Currently the secular humanistic message is becoming louder and louder. This message of humanism is working to define humanity separated from the living God as if there is no correlation between God and man. Man from birth is separated from God, but to remove him even further through empowering the human heart to live and find its way apart from Christ is utterly devastating. When talking about humanity and human life it’s important that we go to the beginning of the Bible and understand how God originally made mankind. As we talk about man being made in the Image of God we will discuss the origin of human life, what it means to be made in the image of God and how does human life begin.
What Does The Bible Reveal About Human The Origin Of Human Life?
For us clearly understand where humanity has come from we must go the first book of the Bible to gain our understanding. Genesis 1:26-27 says,
“Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”
This passage is the fountain head of all truth when it comes to the creation of humanity. When we look at Genesis 1 and 2 we can see that God speaks to make all of His creation, except when it comes to the creation of mankind. For the creation of mankind, God becomes even more personally involved and does it with His preverbal hands. Not only does He form man, but He also breathes into his nostrils to make him a living soul, unlike all the rest of God’s creation. Mankind is God’s great jewel when it comes to His creation. When we look at the creation of mankind we can see 6 vital truths about mankind.
1) Mankind was created by a Trinity. Genesis 1:26 “Let us make man in Our image…” This means that we were created to have a relationship with God, with ourselves, with others and with all of lesser creation. 2) Mankind was created as persons by a personal God. Just as we have mentioned earlier, God spoke to make lesser creation, but when it came to mankind, He got personally involved with their creation, even breathing into them to make them alive. Mankind was not made by an impersonal force, but by a personal God, who gave mankind their personality. 3) Mankind was originally created without sin. Genesis 1:31 says “…He said that the creation of humanity was very good.” It was the fall which took place in Genesis 3 that stained and marred God’s creation, not God Himself. It’s important that we don’t confuse God creating everything perfect with sin and deception that is in the world. That came from man exercising his freewill and deciding to agree with the devil instead of obeying the voice of God.
4) We were created in the image of God, unlike the animals who were created after their kind. Often times in our present culture it is common for us to protect animals more than we do human life. As Christians we are called by God to love animals and take good care of them, but never at the expense of human life. This means that God has given more dignity to humanity than to the animal kingdom. Animals are unable to have a relationship with the Trinity, because unlike humanity they have not been made in God’s image, meaning they are mortal, not immortal. Animals will die, whereas humans will live forever in eternity.
5) Humanity was created to be reproductive and have children. Humans carry within them an internal passion to be fathered and mothered and also to father and mother. This is why little girls from birth love to play with dolls, love to play house, love to hold babies and dream about weddings. This is something that has been built into them as those that are image bearers of God. When God created humanity, He wrote into their DNA a passion to reproduce and raise children. 6) And lastly, we were created to live before God’s face. Living before God’s face means that we aren’t living compartmentalized lives where we give some of our personal life to God and keep some for ourselves. Someone who has been encountered by God should be growing in the understanding that everything we have received is a gift from God and I owe it all to Him anyway. There isn’t mine and His. There is only His. I deserved hell, everything else is a gift.
What Does It Mean To Be Made In The Image Of God?
When we look at that word image in Genesis 1:26-27 it is most often translated idol. Firstly, we must be clear that God doesn’t support or ever encourage the worship of idols and in fact always condones the worship of idols as taking away worship that belongs to Him and Him alone. What we can gather from this word image as meaning idol is that God has created us to represent Him on the earth in the same way and idol is made in the image of something else. You could look at it like this, the moon is a lesser light than the sun. What the moon does is actually reflect the light of the sun. In the same way that the moon reflects the sun, so Jesus has also called us to reflect Him to the earth that we live in. We are to image God in the earth so that when others see us, they actually see Jesus in us.
Often times, because of the fall, we end up imaging our first parents Adam and Eve, or the culture that we live in more than we image God. Paul said in Galatians 2:20 “For I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Paul is telling us that in Christ, it is no longer Adam and Eve, or the culture in which we live that we are to image, but rather Jesus Christ. Imaging God is done both by individuals and the body of Christ as a whole. Every person that has given their lives to Jesus Christ is called by God to be representing Him in the earth. This starts first with every individual person. When we look at the Church as a whole across the earth, it is made up of millions of individuals that are also imaging Jesus to the culture where they live. When we as individuals image God well, then the Church images God well and the message of Jesus moves swiftly across the earth touches all the little and big cities in which we live. For Christianity to continue in the earth, we as Christians must learn to image God well to the culture where we live.
When we talk about being made in the image of God and what that means we have to separate two things. Firstly, there are some attributes of God that we are made after and secondly there are other attributes that only God possess and not humanity. Theologians throughout history have called these the unshared and shared attributes of God. I will start first with the unshared attributes of God. God is Omnipresent. This means that God is always present, in all places and at all times. There is nowhere, where God isn’t already there. God is Omnipotent. This means that God is all powerful. There isn’t anything more powerful than God and there isn’t anything that can stop God from doing what He does.
