Man Created in the Image of God
Gen. 1:26 "And God said, Let us make man in
our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish
of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over
all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the
earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of
God created he him; male and female created he them."
Based on the above we can conclude th at when
man was created he was in the image of God. When thinking upon this
fact, my mind is drawn to two questions:
1. Is man still in the image of God?
2. How is man in the image of God?
Let us deal with the second question first.
Of all of God's creation only man was created in the image of God.
Further, God later forbid man to make any image of God. Thus, man is
the only image and likeness of God that God has authorized. The
scriptures do not say that God created man partially in the image and
likeness of God. It says that he created God in his own image after his
own likeness. Thus, man was the best representation and likeness of God
that God created.
This principle is set forth in examining the
physical characteristics of man and the things the scriptures say about
God. The following is said in describing God in comparison to the
physical characteristics of man:
1. Ps. 11:4 "The LORD is in his
holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his
eyelids try, the children of men."
2. Ps. 34:15 "The eyes of the
LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their
3. Deu. 4:34 "Or hath God
assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by
temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty
hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors,
according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your
4. Ex. 24:10 "And they saw the
God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved
work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his
5. 1 Sam. 13:14 "But now thy
kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his
own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his
people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee."
6. Ex. 31:18 "And he gave unto
Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai,
two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger
In the above we note the description of God
using the physical characteristics of man.
Likewise, other verses of scripture describe
God using the senses of man: see, hear, smell, taste, and feel:
1. Gen. 11:5 "And the LORD came
down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded."
2. Deu. 33:7 "And this is the
blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and
bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be
thou an help to him from his enemies."
3. Phil. 4:18 "But I have all,
and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which
were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable,
wellpleasing to God."
4. Heb. 2:9 "But we see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,
crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste
death for every man."
5. Heb. 4:15 "For we have not an
high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Moreover, we see verbs associated with man
used to describe God such as God speaking; God denying; God working; God
judging; God forgiving; God rewarding; etc.
Unlike the birds, fishes, mammals and other
animals that God created, man was created with the ability to think
logically, to reason, to rationalize, to deduce and draw conclusions.
These are also things that are ascribed to God.
The phrase, "Let us," indicates a plurality
in the Godhead. This is verified by several scriptures with 1 John 5:7
the most cited: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the
Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." The
three, yet one, nature of the Godhead is also found in man's likeness
and image to God. According to 1 Thes. 5:23 man is also three, yet one,
in nature: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray
God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
There are seven things that God made man in
which he is different from the other creatures, yet are characteristic
1. God made man upright. All
the other mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, etc. are made to loco mote
parallel to the ground. Man is made so that he can readily look outward
2. God made man with a
reasoning, rational, logical mind. All of the other creatures are
extremely limited in their ability to logically reason if at all.
3. God made man with the freedom
of ability to choose his course. No other creature has the latitude to
make such free choices.
4. God made man to have
"dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and
over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing
that creepeth upon the earth." God certainly has dominion over all his
creation. God gave man to have dominion over a large portion of the
creatures of the earth.
5. God made man in the image of
the Godhead. The Godhead consists of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and
these three are one. God made man a threefold yet one nature: body,
soul, and spirit.
6. God made man with the ability
to assimilate language for communication. All other creatures are very
limited in their ability to communicate and do not have the ability to
assimilate language to any degree.
7. God gave man wisdom. This is
the ability to take the knowledge and understanding that man has and to
put it to good use.
The following two verses teach us that man is
still in the image of God:
1. Gen. 9:6 "Whoso sheddeth
man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God
made he man."
2. 1 Cor. 11:7 "For a man indeed
ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of
God: but the woman is the glory of the man."
However, due to the fall of man, man is no
longer completely in the image of God for we find in the covenant of
redemption that the elect of God are predestinated to be conformed to
the image of the Son: Rom. 8:29, 30: "For whom he did foreknow, he also
did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he
might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did
predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also
justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." If man were
perfectly in the image of God then why would it be necessary that God
predestinate the elect to be conformed to the image of the Son?
There are things about God that Adam and his
genealogy lost in the fall of man. The read the following concerning
Christ: Heb. 7:26 "For such an high priest became us, who is holy,
harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the
heavens…" Furthermore, Christ is called the Sun of Righteousness: Mal.
4:2 "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise
with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves
of the stall." In contrast it is said of fallen man in Rom. 3:10: "As
it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Ultimately in the
resurrection through the atoning sacrifice of Christ we will once again
be completely in the image of Christ as we will be holy, harmless,
undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens and
we will be made altogether righteous.