Monday: The Image of God: Part 1

As we saw yesterday, Adam and, of course, Eve were literal people, not symbols or myths but actual flesh and blood beings made “in the image of God.”

Image © Bill Osborne from

Obviously, being made in the image of God is something good, something sacred, something that bestows inherent value on us. What, however, does that really mean?

Read Genesis 1:26 carefully. What statement of intention seems to be linked to the creation of man in God’s image? That is, God says that humanity is to be made in His image, and then something immediately follows as a result. What is that, and how does that help us in our understanding of the concept of “the image of God”?

Genesis 1:26 is God’s statement of intention. God creates man in His image and then commands him to do something. Being created in God’s image appears to be necessary for a certain function; in this case, to have “dominion” over the rest of what God had created. Therefore, “the image of God” points to physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual endowments needed in order for humanity to fulfill God’s purpose for it. Whatever it meant to have “dominion over” the rest of the creation, it certainly entailed respect, care, and good stewardship. Humanity was, perhaps, to interact in a dynamic way with the “lower” created order in a way that reflected how God interacted with humans themselves. Being made in the image of God also means that humans were to represent God in the world.

What a responsibility!

Read Mark 12:13-17. How do these verses help us to understand what it means to be made in God’s image?

Jesus’ practical message seems to be “ ‘Give your money to Caesar; it has his image on it, and thus it belongs to him. But give yourselves to God. You bear his image, and you belong to him.’ ”-Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), p. 515.

How is this translated into practical terms? Most likely, we also show that we bear God’s image in our love, commitment, and loyalty to Him, as well as in the way in which we treat others. Again, being made in the image of God, whatever else it entails, is something manifested by our actions.



Monday: The Image of God: Part 1 — 16 Comments

  1. A doctor, police or student are identified by theiR unr r uniform when we as Christians put on the whole armour of Christ, we should be identified by it, live the life of a Christian. To know we bear the image of Christ reminds me how special I am, and we all.

  2. I am made in God's image, and I am to reflect his image to the world. What a humbling thought! I feel like crying out like Isaiah, 'Woe is me! For I am undone!' Yet I marvel at the grace and mercies of our Lord, in giving sinners such as myself the gift of his righteousness through faith and his Spirit living in my heart. God gets his glory through my life, in spite of my sinfulness, and works in me to restore me in his likeness. Hallelujah! To God be the glory!

  3. It looks like to me that Christ, when speaking in Matthew 13:17, switches from physical giving, to spiritual giving, within the same verse.

  4. You know going back to verse 15, reminds me of a vision Sister White had of the glories of heaven, she told her Angel-Guide, I don't want to go back, and the Angel said to her, you must finish the test, eternal life will still be waiting for you. Christ was tested too, and He passed. He is our example. We can pass the test also, only through the blood of the One who set our example.

  5. I'm having a hard time understanding the connection of Mark 12:13-17. The author seems to be pushing the meaning here to fit the "image of God" subject into the text. Many times the questions asked in these lessons and the verses they attach seem to have no connection. I wish I knew what the author was thinking when he formulated the question.

    • You know what, that was my first thought exactly but after re-reading I think its trying to draw a connection to what the Pharisees were asking him about the paying of taxes to Ceesar. Jesus was saying look at the penny who is on it? then what does he (ceasar) require of you?...then of course you have to pay taxes.... On the other hand tying it to The image of God..we are made in HIS image...what does he require of us.... of course we have to lead this life fully representing him. I hope I was a little helpful. I may not be completely right but that's the way I think God is bringing it to me and since it makes sense im going with it until someone can help me out as well....Blessings!

  6. So if we were/are made in the image of God as Adam. why are we different e.g Whites & Black people, was Adam black or white?

    • The issue of color has to do with geographical settlement in relation to the sun, the kind of food eaten by the people and their daily lifestyle. Procreation through biological or DNA fussion may contribute a lot because even a tree that bears same fruit may not have same taste.

      But most importantly, to be in the image of God is not biological resemblance, rather, a reflection of inherent "being". We were made in His image to possess certain attitudes and character. The reason why the fall is serious is that, fallen humanity portrays a bad image of a good God. We lost His glory and through that men can't see the true God in us. They only see animalism. How on earth can one say we came from apes? Because he sees animalism in humanity. We cannot reflect Him. Hence, only through revelation can humanity come to know His full glory. I hope this helps.

