What Is God's Image?


What is the "Image" of God?

God declares in Genesis 1:27 that He created man in His own image. What does this mean and how does it impact us today?

First of all, we know that it is not the body of man that was created in God’s image. The Bible tells us in Gen. 1:24-25 that God created all animals from the elements of this earth. Thus when an animal dies it returns to the “dust” from which it was made. We know that animals are not created in the image of God but are a lower creation and thus God placed them under the dominion of man. In like fashion man’s body, like the animal’s body, was also formed from the elements of this earth. Gen 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,” It is this physical origin that explains many of the similarities between the physical body of man and the physical bodies of animals. If God had stopped at this point in His creation of man, man would not have differed from the animals that God had created. Therefore men are wrong when they picture God the Father as a white haired man sitting on a throne or speak of Him as the “man upstairs”. God at the time of the creation was not made up of any physical matter.

However, the competition of Genesis 2:7 adds the missing ingredient that elevated man above all the animals into the image of the Creator God. “And the LORD God . . . breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” It was this act of breathing into man that placed within man God’s image. Man received from God the very essence of what God is. Jesus tells us what the essence of God is in John 4:24.

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

Thus man received a spirit that inhabits his physical body and it is this spirit that is bears the image of God. This concept is born out in 2 Cor. 5:1-7 as Paul speaks of this body as being a tent or house in which our spirit dwells. Likewise, when man dies, his spirit continues on living even though his body returns to the ground (James 2:26). Thus when we die with Christ as our Savior, life does not end but rather is magnified a 100 fold as we enter into the spiritual abode of God known as Heaven (Phil 1:21-24. 

The ultimate impact of this truth is found in the fact that because all human beings bear the image of God all human beings are equal. This of course flies into the face of evolutionary theory. Evolution teaches the “survival of the fittest” and thus those human beings who are physically the strongest will survive and those are weakest will die off. Based on this theory, one could argue that some races of man are not as evolved as other races and the race survives is of course the most evolved. This was the thinking of Hitler as he applied it to the mass murdering of Jews. In other words, one can not be an evolutionist without also being a racist.

However God’s Word declares that physical weaknesses or strengths do not give man worth or value. Our Constitution declares all men are born equal and had in mind that equality was found in the image of God that man bears. If one measures equality based on physical traits then one must conclude that not all men are created equal. But if we measure based on the spirit that dwells within this physical house, then all stand equal regardless of race, disability, nationality, intelligence, age and the list can go on.

Because so many in our society have embraced the evolutionary model and thus they see man not created in the image of God, but rather just a higher species of animal, Thus he feels justified to view people as unequal. Thus we have abortions because the baby in the womb is not as developed as the adult thus the baby is not equal. Likewise we have the practice of euthanasia which says the mentally or physically disabled have less of a right to live than the able.

If all humans bear the image of God, then from the moment of conception all have equal worth regardless of their physical condition. Thus abortion is murder and so is the killing of seniors in nursing homes. If we take away the basic principle that all men bear the image of God, than our Constitution is doomed to fail for it was based on this very principle and this principle has served us well as a society.

There is one other implication of this truth. Since our spirits are in the image of God, they never pass from existence but are designed of God to go on for all of eternity. This of course is fine if you have put your faith Christ alone for salvation for you inherit eternal life (John 3:16) when you die. However, if you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, then when you die you leave your body here but your spirit goes on to exist in a place of torment (John3:18). If you want a vivid picture of what this means take a look at the description our Lord gives in Luke 16;19-31. One’s only hope of stepping into life eternal is to ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins and accept him alone to be your Savior. Are you ready to die at any moment. I am. I hope you are as well.