God is Immutable. This means that God doesn’t change His personality, character or His purpose. God is who He is and there’s no changing that. God is Eternal. This means that He has beginning or end and is not bound by time, but He is conscious of time and works within time. And lastly, God is sovereign. This means that God is supreme in rule and has authority over all things even though He gives humanity a freewill to either accept God or reject God. What we just covered are the unshared attributes of God. These attributes that only belong to the Trinity and are not shared with humans when God made humanity in His own image. Which leads us to the shared attributes of God which are shared with humanity.
The shared attributes of God are those things that both God and man possess that come from God. These are the things that God shared with mankind when He made them in His own image. God is holy. Just like God is separated from everything that is evil, so also can we by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are able to live a holy life because God has given us His divine ability through His image to live life like He did. God is love. God is perfect love and that love just like Romans 5:5 says has been shot abroad within our hearts to love Him in the way that He loved us. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we are able to love God and others in the way that God loves us and loves others.
We share the attribute of love through being made in His image. God is merciful. In the same way that God is merciful to us, so also can humanity be merciful to others. John the beloved tells us that we image God best when we show love for one another. When we treat others with mercy and cover situations with mercy we are operating in the image of God. And lastly God is beautiful. Because God is a creator and He creates with such beauty, it helps us to make sense of our deep internal longing both to be and create beauty within the earth. Being a beautiful person and creating things that are beautiful are ways that we operate in the image of God. Because God is beautiful He has gifted us with a passion to create things that are beautiful in the earth. What we have just covered are both the unshared and shared attributes of God. What this helps us see is that when God created us in His own image, He gave us some of the qualities that make Him God and shared them with His creation. God is a benevolent God who gives gifts that are out of this world. Being made in His image is awesome.
How Does Human Life Begin?
In sharing on the topic of Doctrine and covering what many think to be archaic thoughts, it’s in a session like this that we see just how relevant the Bible is. Within the subject of being made in the image of God we are covering on three of the most controversial issue in modern culture; the marriage between one man and one women, gender relocation and the origin of human life. For those that are not in relationship with Jesus Christ you have freedom to choose what you want in this life and Jesus will grant you your wish. But for those that become Christians and give their lives to Jesus Christ you are no longer your own. That means you trade your will for His, your past for a new future, your name for His name and hell for heaven. And with this comes some biblical values that Jesus doesn’t allow negotiations within.
And one of those is whither you will be pro-choice or pro-life. Christians don’t get to choose one or the other, for our Trinitarian God has made is abundantly clear that He is pro-life. The Bible and science declare that human life begins at conception where the sperm joins the egg and the baby begins to live distinct from the mother and is living and growing as a human. Personally, when I saw Phinneas (my son) on the ultrasound and seen his little fingers, toes and skull and his little brain growing, tears began to well up within my eyes as it was crystal clear that he was fully alive as a baby boy growing and being crafted by the Master Creator. This means it doesn’t matter how small, or how weak, human babies in the womb deserve protection because they are God’s image bearers. David said in Psalm 51:5,
“ Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”
Job said in Job 31:15,
“Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?”
Isaiah said in Isaiah 49:1,
“From my mother’s womb You have made mention of me.”
Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 1:5,
“ Before you were even formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you…”
Luke said in Luke 1:15,
“He (John the Baptist will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mothers womb.”
And David again said in
“For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are You works; my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unframed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
These passages along with many others tell us that God is pro-life and will always be that. This is one of those issues that the Church doesn’t get to decide what side of the road we will stand on. The Church must be a pro-life movement that protects babies within the womb from the great injustice of abortion. Recently within our region a young lady delivered a baby at a local hospital and placed the newborn in the trashcan with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. She was later arrested and charged with many things. But one of the charges against her was for abandoning a dependent. The reason she was charged with that is because even as a nation we believe in protecting life that cannot protect themselves.
In my study about this subject I found it applicable to share some statistics about abortion. It is estimated that within America since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 we have aborted nearly 50 million babies. This means that ¼ of all pregnancies end in abortion. Out of those 50 million abortions, 98% of them take place because of personal choice, unwanted babies or because it’s an inconvenience. Only 1.7% of those 50 million abortions took place because either the life of the mother of the child was in danger within the womb. And only .3% of those 50 million abortions took place because of rape or incest. These numbers are staggering and should cause great emotions to arise within us. We can clearly see that the overarching reason for an abortion to take place is not because of rape, incest or the life of the mother or child is being danger, but because these babies are an inconvenience. I am also in total agreement that for too long the church has shouted these truths to the wrong people and Christians have gone about solving these problems in the wrong way, but that doesn’t change what the Bible commands Christians to believe and stand for. The issue of life is dear to Jesus heart and for that matter it must be dear to the Churches heart as well.
Being made in the image of God is a beautiful thing that only humanity gets to experience. The angels in heaven, the demons and all of lesser creation has no idea what it means to be fashioned by God and given a portion of God’s very DNA. Being made from the very fabric of God Himself.
Imaging God is best done when we look at Jesus Christ and work to model Him with our lives to the earth that we live in. When individual Christians take on the responsibility and privilege to image God to their culture, then the Church will follow suite and our culture’s will be touched with the life of God. So, continue to look to Jesus as the Author and Finisher of your faith and work to represent God by repenting, forgiving, serving, loving, creating beauty and sharing mercy with those you come in contact with.