Weekly Devotional 11-13-23 The Exact Image of God
Often, we hear a preacher and/or teacher saying that we are created in the image of God. While that was true of Adam and Eve, it is not exactly true of their offspring? At best, all of humanity bears a semblance of God but not an exact image. Because of sin we are born (not created) with a corrupt nature, a nature that distorts that exact image. If this were not true, why then is it necessary to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29) who was in God in the flesh? Why is it necessary to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24)? Why was Seth born in Adam’s likeness, not Gods (Genesis 5:3)? These questions need to be answered and, in an attempt, to answer said questions I have drawn from an article written by the staff at GotQuestions.Org. The article was titled “Image of God – What does it mean that humanity is made in the image of God? What follows is not an exact transcription of GQ.ORG’S article but it follows their premise so closely that it does not damage their work.
On the last day of creation, God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Thus, He finished His work with a “personal touch.” God formed Adam from the dust and gave him life by sharing His own breath (Genesis 2:7). Accordingly, humanity is unique among all God’s creations, having both a material body and an immaterial soul/spirit.
Having the “image” or “likeness” of God means, in the simplest terms, that we were made to resemble God. Adam did not resemble God in the sense of God’s having flesh and blood. Scripture says that “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and therefore exists without a body. However, Adam’s body did mirror the life of God insofar as it was created in perfect health and was not subject to death. The image of God (Latin, imago dei) refers to the immaterial part of humanity. Human beings are set apart from the animal world, fits them for the dominion God intended them to have over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and enables them to commune with their Maker. It is a likeness mentally, morally, and socially.
Mentally, humanity was created as a rational, volitional agent. In other words, human beings can reason and choose. This is a reflection of God’s intellect and freedom. Morally, humanity was created in righteousness and perfect innocence, a reflection of God’s holiness. God saw all He had made (humanity included) and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Socially, humanity was created for fellowship. This reflects God’s triune nature and His love. In Eden, Adam and Eve had a personal relationship with God (pre-incarnate Christ) as implied by Genesis 3:8.
Part of being made in God’s image is that Adam had the capacity to make free choices. Although they were given a righteous nature, Adam and Eve made an evil choice to rebel against their Creator. In so doing, they marred the image of God within themselves, and passed that damaged likeness on to all their descendants (Romans 5:12). Today, man still bears the image of God (James 3:9), but it is a marred image. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, humanity bears the effects of sin.
The good news is that when God redeems an individual, He begins to restore the original image of Himself in them, creating a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only available by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Savior from the sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).