Imaging a simple stick figure. With no more than a circle and a few straight lines, one can convey the image of a human form. But does the stick man above look like me? To an extent yes, but it also resembles every other one of the six plus billion people on earth. We could create a more realistic portrait with a few crayons or colored pencils. A portrait artist with oil paints could create an image approaching photo realism, and of course we could always take a picture. Wax museums are filled with likenesses of iconic figures capable of fooling the human eye.
So what does it mean that we created in God’s image?
We may resemble God in the my four-year-old daughter’s scribbled portrait resembles me. But we can say two things for certain about the creation of humankind. God spoke all that exists into being except for the first man. He formed Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And of all the animals that swim, creep, crawl and fly listed in the Genesis account, only the man and woman were created in God’s image. Imitation is said to be the highest form of flattery. But humans are not imitating God, they were made by God in his own image. Like an artist might paint a self portrait, or an engineer might program his own voice into a device, God’s final creative act was personal and bore, to whatever extent, a reflection of himself.
So Adam and Eve (notice male and female he created them) were made in God’s image. This is probably a well established fact for those familiar with the creation account; it’s mentioned in Genesis 1 and explained in further detail in chapter 2. Now notice from Genesis chapter 5:
This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man,he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. (Genesis 5:1-3)
Adam was created by God in God’s image, then passes his image on to his son. The image of God is handed down from one generation to the next. While we can’t be sure exactly what the means, in terms of appearance, there should be obvious implications. In all creation, only man has a mind, body and soul. All the animals of creation were placed under Adam’s subjection. Even in the curse (Genesis 3) there is a promise of what Eve’s future progeny will do. Man is special to God, even in a way that the angels and heavenly beings are not.
Look for Part 2 tomorrow.