burn away in the end. So why bother wasting your time on nothing.

C.S Lewis said it well

“God is everywhere, not some of Him in one place and some in another, but in each place the whole Yahweh, in the smallness beyond thought. There is no way out of the center save into the bent will, which casts itself into the no where.”


[1] Much can be gathered from Genesis 1 and 2 on the theology of Image, I do not profess to be un-packing the length and depth on that theology. This is a small section of what it means to be in the image of God.

[2] 1. Avatar, 2. Titanic 3. Star Wars.

1 Comment

  1. There is something wrong with the margin… The last section is not very readable, the right side is cut off!
    But, thanks for this reminder that we are called, as image bearers of God, to redeem this World. Not to reject, but to affirm… good thoughts Byron!

    Like

Comments are closed.