Saturday, June 17, 2006

In the Image of God 3

Part 1
Part 2

I've written a bit over the last couple of months about whether we are in God's image, what that means, etc. Over the last few days, I've thought some more about it, largely spurred on by hearing a talk by Phil Keymer and reading a book by John Piper.

To summarise what I've said so far then:

Part 1:

  • Adam was made in God's image
  • Adam fell from that image
  • We are made in Adam's image, which is a corruption of God's image
  • Christ was perfectly God's image
  • Christians are being restored into Christ's image

Part 2:

  • God's image in Adam consisted in ruling
  • Adam fell from that image
  • Christ perfectly exhibited God's image in ruling
  • God's image will be restored in Christians
God's Image - Relationships

Back to Genesis 1:26-28:

Then God said "Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number... Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the ground."
Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV)

Part of what it means to be in God's image is that we are in relationship with others. God is of course the perfectly relational God - Father, Son and Spirit all existing in eternal, perfectly loving relationships. In the same way, people are made male and female, and told to increase in number.

God's Image Spoilt at the Fall

Once again, we see that this aspect of what it means to be in God's image ruined.

To the woman God said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."
Genesis 3:16 (NIV)

God's Image Restored

Once again, also, we see God's image perfectly restored in Jesus. He was perfectly loving in human relationships; he could not be fooled by people's masks; he was in a perfect relationship with God.

Once again, also, we see that God's image in terms of relationships is being restored in Christians as we love one another and are united with one another in Christ and will be perfected in us in heaven.

The Purpose of God's Image

The purpose of God's image is to display God's glory - to show the world what God is like. Why else would he need or want an image?

So what is the application of all this stuff about God's image? We as Christians, who are being restored into Christ's image, should be displaying that image so that the world can see more and more what God is like by looking at us.

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