Monday, June 18, 2007

Man ~ the Image of God

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image.” (Genesis 1:26)
Been studying a little bit about “image” in the Bible. Man was created originally to be in the image of God. In the Septuagint (aka. the LXX), the early Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, the word used for “image” is eikona ("icon").

In the New Testament, Paul tells us that Christ is the “image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). Jesus could well say, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9), for He bore the Father's image. This, of course, is not about physical resemblance, but about the resemblance of essence or nature. The characteristics of the Father are the characteristics of the Son, and vice versa. The Greek word for “image” in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Colossians 1:15 is the same one used in the Septuagint in Genesis 1:26: eikon.

Now consider Romans 8:29 in the light of that:
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God's purpose for us is that we be conformed to the image of Christ. The Greek word for “image” in this verse is, once again, eikon.

Now, if Christ is the image of God (that is, the likeness of His nature and character), and we are conformed to the image of Christ (the likeness of His nature and character), then what does that say about us in relationship to God? That those we receive the Lord Jesus Christ are conformed to the likeness of the nature and character of God. Well did Peter say that we are meant to be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

But this does not mean that we are like God in the exact same way that Jesus is. For Jesus is God Almighty, in and of Himself, who exists without beginning and without end. On the other hand, you and I are created beings. Jesus is God in the absolute sense, but we experience the divine nature in a derivative way — that is, the divine nature we possess is that which we receive from God.

From beginning to end, Scripture speaks about God's purpose for us to live as divine beings. Even Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” shows that man was created to dwell in the glory of God. Adam blew it when he sinned in the Garden, rebelling against God and disconnecting himself from the source of divine life, but in Jesus Christ we are restored to proper relationship with God, so that we may once again partake of the divine nature.

God created you and me to be His image on the earth. Adam blew it, but Jesus renewed it.