The Final Act of Creation
And God said, “Let us make man in our image”
Man in Non-Christian Systems
Man is . . .
Man in non Christian systems
Zen: Man enters the water and leaves no ripples
If you have a finite point and there is no reference point then man is absurd - Sartra
Camus – Man is a meaningless wanderer
Technological – man is an intelligent machine
Biological – man is a DNA’s way of reproducing itself
Process Theology – man is the ever changing sum of all his experiences
Evolutionary – man is the result of years and years of evolution – her by chance
Man According to the Scriptures
The Plan of God
The divine councils of God centering on man had first taken place long before the beginning of time
You were ransomed . . . not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake
8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come
God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel
On the sixth day another such council took place and the ancient plan was not formally announced, recorded and implemented
What is meant by “image and likeness” of God
They are used interchangeable
Image – representative/reflection. Like an ambassador
Likeness – similarity
What do we mean by Image? - Representative, infused in the meaning is the idea of power, authority and certain characteristics
What do we mean by likeness? Similarity
These are some way(s) that we represent God, or are like him
The first thing people often think of is our body. However, you have a problem because God is spirit. Prior to Jesus taking on human form God did not have a body.
But, since Jesus created us to live in a physical world our bodies are clearly tied up with who we are.
Our bodies become a fit vehicle for our self-expression
Secondly, when God made us he made us male and female. Chapter two tells us how that happened. Our text here points out that both male and female are made in the image of God.
Africa Illus: In trying to teach that men and women have equal value I asked the question, “What does this text teach us about men and women?” The answer I received was that the man is the head of the home and the woman is supposed to submit! Totally missed the point. Talk about reading something into the Scriptures!
We were made relational creatures. Now we could be all men or all women and have fellowship with God alone. However, humanly, just like God has fellowship among the trinity and there is perfect love between each member, I think this was to be the case for us.
Thirdly, we also know that man is a living being. A living being different from animals. And, a living being different from idols.
Paul says that idols cannot represent God because they are inanimate. Since we are not inanimate, we can represent him.
Fourthly, we are intelligent. We have the ability to be self-determining creatures.
Lastly, we are moral creatures able to make decisions of right and wrong. We do not have to operate by instinct alone.
In essence, if you looked at man, you were supposed to see some resemblance of who God is and how he acts. By the way, it says we are made in his image, not in his essence.
Implications of The Biblical Teaching
1. What does this tell us about the value of life?
In the womb
Toward people outside the womb
2. Justice and Equity
3. Our treatment of other people
James says we are not to speak in a derogatory manner toward others because they have been made in God’s likeness
“With our tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God
All are worthy of hearing the gospel – motivation to evangelize
Respect ones dignity
You do have a point of common ground
This is the same message that leaps from the pages of the writings of Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine. In her book, Out on a Limb, she told of her discussions with a friend by the name of Kevin Ryerson who allegedly was able to “channel” John—a disembodied spirit from the days of Christ’s earthly sojourn. Once, when Ms. MacLaine was speaking with “John,” he allegedly said to her: “[Y]our soul is a metaphor for God.... You are God. You know you are divine” (1983, p. 188,209, emp. in orig.). In addressing what she refers to as her “higher self ” in her book, Dancing in the Light, MacLaine said: “I am God, because all energy is plugged in to the same source. We are each aspects of that source. We are all part of God. We are individualized reflections of the God source. God is us and we are God” (1991, p. 339, emp. added). In her 1989 book, Going Within, she wrote: “I, for example, do a silent mantra with each of my hatha yoga poses. I hold each yoga position for twenty seconds and internally chant, ‘I am God in Light’ ” (1989, p. 57).
God, who is spirit, created a physical world. As long as he was going to do that he would have to make us in a way that we could relate to this world physically. Our body is the vehicle whereby we truly express that image of God that is in us.
There is another thing about our body. It seems fairly obvious that we are made in the image of that body which he himself would one day assume. In this sense it is true that physically as well as spiritually man was both made and created in the image and likeness of God the son.
As believers God has predestined us to be conformed to the image of his son. That is our renewal. Someday, Jesus will also renew this body of ours.
What features of the creation narrative are unique to man? 1) Man is the final creation; 2) only man is stated as being in the image of God; 3) only man is given dominion over all the earth; 4) prior to the creation of man alone was there divine counsel; and 5) only man is explicitly stated as being created male and female. Now what, if anything, does each of these features contribute to our understanding of God’s image in man? First, that man was the final creation gives rise to such statements as “Man is the crown of creation, the end toward which it was all directed.” But this tells us nothing about the nature of God’s image.