173 – THE IMAGE OF GOD 3
Man and woman were created in the sixth day. And god said: “‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:26-27).
Man cannot, by logic and reason, be image and likeness of god.
- Man is flesh that comes from the dust, and God is spirit. “The Jehovah God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). “So Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took on of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place” (Gen. 2:21).
- Man is made of visible matter, and God is an invisible spirit. “God is spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). “And He is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). “Now to the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever” (1 Tim. 1:17).
- Man is mortal, and God is immortal. “Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen” (1 Tim. 6:16). “What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him?” (Ps. 8:4). “Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, and of the son of man who is made like grass” (Is. 51:12).
- Man is a sinner, and God is holy. “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins” (Eccl. 7:20). “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1 Pet. 1:15). The apostle Paul rejects the possibility of a man who does not sin, saying, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not” (Rom. 7:18-20).
- God is absolutely truthful, but man is a liar. Paul declares, “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Rom. 3:4).
- God is unchangeable and man is inconstant and changeable. “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” James 1:17). Paul had a companion in his mission, whose name was Demas. He says the following about him in the letter to the Colossians: “The beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas” (Col. 4:14). In the Epistle to Philemon, we read, “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow-workers” (Philem. 23-24). Paul, writing to Timothy later, confesses:“For Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me” (2 Tim. 4:10). Among the apostles, there were many cases of changes. Jude betrayed Jesus, selling him for thirty silver coins. Thomas was incredulous about the resurrection (John 20:24-25). Peter shamefully denied that he was a disciple of Christ (Matt. 26:69-75). And Peter denied him, after having declared that not even death would be able to make him do it (Matt. 26:35). We can number dozens and hundreds of men who, being godly, turned back.
- “I said to myself concerning the sons of men, ‘God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.’ For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. Who knows that the breath of men ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?” (Eccl. 3:18-21). If the animal man has the image of God, the beasts also have, for man and the animals are alike.
But the Scriptures say that man was created in the image and likeness of god (Gen. 1:26-27). As that is impossible, man can only be image of a god similar to him.
- Man was created a little lower than then angels; therefore, he can only be image of an angel, for angels are subject to sin. “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4; Ps. 8:5).
- If Satan overcame man before he sinned, man was never image (Gen. 3:1-6).
- If to become as god he needed to eat from the tree of science, he was not image and likeness(Gen. 3:22).
- If becoming as god, he was unfit to eat from the tree of life after eating the forbidden fruit, the god he derived his image from was not perfect (Gen. 3:22-24).
- The gifts of God, the Father, are given and God does not repent from giving them, that is, God gives them and does not take them back even if man sins, for the gift is not given for his merits, but from Christ’s, through grace. So, being image and likeness of God, man would not lose it with the fall. The New Testament, though, reveals that in Christ, the re-born man is created in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. This is in Col. 3:5-10. It was the old man who was in the image and likeness, and it is not the old man that becomes image again. The new man is a new creation, and therefore we have two men. The old man was created the image and likeness of god by the disobedience. The new man, created in Christ, is image without the disobedience. Let us read Paul:“That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24). The old man went to the cross.
Since there are two images, one of them is not true, for before sin came the righteousness and holiness of the old man was not real.
Paul also explains that the old man has his origin on earth, and the new man has his origin in heaven.“So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthly; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthly, so also are those who are earthly; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:45-49).
The first man was created the image of Jehovah, who created him (Is. 45:12). The second man is created in the image of Jesus Christ, if he really believes in Jesus. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10; Rom. 8:29).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira