Thursday, January 11, 2018

Created in God's Image

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." (1 John 3:2–3)

What does it mean that man is made in the image of God? Historically, theologians in the church have pointed to certain human qualities that reflect God’s character and nature, such as man’s ability to think and to act and to make choices. Beyond this, however, the concept that man is made in God’s image means that man has been created with the unique capacity to mirror the character of God.

You as a human being have been so constituted that you have the capacity to reflect the holiness of God. You are not holy in yourself, while God is holy in Himself; but God has called you to reflect His very character. That is what Jesus Christ did. He perfectly reflected God’s glory as the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:3).

This does not mean that man somehow participates in God’s uncreated deity. Rather, it is the idea of showing God’s holiness. Remember that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai his face was shining (Exodus 34:29–35). Did that mean that the internal glory of Moses was shining through, so that his personal essence was being manifested and people could finally see what Moses was like on the inside? Of course not. Rather, it was that Moses had been spending time with God so that God’s glory was shining from him. So brilliant was this glory that the people begged Moses to cover his face. Not only can we not stand to look at God face to face, but we are not even able to behold God’s reflected glory when it is manifested in any kind of intensity. This thought leads me to what I consider to be our highest reward. When in heaven we will behold the “beatific vision,” the vision of God. While all mankind is created in the image of God, only those recreated by the Son will behold the unveiled glory of the Father.

List several of the most incredible sights your eyes have ever beheld. Consider how these will pale by comparison to what you will behold in that first instant in God’s immediate presence.