IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
May 16, 2008
Genesis 1:26-27 says that God created man in God's image, both male and female. There has been much speculation on this statement over the ages with books being written on the subject.
It has been postulated that what it means to be created in God's image is to have the ability to think, possess creativity, and be human in appearance as Christ was human. Further, to be able to love and be loved. To give and to receive. Also, to have a mind capable of great thinking and concepts of physical, mataphysical, philosophical and theological understandings.
While all of these are God given capabilities which no animals possess they all miss the point of what it means to be created in the image of God.
God speaking in Genesis 1 is not some unknowable, untouchable, cosmic Giant possessing "all everything" only to be revered, bowed down to, exalted, worshipped, and who is unapproachable as if He were some cosmic Budda or Zeus or one similar to these only infinitely greater.
John 1:1 shows God to be Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a Triune God of three persons yet one essence. . The word "with" here relates to relationship as the Triune God is "face to face" one with the other. Not just 'existing' but living in RELATIONSIP with one another in an entwined 'perichoretic' relationship of love, peace, joy happiness, acceptance, appreciation, honor, fun, and the mutually sharing of life together.
This love relationship overflowed to the point that this Great Triune God decided to make children to share this abundance of love with and to share LIFE with in this perechoretic relationship which would take humanity INSIDE God's life and include man in God's life through being 'Adopted' as God's very own children and placed inside this Divine relationship FOREVER. (See Ephesians 1:3-14 and John 14:20; John 17:20-26). And all of this to be done IN, BY, FOR, and THROUGH Jesus Christ. The Divine UNION was to be and WAS completed in Jesus. God in effect established man's destiny before ANYTHING was ever created.
Triune God is Spirit. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are Spirit. For man AND woman to be created in God's image in this Divine relationship demonstrates God's esteem for both sexes equally and His love for all of His children without partiality.
There simply is no other being in God's creation that in any way fits the description of one(s) being created IN God's image. Man and woman only can and do fit this profile.
The rest of the creation including all animals and all of nature and all of the cosmos was created FOR humans to be in charge of. Hebrews 2:5-8 shows that EVERYTHING created is to be under the "feet" --under subjection--to man. That day is coming but it is not here yet. The future world to come is not even going to be put under the authority of angels, but MAN.
This relates to man and woman being created in God's image. The fact that God is sharing His Divine Nature, His Divine LIFE with humanity demonstrates God's confidence in placing ALL things ultimately under man's feet--in subjection to man.
In the image of God is to be IN eternal RELATIONSHIP with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is to share mutual Trust, love, confidence, and nature. God will have billions of sons and daughters IN His image sharing in His LIFE and in the maintenance and care of the cosmos with ALL things being under their feet.
Great theologians such as Karl Barth, the great Athanasius, T.F. Torrance and others knew this truth and taught it.
Maybe now we can understand a little better another dimension of God's great love for all of us--love that will allow Him to share His very Divine life and eternity with us.