Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Image of God (Genesis 1:20-31)

"So God created man in His own image" (Gen. 1:27).

Although mankind is no longer perfect because of sin, he is still God’s creation—fashioned in His image. “The likeness has been spoiled, but not obliterated completely,” Colin Chapman writes. “However much the writers of the Bible may stress man’s fallen state, they never lose sight of the fact that he is the crown of God’s creative work in the universe.”

Man is a creature made in the image of God. He is not the same as God or one with God as some religions would have us believe. He is finite, dependent, derived, accountable, and subordinate to God. Yet he is different from the rest of creation because he is made in the image of God. Proponents of evolution, utilitarianism, humanism, and materialism assert that mankind is not made in the image of God, that he is simply a composite of biological machinery, no different in essence or value from the animals. This thinking is prevalent today, and it is an attack on the dignity of humanity and on God Himself.

The Bible does not say human beings are the same as the animals; it says that we are very different from the animals. We bear the likeness of God, and they do not. That image is manifest in our being and our function. And while sin has greatly marred that image, it is not totally eradicated. As Genesis 9:6 proves, we are, even as sinful creatures, still made in the image of God. That gives meaning to our existence, value to our lives, and purpose in our work.

The image of God in man is the reflection of God’s character in man. We are rational, emotional, moral, willful, and social creatures. We have been set apart from the rest of creation and given dominion over the earth. God is the ultimate authority, He rules over all things. In like manner, man is in authority over the earth. This aspect of the image of God in man is under attack by much of the environmental movement of our day. The needs of animals are elevated above those of humans. Man is considered an infestation in nature. Such a philosophy is an attack against God as He is reflected in humanity. At the root of all religions and philosophies that deny the supreme value of humanity is a bitter hatred against God Himself.

In what ways does our culture attack the dignity and predominance of man? Why is the culture’s attack against man’s dignity ultimately an attack on God Himself? According to the passages below, in what ways does man reflect the image of God and how should man endeavor to give the glory back to God?