You've been to see a relatives brand new baby. You're immediately impressed by how much he has his dad's nose, but his face, it looks so much like his mothers. Most of the time, we can pick out parts of both parents in the child right from the start. That’s what we should expect when two separate individuals come together in love to create a family right? We are the image of our parents and our parents are the image of their parents and their parents are the image of …….right? According to the world population clock there are about 7.5 billion of those images out there right now. But where did that first image come from?
The dictionary states that it’s a physical likeness or representation of a person, animal, or thing, it may be photographed, painted, sculptured, or otherwise made visible. Another definition: an idol or representation of a deity.
For most people the word is sanonymous with idol or idol worship. Many verses in the Bible talk about this kind of image.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
‘You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.
Images are usually a copy of the original. . The sun projects an image of itself on the surface of a lake. This is a perfect representation of it's self. A painter looks at that and paints on canvas an image of the same heavenly body. The two are not sun images in the same sense. One is self-projected and shares in the nature of the sun itself, being a part of its radiance. The other is made to represent the image of the sun, but consists of paints on a canvas and has not emanated or come from the star itself.
Images can represent both good and bad can't they.
The bible tells us that we are created beings. We've learned that when you create something it is usually a representation of the original. So we must be that image of something or someone.
We all have parents. The Bonjour line can be traced back to a man named Frederick Aime Bonjour who came over from near Switzerland and had nine children. Family lineage can be a fascinating exploration. We can potential find good people as well as disreputable people in or family trees.
If we could trace our lineage back far enough we would come to our first parents. It would be cool to follow the our tree's back to Noah, because he was everyone's grandparent sitting here and then of course we would go back 9 generations to from Noah to our very first grand parents.
The Bible gives us their names and we know them well.
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
If Eve is the mother of all living, then we are her children and the image of our original parents.
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.
Notice the word man. The Hebrew word for man is Adam. The definition means man, person anyone, mankind. The word Adam or man includes both male and female. Man and woman together make man. They are both made after God's likeness. That description points to both individuality and complementarity of the sexes.
First off remember the sun on the water and then on the canvas? With this in the back of your mind, Christ is, in merit of His own nature, an eternal image of God. He “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb. 1:3, NIV). Even more, “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). As such, He Himself is the Creator and Maker of man in the image of God (verse 16), though the whole Deity was no doubt involved in the expression “Let us make.” Humans are an image of God, not as an extension of Himself, but as a portrait or a canvas painting achieved by His creative design.
So should we understand that the word image means that we look like God himself or should we limit our resemblance to spiritual aspects? The text does not immediately give us a clue to this question. If we place too much attention on how we look in resembling God, we might be erring in trying to squish God’s infiniteness into our finite reality. We are made with our bodies corresponding to our environment. I suspect that there is much more to the word image than our looks.
Let’s look at some bible answers. God said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Attention to this is important because it shows that we didn’t just turn out in the image of God, we were carefully designed to be such. The idea of God’s image is far more than the conceited thought that God looks like us. This statement of intention also allows insight into God’s much larger purpose. The idea of the human creatures as an image of God primarily points toward their role as God’s representative over the lower creation
What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen— Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas.
God made the universe and is sovereign or ruler over it. He gave us the earth to manage and keep and be representative for him, a kind of governor if you like. He told us to have dominion over everything in the earth. Along with that dominion comes responsibility. We were supposed to be stewards of the earth and ourselves. If we are a likeness of our creator then our characters should be like His.
But we cannot completely ignore the thought of resemblance with our creator either. If we were not at least similar physically to our God, we would not be able to communicate with our maker for it says
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
Physical (at least a resemblence), intellectual, social, and spiritual properties, as well as the ability to talk with God, must be built-in to the concept of God’s image.
So what is a male and or a female? Let's go back to this verse.
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. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We have male and female, both named “man,” and yet the male and the female is each a distinct expression of this common and equally possessed nature of “man.”
Both male and female were created by God and they share equally in God's image. He blest them both. He told both of them to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over the earth. This fundamental equality is proclaimed right here in the first chapter of the Bible. but they are different. One of the differences is the fact that they were made in different ways, Adam being created from dust but Eve was made from Adam. We are told that
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
The whole plan and accomplishment was God's. Woman was to be the Lord's wonderful gift to the male or man. So the Creator goes to work, opening up the man's side, removing bone and blood, closing the wound, and building the woman. Then he raised her up in the form of the perfect helper or companion that Adam needed. She was the most beautiful work of all His creation and she was made just for Adam. God roused the man from his sleep to meet her. Adam realized at that very instant what she ment for him and what an awesome gift she was.
Why didn't God make her from the dust as he had made her husband? Because God made woman from man, Adam immediately recognized that she was something of himself. "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh," Adam said. She was of Adam and from Adam. She was made of the very same substance as himself. She wasn't made out of inferior stuff, nor was she made of superior stuff. She was the very bone of his bone, and the flesh of his flesh. She filled a place that Adam could never have anticipated when he was considering and naming all the animals who shared the Garden of Eden with them. God chose to build her from Adam's rib. "Eve was not taken from Adam's head that she should rule over him, nor from his feet, to be trampled underfoot, but she was taken from his side that she might be his equal, from under his arm that she might be protected by him, near his heart, that he might cherish and love her." (Matthew Henry Commentary).
