THE IMAGE OF GOD
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THE IMAGE OF GOD?
A. I do not believe that it means a physical image.
1. Though the Bible refers to the eyes of the Lord, and His ears. It talks of the hand of the Lord, also the arm of the Lord. These are all used in a figurative sense, for in the Psalms it refers to Him covering us with His wings.
2. Jesus was a manifestation of the Godhead bodily, but He became flesh and dwelt among us.
3. Jesus said, "God is a Spirit."
B. God's chief emotional attribute is love, so He created us with the capacity to love.
1. I know the joy of giving love.
a. I cannot describe the feelings that I have when I hold my wife or my children or now my grandchildren.
b. I cannot describe my feelings for God, the warmth and satisfaction as I commune with Him.
c. I cannot describe the feelings I have for you who share with us here in the body of Christ. My appreciation, my joy, my blessing.
2. I know the joy of receiving love.
a. It is difficult to know which joy excels.
b. As the lyrics of a song once expressed, the greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.
C. God's chief governmental attribute is His self-determination so He made us self-determinate beings.
1. I have the power of choice. I am not a robot.
2. For choice to be valid, there must be something to choose. Hence, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden with the prohibition.
3. For choice to be valid, there must be respect for the choice made.
4. This capacity of choice is necessary for love to be a meaningful expression.
a. If I am forced to call you every night or forced to send you a bouquet every day, it may or may not be a true expression of love. You would never know.
b. If I were forced to fellowship with God, if there were no alternatives, then my fellowship would not be meaningful.
D. God's chief moral attribute is holiness.
1. Man was created pure, holy, and as such had fellowship with the holy God.
2. An unholy man cannot have fellowship or be one with a holy God.
E. God is a Spirit and He created man a spirit, but clothed him in a body in order to be able to express himself to other men.
1. Man is a spirit, dwelling in a body, possessing a consciousness.
2. Thus man as God is a trinity.
3. One of our problems is trying to decide if a malady is physical or mental. If it is something from my spirit or my flesh.
4. The truth is that we are so integrated that it is often impossible to tell.
5. Whatever effects one part of me effects all of me. Would God create man in His own image?
II. WHY WOULD GOD CREATE MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE?
A. It would seem it was His desire to come into a meaningful loving relationship with His creation.
1. It is stated in the scriptures that we were created for His pleasure. That is the pleasure of loving us and being loved by us
2. You may say, "I don't want to love God." You have a prerogative, He created you a free moral agent.
3. Just note that in not loving God, you have failed to respond to the basic purpose of your existence thus do not be surprised if your life seems at times to be empty, frustrating and useless.
B. God desired fellowship.
1. More than half the joy of having something beautiful is the sharing of that beauty with someone you love.
a. If I see a beautiful sunset, I will call Kay to come see it with me.
b. If I hear a beautiful symphony, I will call her to listen.
2. God wanted to share the glories and the beauty of His creation, hence He created man in His image and likeness that He might fellowship or share with Him all the glory and beauty of His love.
III. GENESIS CHAPTER 3 TELLS US OF THE FALL OF MAN FROM THAT IMAGE.
A. The fall came from disobedience to the command of God.
B. The fall came by the exercise of the free choice.
C. The fall resulted in spiritual death, hence broken fellowship with the Holy God.
1. Man continued to live in his body, possessing a consciousness but the spirit was dead, thus the mind was dominated and controlled now by his flesh, and the desires of his flesh.
2. The path man chose was a one-way path, that is, there was no opportunity to undo that which was done. He could not resuscitate his dead spirit.
D. The fall brought great sorrow to God.
1. Because He loved man so much, He desired the best for man, but He knew this could only happen as man was one with Him.
2. As Jesus wept when He could see the consequences of the wrong choice man was making, so God no doubt wept.
E. The fall brought great calamity to man.
1. Life alienated from God.
2. Life dominated by the flesh with the resultant strife, fighting, wars, maladies and death.
IV. THE PURPOSE OF THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST WAS TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR MAN TO BE RESTORED INTO THE IMAGE OF GOD.
A. Thus restored, his fellowship with God could be renewed and man could once again answer to the basic purpose of existence.
B. Jesus talked to the earnest seeker of life, of the necessity of being born again of the Spirit.
1. Jesus talked of denying self, taking up the cross to follow Him. If we seek to find life in the things of the flesh we will lose it. If we are to find true life we must lose the life of the flesh.
2. Jesus talked of God's love for man and the desire of restored fellowship.
3. He then proved the love of God for man, by taking the guilt of our sins, and dying in our place.
C. The capacity of choice now comes in once again.