In God’s Image


In God’s Image

“What is the ‘image’ of God in mankind?”

(Genesis 1:26-27)

 

“And God said; Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”[1]

When we think of God making us in His image I often start thinking of what God looks like. I see a human figure that looks like Gandalf from Lord of the Rings or Dumbledore from The Harry Potter movies.  Beards maybe cool, but that’s not what we’re talking about…    However, this body of text is not referring to the physical image of God.  Warren Wiersbe states in his commentary on Genesis, “Unlike the angels and animals, humans can have a very special relationship with God. He not only gave us personality – minds to think with, emotions to feel with, and wills for making decisions – but He also gave us an inner spiritual nature that enables us to know Him.”[2]  This does not mean that God is limited to the physical presence He can present Himself to us.  In the third chapter of Exodus, God spoke to Moses through a burning bush. “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.”[3]  God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and He is not limited by man in His presence no matter where He is.  Victor Hamilton wrote in the Baker Illustrated Commentary, “God creates humankind in his image, his likeness. Humans are animals, but they are more than animals. Humans are godlike, but they are less than God. ‘Image’ emphasizes humanity’s close similarity to God, wile ‘likeness’ stresses that this similarity is not exact. God and humanity are not indistinguishable. “[4]  It is this humanity that makes us different, but not the same in likeness to God.  John Kilner states, “Many interpreters of the Bible have embarked on the wrong path right at the outset by mistakenly conflating the image of God with the human being.  As a result, they mistakenly assume that if the human being is changed, the image of God is also.”[5]  Kilner went on in his article and described the fallacy of this debate by stating the comparisons of humans to other animals does not mean the characteristics when changed mean the latter do also.   The image of God is the intangible difference we have with the rest of God’s creation.   Growing up as a young Christian boy I always presumed that when the Bible stated we were made in Gods image that it meant physically.  I never imaged anything beyond that comprehension.  I never had any teacher or preacher (that I can recall) going into any further detail.  If we are to be defenders of our faith; as Paul calls all Christians to be of the gospel. In 1 Peter 3:15 through the Spirit of God (as the Bible is divinely inspired and is the total inerrant word of God); then we need to study His Word daily and learn to be true apologetics.  God bless!

Footnotes
[1] Oxford, The Holy Bible: Scofield Study Bible, KJV (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1909).
[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete Old Testament in One Volume (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2007).
[3] Oxford, The Holy Bible: Scofield Study Bible, KJV.

[4] Victor P. Hamilton and Andrew E. Hill, The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2012).

[5] John F. Kilner, “Humanity in God's Image: Is the Image Really Damaged,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Vol 53, no. 3 (September 2010).

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