In last week’s Wednesday evening homegroup we referred to Genesis 1v27: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Many significant issues flow from this foundational verse, including the fact that men and women are equally made in God’s image. But what does it mean to be made “in the image of God”? Opinions vary but a simple definition is that, unlike all the other creatures God made, men and women are like God and represent God. The Bible doesn’t prescribe the ways in which are we like God but an inference of what it involves may be drawn from a verse such as Genesis 5v3: here Seth is described as being in Adam’s image – clearly not identical to Adam but like him in many ways, as a son is like his father.
Sadly, as a result of the Fall (Adam and Eve’s disobedience and its impact on all humanity) God’s image is now distorted within each of us, but not totally lost. I remember reading an illustration of this in terms of the ruins of a magnificent ancient abbey / cathedral – the grandeur, beauty, scale etc. of the original building can still be glimpsed and imagined but much is now missing / damaged. So, for instance, we see God’s image generally demonstrated in the great outpouring of compassion following the recent Grenfell Tower disaster, whilst at the same time reflecting on how His image has been distorted in the apparent causes of that tragedy.
The wonder of the Christian message is that our salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ means that, even in this life, we can and should grow more and more into God’s likeness – “we are being transformed into His likeness [literally “image”] with ever increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3v18). And when Jesus returns “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3v2) – no wonder John continues “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Peace and Grace