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In His Image, After His Likeness

 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.” God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:26 – 28

The other night in our theology class we discussed what it means to be created in the image of God. Today, I want to put my notes, my thoughts, my research together … to process and share. Obviously I can’t plumb the depths of this one idea – it is so rich – and every time I revisit it I learn something more.

I used to think that being made in God’s image said something about our being body, soul and spirit – somehow akin to the Trinity.

Besides structure, I thought being created in His image might have to do with God’s communicable attributes. God is holy, loving, just, good, merciful, gracious, faithful, truthful, patient, and wise. One devotional writer reminds us, “We are like God in ways that nothing else in creation is like God, although we are not so like Him that there is no distinction between Creator and creature” (Tabletalk Magazine). God is infinitely holy, infinitely loving, infinitely just and so on … we cannot attain to His communicable attributes in the same degree that He is those traits but we do share in them.

One other common way of looking at being created in God’s image involves man having a personality, a sense of morality and spirituality (Boice).

But there may be something more to the two-part phrase, “let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness.”

The term “likeness” indicates that … humanity has a special relationship
to God like that of father and son.

Gentry, P. J., & Wellum, S. J. (2015). Gods Kingdom through Gods covenants: A concise biblical theology.

“After our likeness” implies a covenantal relationship, kinship, with God as our Father. It speaks to a vertical relationship man with God, whom we worship and adore.

The term “image” indicates that [humanity] has a special position and
status as king under God. Humans rule as a result of this royal status.

Gentry, P. J., & Wellum, S. J. (2015). Gods Kingdom through Gods covenants: A concise biblical theology.

Image often refers to an icon, a physical idol so in that sense we are physical representations of our God. The implication of being “in His image” speaks to our relationship with creation – originally we were to rule and subdue the earth. We are his “‘royal’ representatives to rule and to mediate blessings to the world.”

While there is still no complete consensus in understanding precisely what the “image of God” refers to in Genesis 1, the most widely held views among scholars swirl around the concepts of presence, rule, power, and relationship.

J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. (2019). God’s Relational Presence:
The Cohesive Center of Biblical Theology

✅ We are created for [His] glory (Isa 43:7).
✅ We are created that [we] may proclaim ]His] praise (Isa 43:21).
✅ We are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:24).
✅ We are being renewed in knowledge in the image of [our] Creator (Col 3:10).
✅ We are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord (2 Cor 3:18).

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.
Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8: 1, 3-9

In summary, we were created in His image, after His likeness to relate to Him, having an intimate relationship with Him proclaiming His praise and to reflect His glory, His heart, His character to the world!

All creatures worship God most high,
lift up your voice in earth and sky,
alleluia, alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
thou silver moon with softer gleam,
O sing ye, O sing ye, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Let all things their Creator bless, 
and worship God in humbleness,
alleluia, alleluia!
To God all thanks and praise belong!
Join in the everlasting song:
O sing ye, O sing ye, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

St. Francis of Assisi , 1225


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