Then 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 birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (ESV)
The imago dei speaks to the nature of man (http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/theogloss/imago-body.html).
It speaks to certain aspects universal to all people, though there are certain marrings and skews of these attributes as created by God in his own likeness, in the image of himself. The marring is due to sin and the results of sin.
The likeness of God is the first point of import for understanding man and in understanding God’s purpose for man: understanding what “being created in the image of God” means and entails then necessarily defines and gives understanding to who is man and why is he that way.
The image of God may be understood by understanding who is God:
- God is holy.
- God is intelligent.
- God is spirit[ual].
- God is love.
- God is relational.
- God is Creator.
God created man as a relational being with the purpose of loving God in accordance with God’s character, according to God’s holiness, which deems that man’s love and worship and obedience to God must in line with the holiness of God in the spirit and truth, the motivation/heart and the act, of the love. God’s purpose is that he and men have a relationship, and not just “a” relationship but the exact “right” relationship that God knows and demands as being best.
The second point of import regarding understanding man and God’s purpose for him, as understood by understanding “the image of God,” is the effect of the fall and fellness of man and the effect of the sin of man upon the imago dei:
- God’s purpose is man having a [right] relationship with God.
- Man’s sins mar his relationships and relating to all of creation and especially to God.
- There is a crisis, a break, a change, in the purposed God-man relationship, because of God’s holiness.
The imago dei speaks to the mere likeness, image, not-sameness, of man, who is humble and low from God, the dei, not the imago, though man is also unique and great and high from the rest of Creation; therefore, the imago dei cannot ascend to the dei. Man can’t undo, forgive, change, the sin, the problem, the break: the created can’t create a new creation, only the Creator. Man can’t remake himself in the sense necessary for becoming a new creation.
Man’s problem of sin does not make him worthless or valueless however, as each individual person has value and worth from the fact that they are uniquely and personally creatd by their Creator God who is also wanting to be their Savior! This worth does not make us worthy of God’s perfect love but makes us worthy of not being the object of evil, not being destroyed or destroying ourselves as reflections of the image of God himself. We point to the ultimate worthiness of God.
God created us in his image, and he also regards us each as having worth in the sense that we are uniquely and wonderfully made as “image bearers” by the fact that we are human. We are unique from all of the rest of Creation!
There are almost endless implications for this reality of God’s general regard for us having made us unique of all other created things: how we treat others in general, compassion, respect, patience, kindness, parenting, pregnancy and abortion, the words we use and how we say them.
Our problem of sin, of falling short of perfection and holiness and righteousness, is indeed our problem, but God is here calling and waiting and wanting us to see his light, his plan of giving us his love if we accept him. Many of us many times just don’t accept God’s amazing love for us because we won’t accept him as the One True God.
The good news is that God provides a way through Jesus for us to have that right relationship with him he purposed for us (https://rynoyak.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/what-is-the-gospel-ephesians-21-10-part-iv/).