Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Image and Likeness of God

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

(Genesis 1:26-27)

 

Differing Opinions

I have wondered for years what it really means for man to be created in God’s image and likeness.  If you read the literature on this subject you will find that there is certainly no agreement as to what this means but I am going to share my thoughts anyway.  With regard to what I am writing in this meditation, I reserve the right to change my mind without notice.  But I think I have some clarity on the issue.

 

The first question that must be addressed is, does likeness simply explain what it means to be an image or is it something else?  I take it that it is something else.  We know that images are representations of something or someone.  Caesar had his image on his coins.  Many cultures used idols or images to represent their gods.  We have many statues or images that represent important historical events.  Most images do not necessarily “look like” the thing they represent although some do.  Even in this passage that we are considering, both males and females are created as images to represent God.  The second of the Ten Commandments forbids making carved images that were like anything God had created.  God knew that if man carved an image, he would worship the image and the thing that it represented.  Man was not to worship created beings or things, He was to worship the creator of those things.

 

Representation and Companionship

So what does it mean when God created mankind in his likeness?  I personally think it simply means that God created man to fellowship with Him and to talk with Him. The animals could not do that but God created a companion in man.  So man was to represent Him (he was his image) and man was to communicate with God.  That is, he was to talk with Him and have fellowship with Him (he was like Him). 

 

Man has never perfectly represented God since the fall in the Garden.  However, there is a man that does, and that man is Christ.   2 Corinthians 4:3-4 says, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  However, man has not lost his responsibility to represent God since 1 Corinthians 11:7 says, “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.”  I take it this verse is referring to saved or born again men.

 

Romans 8:29 makes it clear that God wants man to be conformed to the image of His Son.  So I would believe that an unsaved person does not represent God and a saved person should.  But it takes the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit for a saved person to be conformed to the image of God’s Son.  Only then would he perfectly represent God.   I believe that fellowship is broken by sin and the only person apart from the Lord who is really “like” God in our dispensation is one who is born again, saved, and forgiven.  John tells us in his first epistle that we who are saved have fellowship with one another but our fellowship is really with the Father and with His Son (1 John 1:3). 

 

Do We Fulfill what we Were Created to be?

I suppose it would be right to say that being God’s image or representative, has to do with the Christians relationship to others.  Being in the likeness of God has to do with our relationship with God.  This would include our worship and prayer life.  And I have to ask myself, “If others only see God as they see me, what are they seeing?”  I also wonder if God is enjoying companionship with me.  That was the whole point of creation and now it is the reason for the cross. 

 

Bruce Collins

 

Meditation for the week of December 10, 2017

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