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Image of God
May 19, 2017
Relevance: Chapter 5, Restored by Grace

What does the human nature, as the image of God, reflect?

"God said, 'Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us ...' So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:26-27)

The phrase "to be like us" strengthens the idea of resemblance as the primary meaning of the word "image." So the text describes something unique in humans, which clearly differentiates them from all other creatures. They were a reflection of their Creator. In other words, something about God may be known by studying the original human nature. (See RG, 107)

We need to see who God is before we can understand what human nature, as the image of God, reflects.

The attributes of God are his greatness, his rationality, and his love. "His greatness is infinite. He's omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. His rationality is seen in the structure and regularities in his creation, in his justice and faithfulness, and in his purposes and plans. We see and experience his love in his relationships. His love is expressed in his benevolence, kindness, and grace. John says, 'God is love.' Love is the center of God's character. It sets his purpose, drives his will, and defines his relationships." (RG, 109)

The first human beings were created as persons of free will who could feel and reason. They were conscious beings in very close relationships with each other and with God their Maker.

"They experienced freedom in their daily choices. They enjoyed harmony and fun with each other and with the other creatures. They felt love and intimacy in relationships. They felt fulfillment and growth in exercising their abilities and in discovering about the world as they learned to govern it.

"Their faculty of reason enabled them to communicate, observe, understand, and innovate ... As they lived, worked, and learned, it would soon be obvious to them that they had limitations ... They were finite beings who could never reflect the infinite greatness of God, which even the entire creation could only suggest. It was the character of God that they reflected." (RG, 111)

But the first couple decided to reject their limitations. They "tore themselves away from God and from their place in the creation order, and carved out their own realm of separate existence where they could be like God with the power to dictate the rules as they please. They became the center of their own world" (RG, 113-4). They "dragged the entire human race into the long course of depravity, like a branch cut off from the vine. Their humanity was gradually warped, and their reflection of the character of God dimmed" (RG, 115).

Today, our life "is largely disconnected from God. It has fallen short of the Maker's intention and is therefore broken. We can't expect the life of this age to be void of evil and suffering and we can't expect always enough good things to balance our pain" (RG, 21). However, God "saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5).


From Darkness to Light
170504, Ch.1, What is Heaven?
170512, Ch.5, Good and Evil
170519, Ch.5, Image of God
170526, Ch.6, All Have Sinned
170602, Ch.6, Isaiah Prophecies
170609, Ch.6, Lamb of God
170616, Ch.6, Decision Prayer

New Life in Christ
170623, Ch.7, Fruit of the Spirit
170630, Ch.7, Time with God
170707, Ch.7, Life Together
170714, Ch.7, Messiah's Return
170728, Ch.7, Audacious Faith
171006, Ch.7, Mark of the Christian
171027, Ch.7, Christian Identities

Growing in Christ
171110, Know the Bible
171210, Christ is Central
180302, Satan Exposed

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