Thursday, February 5, 2015

In His Image

We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26,27; 5:1,2; Psalms 139:13-16). What does this mean? And how was it affected by the Fall? This has been a matter of considerable speculation. Scripture does not go into that in detail. I believe the basic idea is that we have the ability to make moral choices. I also believe it means we have the ability to act on them, to, in our limited way, create things. But this is just my speculation.

What is clear is that, because of this, God cares about us and how we treat each other (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9,10; Psalms 8:3,4). We are also given a responsibility over the created world, to care for it and manage it (Genesis 1:28; 2:15; Psalms 8:6-8). Now human beings did lose some of that image due to the Fall, and need to be renewed in it (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24; Psalms 17:15). And our goal is to be remade in the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:29,30; 1 John 3:2). But it is clear that God is still concerned, even for those who have rebelled against Him (Matthew 5:44.45; Acts  14:15-17; 17:24-28). Also, even those in rebellion against God show within their hearts some desire to do what is right (Romans 2:12-16; 2:25-29; James 1:17). Now it should be noted that there are other beings who are also involved in voluntary obedience to God (Revelation 5:11,12; Isaiah 6:2,3; Hebrews 1:7). Scripture does not say a great deal about angels, perhaps due to the danger of our focusing on them rather than God (Colossians 2:18; Revelation 22:8,9; Galatians 1:8). But while our relationship to angels is complicated (Hebrews 1:14; 2:16; 1 Corinthians 6:3), I think it helpful to recognize that there exist beings who are older and more powerful than we are.

I would conclude from this that we should see God as our pattern for proper behavior ( Matthew 5:48; Ephesians 5;1,2; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). In this, Christ is the revealer of God and what He is like (John 1:18; Hebrew 1:3; 12:2). We should treat other people appropriately, because they are made in God's image. We should also treat His creation appropriately, as good stewards of that creation. And we can know we are not just a grand cosmic accident but have a place and a purpose. Even if we have become alienated from our Creator, we can be reconciled to Him. And that puts the rest of life in perspective.

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