Imago Dei

Studies in Genesis 1

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26 ESV)

There are not three Gods. There is One God who eternally exists in three Persons. He is Trinity—God, the Father and God, the Son and God, the Holy Spirit.

God tells us in Genesis 1:2 His Spirit moved over creation. David acknowledges that neither he, nor anyone else, can flee from His Spirit. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” (Psalms 139:7-8 ESV). After Jesus ascends He sends His Spirit, as He said He would in John 14 and 16.

Concerning God, the Son, John tells us, in John 1:1-3, that Jesus was with God in the beginning and He made everything that exists. Paul, in Philippians 2:6-7 gives perhaps the most concise declaration of the divine Person of Christ.

Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form… (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV)

In Genesis 1:26 the word used for “image” means a shade, or phantom, a resemblance or representative figure. It is used to describe idols of a false god meant to represent the Only God. Thus, “image” is a shallow depiction or copy if that which is real and true. Yet, God also uses the word “likeness” which can also mean resemblance but carries the idea of shape or model. This is the only place in Scripture where these tw words are used to describe Man. God created Man in His image and likeness, making him a physical representation of God, with those qualities necessary to represent God’s being. He did this so He would have an intimate relationship with Man. Yet, God is spiritual and eternal, not physical and temporary.

There are several words used in Philippians 2:6-7 to describe and define Jesus. He has the “form” of “God” and of a “servant” and in the “likeness” of men. “Form” is a philosophical word, morphe, which means the nature of a thing, or that which makes something what it is. “Likeness” is the word homoioma, which depicts the true appearance or shape of a thing. Paul also uses the word schema, in verse 8, to describe the internal and external makeup of Jesus as human. Jesus was human in the truest sense. “God,” theos, means God, and there is only One. “Servant” means someone or thing under subjection to another, either voluntarily or involuntarily, either a slave or a bond-servant.

Jesus has the eternal and essential qualities and characteristics which are only God’s. Jesus has the eternal and essential qualities and characteristic which makes a servant, a servant.  He also had the true biological and psychological makeup of a human man.

Jesus is truly the Servant God come to represent Man because He was a man. Jesus is man the way God intended Man, as the Second Adam (see Romans 5:12-21) while being God the Creator of all whether seen or unseen, known or unknown.

It is in His image and likeness Man is created.

 

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