Monday, February 22, 2016

Matthew Henry on the Imago Dei

God’s image upon man consists of those three things, 1) In his nature and constitution, not those of his body, (for God has not a body), but those of his soul. This honor, indeed, God has put upon the body of man, that the Word was made flesh, the Son of God was clothed with a body like unto ours, and will shortly clothe our’s with a glory like unto his … But it is the soul … that does especially bear God’s image. The soul is a spirit, an intelligent immortal spirit, an influencing active spirit, herein resembling God, the Father of spirits, and the Soul of the world. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord [Pr. 20:27]. The soul of man, considered in its three noble faculties, understanding, will and active power, is perhaps the brightest, clearest looking-glass in nature, wherein to see God. 2) In his place and authority. Let us make man in our image, and let them have dominion. As he has the government of the inferior creatures, he is, as it were, God’s representative, or viceroy, on earth … Yet [man’s] government of himself, by the freedom of his will, has in it more of God’s image than his government of the creatures. 3) In his purity and rectitude. God’s image upon man consists in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, Eph. 4:24; Col 3:10. He was upright, Eccl. 7:29 … His understanding saw divine things clearly and truly, and there were no errors or mistakes in his knowledge: his will complied readily and universally with the will of God, without reluctancy or resistance: his affections were all regular, and he had no inordinate appetites or passions … All the inferior powers were subject to the dictates and directions of the superior, without any mutiny or rebellion. Thus holy, thus happy, were our first parents, in having the image of God put upon them.