    • Clifford's reply is good and so is Jauyo's below mine.

      We are all made in God's image, no matter what our skin color. The image of God has to do with abilities like that of our Creator -- the ability to plan and create, and the ability to make moral choices plus more.

      As for variation in skin color - as I understand it, the first human beings had in them the potential of all the genetic variation we see today. To put it in practical terms, since then some of us have been bleached out and some of us have been burnt dark. 😉 Light skin color is the result of a lack of pigmentation. Blue eyes have no pigment at all. Dark skin is the result of lots of pigmentation.

      There are practical effects of these variations in skin color. Light skin is more beneficial in northern latitudes because it allows more of the beneficial rays of the sun to penetrate the skin for the formation of Vitamin D which is essential for life. Dark skin is more beneficial in tropical climates because it protects from sun burn in an area that has the sun directly overhead much of the time.

      Now that we have wandered all over the globe, dark-skinned people in the North have to take extra care to be sure to obtain enough Vitamin D. Light-skinned people in tropical regions have to cover up to protect from being over-exposed to the dangerous rays of the sun.

  7. Man and woman were made in the image of God with individuality, the power and freedom to think and to do. I think the following 4 statements capture the essence of being "created in the image and likeness of God":
    1. Created for relationship with others (Genesis 2:18); just as the perfect relationship in the Godhead.
    2. Created to be stewards of the environment (Genesis 1:26; Psalm 8:6-8); just as God cares for His creation, He's delegated part of this work to man.
    3. Created to imitate God (Exodus 20:8-11); just as God rested on the Sabbath, so do we in the same manner- work for six days and rest on the seventh.
    4. Created with conditional immortality (Genesis 2:17); though only God is immortal (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16), the righteous will be given immortality at the resurrection, the wicked never receive it.

    Nevertheless, though created in God's image, I think there are some radical ways in which we differ.

  8. Thanks to all for the insightful comments.

    Some additional thoughts:
    Gen 1:26 is pregnant with meaning. Reading this text and the following one in several different versions will make this clearer. And it's easy to do: Just click on the text or the "more" as your mouse hovers over the verse. Then on the page that opens, check out the different versions listed in the bar above the text.

    "Let us"
    Here in the book of beginnings is an intimation that the one God is yet more than one. We learn later that "God is love" (1 John 4:7) and love is only possible in relationship, and for relationship, more than one is necessary.

    "make man"
    Just recently someone argued that this means that only males are created in the image of God. But the original word means more. It is more correctly translated as "human being," as the NLT translates it. And, by the way, "Adam" simply means "human being."

    "in our image"
    Again the plurality of God is intimated, and we can suppose that it will take more than one to be "the image." See more on this subject in the article by Jennifer Schwirzer, "Male and Female - In His Image."

    Gen 1:27 corroborates the sense that more than one is needed to convey the image of God, because the record says that
    "In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them." (Gen.1:27 NLT)

    It seems to me that this doesn't leave room to argue that only the male was created in the image of God.

    What do you think?

  9. The issue here is the fact that God created only Adam and Eve Gen 1:27, 2:7, 18-25 we are not created we are born of Adam and the birth started after the fall of man Gen 4:1-3 if we were before the fall we could have been in a different image and the conclusion there is that we are not in the image of God but of Adam for we are the generations of him Gen 5:1-3 after his image not of God, and the issue of color and languages is of the result of sin the destruction of the tower of Babel Nimrod's reign the seed Cush of Ham of Noah the anti-diluvient Gen 10:1-12.

  10. Correction
    When Christ was speaking in Mark 12:17, He may have been talking about monetary giving, and spiritual giving, within the same verse.

    You know going back to verse 15, reminds me of a vision Sister White had of the glories of heaven, she told her Angel-Guide, I don’t want to go back, and the Angel said to her, you must finish the test, eternal life will still be waiting for you. Christ was tested too, and He passed. He is our example. We can pass the test also, only through the blood of the One who set our example.


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