An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
(Genesis 1:26)

Today’s verse passage reminds us that we are unique in the created order. Unlike any other creature, man is said to bear the image of his Creator. We know this must be an amazing blessing and a great honor generally, but what does this mean specifically? How does man bear the image of God? It cannot mean that God actually looks like us, having a corporeal form like we do. Jesus said that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). What makes man like God must therefore be non-physical in nature. To begin with, both God and man are relational beings. God has existed in relationship between members of the Trinity from all eternity. Man also is relational in his nature and character. In fact, community is not only a blessing, but a basic human need (Genesis 2:18; Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9). Man is also self-conscious, rational, and knowledgeable. Of course, these things are original and eternal in God but they are derivative in man. Man enjoys these attributes and capacities only because God has granted them to him (Job 35:11; 38:36; Psalms 94:10; Proverbs 2:6). Both God and man have self determination; they make real choices and have power to act (Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15-22; Luke 10:42). Both have emotions. God feels regret and can be grieved (Genesis 6:6; Psalm 95:10; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 3:10, 17). God can be angry (Exodus 4:14), rejoice (Zephaniah 3:17), and be moved with compassion greater than that of a nursing mother towards her child (Isaiah 49:15). Both God and man have moral awareness. God’s flawless character sets the standard for what is good and right in a moral sense (John 1:5), and He has written His moral values and duties on every human heart (Romans 2:14-15). Though man was morally pure in the beginning, his willful rebellion has caused him to become, to some extent, morally-handicapped. “God hath made man upright,” declared Solomon, “but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). Both God and man exercise authority. God’s authority is intrinsic and original, man’s authority has been granted to Him (Genesis 1:26-27). Finally, we note that God not only loves, He actually is love (1 John 4:8, 16). This may very well be the distinguishing feature between angels and men, one of the ways in which man is an image-bearer of God where angels are not. Perhaps man’s capacity to love much more closely approximates the way God loves than angels can. In any case, God saw fit to redeem fallen humanity but not the fallen angelic realm (Hebrews 2:16). As His beloved image-bearers, let us rejoice in God’s matchless, redemptive love today.

God bless,

pastor john