Monday, April 7, 2008

Xerox Image?

Given the complexity of God, I think that to try to come up with a single idea of what is meant by, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Gen 1:26 NIV) is impossible. So first, what is an image? An image is a semblance or likeness of something else. It brings thoughts of Xerox machines. With a copier, we can have an image of an original. The trouble with copies is that they are never as sharp or perfect as the original. I’m reminded of the movie “Multiplicity”, with Michael Keaton. He gets cloned and the clone is not as good as the original, and the clone of the clone (or copy of the copy) got even worse!

I know there is a lot of discussion as to whether man is a triune being or a biune being (yes, it is a word, you will find it in the obscure words dictionary). If we believe that God is a triune God, a Trinity, and we are made in a likeness of Him, why would we not believe foremost in ourselves as triune beings also? Man being made up of a body, mind and spirit (we’ll use these terms, but I know that some may argue for; Body, Soul and Spirit). Maybe we have God the Father as the mind (or soul), God the Son as the body and God the Spirit as the spirit or life force of it all. Just as our mind and our spirit would guide us, Jesus while here on earth said that He did what the Father told Him and the Spirit led him, our bodies really do not function on their own without the mind controlling the functions and the spirit being the life.

So, looking from that perspective, what form would God the “Body” have? I would assume that He has always looked like we do, since in reality, we look like Him if we are in His image. Remember, Jesus was around from the beginning of time. In Gen 3:8, we read that Adam and Eve, “heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (NIV). This gives us the impression that God was in a physical form as He showed up there. If God had been in the Garden in a spiritual form, first, they probably would not have heard anything and second they probably would not have thought they could hide from Him.

Another “image” that we should look at is one of authority. As God is ruler and has authority over everything, God also gave us authority over the earth. This authority surely is part of the image process as it is stated right afterwards. “in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Gen 1:26 NIV) God gave no other creature this kind of authority, not even the angels. The only authority that Satan has is what was given over to him by us.

Last, and I believe most important is that “in His image”, contained righteousness in the beginning. Adam and Eve were formed without sin and so had a righteousness such as a copy of that righteousness that God is. When they sinned and fell, that righteousness was gone and therefore, the greatest part of our being created in God’s image. When that righteousness left, so did the authority and maybe all we have been left with is a vague physical, triune resemblance of our creator. The reason that I feel this way is pointed out to me in Colossians 3:1-10 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ (born again)….(9) since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (NIV) We are new creatures in Christ Jesus and are being renewed (to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state[1]) in knowledge (to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly[2]) in the image of our Creator. In other words, our new self in Christ is starting to know what the original creation was like as man was created with righteousness in the image of the righteous God and our righteousness is gained through the righteousness of Christ.


(This post is a discussion board response of mine in Theology class at Liberty University, Copyright:Me)
[1] Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Anakainoo". "The New Testament Greek Lexicon". .
[2] Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Epiginosko". "The New Testament Greek Lexicon". .

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