Do you see the significance of that for the Christian understanding of marriage? The Bible is telling us that marriage is more than a union, it is a reunion. When Adam and Eve were united it was the union of two persons who originally were one, and then had been separated from each other, and now in marriage had come together again. That is the glorious mystery of marriage; the union of husband and wife is not focused on their bedroom activities. There is in marriage a blending of complementary personalities in the rich oneness of husband and wife, the outward union symbolizing a much deeper spiritual relationship. Adam lost part of himself in the creation of woman; when they came together in marriage that "oneness" was restored. This is the same relationship that God wants with us. The same “oneness”.
Because God made the woman from him, Adam was made more aware of his awesome responsibility as the federal head of the human race and his household. All the next generation, Cain and Abel and all the other children and grandchildren and great-grand-children came from him. His decisions would have a massive impact on them. All mankind, including Eve, the first woman, came from one source, Adam. He was the beginning of humanity and he was also the representative of humanity, and so the New Testament can say, "As in Adam all die" (I Cor. 15:29). Every single person is dead in sin through the defiance of rebel Adam, and Eve became no exception. Together this reunited couple fell, and together they died. We don’t have to make that same mistake. We can stop this vicious cycle in our families and our individual lives if we look to and listen to the one who created us.
Adam and Eve were, of course, equally in God's image and likeness, but the timing and purpose of their creations indicated they were going to share a difference of function. The woman was created to help her husband; her vocation in life revolved around that. He was made first and she followed his lead in the creation process; "I was made for him," Eve may have thought to herself. "He needs me and is incomplete without me, just as I am without him." Adam was exclusively a male and every bachelor will readily acknowledge that it results in a certain deficiency, but it need not be an impossible lifelong deficiency. When bachelor Adam saw Eve he realized she was wholly sufficient to overcome his deficiency, complete his humanity and fulfill his needs. In marriage God brings a member of the opposite sex to us and true marriage is being completely satisfied with just that other one alone. Eve was there to share Adam's life, to double its joys and its strengths. She could draw Adam out of his isolation and make them heirs together of the grace of life. As strong as a man is, the women can make or brake a man. "Sorry guys, but it's true. I've seen it happen and time and time again." What Eve did for Adam, Adam also did for Eve. That process is still in full force today, regardless of what Satan would have the world believe and what the world seems bound and determine to follow.
During this study I have come to some conclusions of my own. If you look at the character of God presented to us in the Bible you begin to see what God’s personality is like. We see righteous anger, an instructor a teacher, we see a father, we see a leader and judge, and creator of worlds. But then again we see emotion, compassion, sadness tears, and most of all love beyond our comprehension. Now look at the traits exhibited by a man and women. Man was meant to be the leader, instructor, and priest, have strength of character and for the most part preside over his family. Now think of the women. Compassion, caring, emotional support, encouragement, love beyond measure and a hidden strength that would shame most men. When you put man and women together in love we gain a new creation in the form of a child. Don’t these all sound like attributes of God? I would like to suggest that God took the parts of His character and himself and reproduced them in you and me. Male and Female. Man and women. Together we have most of Gods attributes, even to the point of creation of a new life. We were meant to reflect and represent God here on earth. We were meant and are meant together to be his image. Isn’t that what you do when you create something, it shows something of yourself. Look at what the world is trying to say is normal in the form of gay and lesbian relationships. This “normal” cannot have the same result. One half of the image is missing on either side. Satan’s counterfeit (he always has a counterfeit) is flawed. Now it becomes clear as to why the devil attacks marriage so hard. A true marriage is a direct representation of God Himself. The idea of marriage is at its lowest ebb since the world began. It’s getting harder and harder to finds God’s image on earth.
We are to be who God meant us to be! Male and female with our God given attributes. Men, we are to be the leaders of our families but be connected with our heavenly father so that our leadership is God sponsored. Spend time in the bible so we can have the knowledge to be the spiritual instructors and priests we were meant to be. Be protectors the way God protects us! We should Love our wives in such a way that she knows beyond all doubt that she is first in your life only below God himself. From this love, your children will know your love for them and see our heavenly father’s love. Women, God has built within you the ultimate capacity to love. This love quite often breaks your heart, just like we’ve broken our Lord’s heart so many times. Let your love and emotion flow out toward your family. Care for them, make a home for them. Share your strength with your spouse. It will do more for him than you can possibly imagine. Let your family know your compassion. God has given only you the ultimate ability to show your family and the world what God’s love and compassion is all about.
Remember that "oneness" that we talked about earlier, God want His creations, His image to reflect Him so completely that we then can have that connection, a marriage with Him that He so lovingly wants. He is our bridegroom and we are His bride.
So do you see it, we already have the ability to reflect the image of God. We are God’s canvas. The only thing we need to do is give the painter enough time to paint. Let’s pray.