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Don Stewart :: What Is the Image of God That Humankind Was Created In?

Don Stewart
The crown of God's creation was humankind. The Bible says that God created humanity in His image and after His likeness:

Then God said, Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth (Genesis 1:26).

This is the list of the descendants of Adam. When God created humankind, He made them in the likeness of God. Male and female He created them, and He blessed them and named them Humankind when they were created (Genesis 5:1,2).

Man In God's Image

In other places, the Bible speaks of humanity being made in God's image.

and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its Creator (Colossians 3:10).

The Bible says:

And that you put on the new self which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24).

A Physical Image

What is the image of God in which humanity was created? The idea that humankind was created in God's image had led some to speculate about the physical nature of God. That God has a physical body was taught by some early Rabbi's and is today believed and taught by the Mormon church.

Image Not Physical

First, we must understand what the image of God is not. The image of God is not a physical image. God by nature is spirit - He has no physical form. Jesus described the nature of God in the following way.

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).

Therefore the image in which He created us could not be physical.

Things In Common

To say that humankind was made in the image of God means that God and humanity have many things in common. When God created humankind He gave them such things as personality, choice, emotions, morality, and creativity.

1.
Personality

Both humankind and God have personality. That is to say they can both think and communicate as rational beings. They each have personal identity that is separate from other rational beings and from non-living things. Humankind and God also have the ability to communicate to other rational beings.

2.Choice

A second common trait between humanity and God is choice. Both God and humankind are beings that have the ability to choose, though God does not have the ability to choose evil. Neither God nor humanity are programmed or forced to make any choices. This freedom was given to humanity by God and humankind is responsible for the choices we make.

3.Emotions


Humankind and God both have emotions. For example, each can give love and receive love. God, as well as humanity, can be angry. Both humankind and God have the capacity to feel and express emotions. These are common traits that both God and humanity share.

4.Moral Sense Of Right And Wrong

Humankind and God both have a moral sense of right and wrong. Each knows and understands the difference between good and evil. God, however, does not have the capacity to choose evil while humanity does.

5.Creativity

Another attribute that God and humankind have in common is creativity. The Bible says God created the universe and everything within it. Human beings are also are creative, having been given this ability by God.

Worthy Of Honor

The image of God means that humankind is worthy of honor. Consequently, the Bible emphasizes that humanity, who bears the image of God, should not be murdered.

Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person's blood be shed; for in His own image God made humankind (Genesis 9:6).

In the New Testament James argues that humankind should not be cursed because we are made in the divine image.

With it [our tongue] we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse humankind, who have been made in the likeness of God (James 3:9).

Be Like Him

Believers will eventually be conformed to the likeness of Christ.

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn within a large family (Romans 8:29).

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

Summary

The image of God, in which we have been made, consists of such things as personality, choice, emotions, a moral sense of right and wrong, and creativity. The Bible does not teach that the image of God has anything to do with a physical image.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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