Image Bearers

Created in His image. Now that’s something to chew on.

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.

(Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)

When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Male and female He created them, and He blessed them and named them Man when they were created.

(Genesis 5:1b-2 ESV)

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image.

(Genesis 9:5-6 ESV)

As I continue to venture into the book of beginnings it would seem that, among the foundations being laid for the redemption story, us being created in the image of God is kind of important. If repetition in these opening chapters of Genesis is meant to drive anchors into the bedrock of our faith, then, along with God being established as Creator, that we were created in His image has profound implications.

Among those implications, as image bearers of God it isn’t good for us to be alone (Gen. 2:18). God has never been alone. From eternity past He has known the sweetness of fellowship within His triune being. As the definition and source of love (1Jn. 4:8, 16), God has always had the opportunity to “be Himself” as the Father has loved the Son since before the foundation of the world (Jn. 17:24 ESV). Thus, creating something in His likeness, God created something wired for communion. Wired to be loved. Wired to love.

What’s more, as I read in Genesis 9 this morning, because God created male and female in His likeness, there is also an intrinsic value placed on them as image bearers. Apart from having ever done anything, or even being able to do anything, simply because they are image bearers they are set apart. Elevated in status above the rest of creation. To have dominion over every living thing. Their life highly regarded above every living thing. Worthy of protection. Of whom, the shedding of their blood demands a reckoning. And why? For God made man in His own image. That fact alone demands respect for every human being.

But what of image bearers in rebellion? Of those made in the likeness of God seeking instead to be like God? Of those created for communion with the Creator choosing instead to worship the creation rather than the Creator? What are the image bearing implications then?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”   ~ Jesus

(John 3:16 ESV)

How big a deal is to be made in the likeness of God? So big that God would send His Creator Son to take on creation’s weakness in order to redeem those created to bear His image. His blood shed because of our sin. The reckoning for our death-causing transgression laid upon Him so that we might be reconciled with our image bearing purpose. New creations, with a new heart, a new life, and a new power, replacing the old man’s corrupted likeness of God. A new work begun in us through the Spirit of God. His Spirit conforming us to the image of His Son that we would again bear the likeness of our God as we were designed to (Rom. 8:29).

Created in His image. Kind of a big deal? I’m thinkin’ . . .

Big enough to unleash unfathomable grace.

For our good and for His glory!

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