You know, one day I noticed a certain woman. Her eyes matched the brightness of her smile. Her spirit radiated with such splendor, as if to show the deep beauty of her soul from the inside out.
I realized, looking at her, I was seeing a lot of human qualities and characteristics I normally take for granted. Then I started thinking about other perks of humanity, like the rolling of eyes; the cocking of heads, twitching noses, hand gestures and other things. Suddenly, I remember certain common phrases spoken by people whom I have never met; people living in different places between the east coast and the west coast of the United States.
So, I paused, realizing that in essence, I have noticed certain commonalties which identify us as human beings. I find these common gestures and phrases endearing, thinking to myself, “I’ve done and said that before, too.” It makes me realize we are all, in essence, the same, regardless of the way we live our lives.
We may think differently about a lot of things, yet we also agree on some things. It has become clear to me that though all human beings are different in certain ways, we are more importantly, the same, just like the our cell phones which perform the same basic functions, even though some may have different features. The bottom line is all cell phones make calls to other cell phones, with family, friends and business associates on the other end. In their essence, all cell phones, like all human beings, are the same.
So how is it that all human beings have certain things in common? Well, because through one man, God created mankind in the flesh from the dirt of the earth. Then God breathed the breath of life into this inanimate piece of clay which came to life with all of the common characteristics of humanity, as well as the uniqueness of that person’s individuality.
The dust became the three fold essence of humanity, the body spirit and soul (mind and emotions) of mankind, made in the image of God. And just in case you don’t know, being made in the image of God is a big deal, meaning that we were created for a special purpose and relationship with God.
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, 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” (Gen 1:26-27 NKJV). “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen 2:7 NKJV).
I don’t know about you, but the thought of God creating me specifically for intimacy with Him, is exciting. You know why? There is only one God, and He is all-knowing, all-powerful, present everywhere, and eternal. There has never been a time in which God was less than what He is and shall always be. There is no one who can successfully challenge His authority. Now, that is deep. That is wonderful indeed.
But, it must also be acknowledged that the above mentioned supreme divine aspects of God’s holy nature are not what God is referring to when He declares that man was made in His image. That being said, the good news is there are other qualities of God that he shares with mankind; qualities which do reflect the image of God in humanity. And it gets better when believers in Jesus Christ, who are united in oneness in Christ, enter into Kingdom Come adorned in the same supernatural, perfect humanity that Jesus is presently and eternally clothed in—more about that in a latter conversation.
But for now, check this out my friend. You’ll like this!
Just as God is the Creator, humanity is creative. In that creativity mankind has the ability of insightful vision, whereby man can plan, anticipate and bring forth that which he conceives in his heart and mind. Consider the architect who thinks of a building, draws every aspect of the completed building. Then he builds it, whether a small house, or a sky scraper.
Mankind also has the ability to love, have mercy, be gracious and to forgive. These are all reflections of the image of God in humanity, but are not the limits of the image of God in mankind.
So what specifically does it mean when God said humanity was created “in His own image”? Well, the Hebrew word used to express the image of God is batsalmow, from the root word teslem, which refers to a shade, such as a shade of the color gray. There are many shades or variations of gray and other colors.
Even though teslem can also be defined as a shadow or resemblance of something, we must understand that being like something is not the same as being that thing. So, to be clear, God is separate and distinct from humanity. That being said, regardless of the differences between God and mankind, there is a fundamental part of the nature of God’s image incorporated within men and women alike.
When God created mankind in His image He created man to imitate and act like God in man’s mind and heart. God created man to be of the same moral character that reflects His unchanging nature. As a result, mankind was created to be righteous as God is righteous; to be holy as God is holy; to fellowship intimately with God. It has always been God’s intention for mankind’s image to shine back at God in man’s unwavering obedience to God.
If you think about it, it is a great honor to be created in God’s image, even though we are distinct from God, just as our children and grandchildren, who are like us in many ways, yet have different personalities while still in agreement with their parents, thus with God. This was the original plan of God. Unfortunately, man messed things up through disobedience against God.
So, as a result of man’s sin, we were separated from God as He withdrew His holy habitation from man. This fact is very obvious in that when Adam disobeyed God, Adam and Eve became spiritually dead and crushingly aware of the emptiness within them as a result of their sin. There was a part of their humanity, made in the image of God that collapsed because that part of humanity required the ever present Spirit of God which inhabited them before they sinned.
But have no fear, my friend. All is well, as reflected by our new birth in Christ Jesus. And even though we were only mere reflections of God in our fallen humanity, we have arisen in the perfect image of God as believers in Jesus Christ.
And our intimacy with Christ in this life is only a down payment of what is to come for the believer in the glory of the Kingdom of God. God is not done with us yet. But when God is done, we as believers will see the fullness of the image of God in our humanity through Christ Jesus.
So, let us say and celebrate with the Psalmist, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalms 17:15 NKJV).
Mankind was created for greatness, because God’s plan has always been to forever dwell within every believer in Christ Jesus. Once we became the children of God, we too became eternal beings in the sense that we shall eternally abide in the will of God, having the unfailing mind of Christ Jesus. And though we shall never be God, what greater honor is there than to be eternally filled with the Spirit, love and power of God—being one in Christ, forever as the children of God?