Mankind Created in the Image of God

God is spirit. Human beings possess spirit occupying flesh. God “breathed” life into Adam, and Adam’s life is the breath from God that made him a “living soul”.[1]

Spirit is eternal; spirit does not die. Every person conceived will live forever. This is critical to God’s obligation to exercise eternal judgment against wilful rebellion. If we can occupy eternity future, a mechanism to ensure God’s eternal purpose for His creation must exist and be applied uniformly across all creation. Eternal, pure, holy, good, beautiful, true, righteous – the character of God must prevail throughout and always requires the separation out of all that perverts and corrupts. Eternal judgement is that separation.

Human beings uniquely possess God’s abilities to know, comprehend, apply, decide, and perform based on conscious consideration of facts, influences, variables, and implications. Also possessing moral awareness, our decisions can be measured against the perfect character of God, making every decision to violate that character a wilful choice deserving of condemnation. We have no excuse.[2]

Adam, in his condition of bearing God’s image and knowing God’s judgment, chose to violate God’s clear prohibition against eating, which would bring him personal knowledge of evil. In taking that considered action, Adam brought condemnation on himself and introduced sin into God’s creation.[3]

Preference for self-will is effectively a deification of self. “I make my own rules; I am sovereign over my own ways,” makes self the final judge and supreme authority – both law-maker and judge – therefore placing self in God’s seat.

To purify His creation, God must execute judgement and purge all such idolatry from all creation. To provide a pure and perfect home for those who prefer to love and honour the true God, all that corrupts must be removed along with every effect of that corruption. Judgement, and punishment by expulsion, are God’s moral obligation, because only by exercising His rightful judgment is God able to be purely righteous and good.

God’s purpose for mankind is eternal fellowship as the beloved bearer of His holy image. His purpose for creation is His pleasure and our benefit, for which He created everything good and very good [4] – without flaw and with no corrupting element. In restoring His creation, He will eliminate every acquired flaw and every corrupting influence, and this time, prevent any such influence from ever affecting either the system He restores or those people who, in spite of our sin, chose to love and believe Him, receiving His provision for our wrongs, the undeserved payment of our sin-debt, the death sentence borne by Christ Jesus on His cross, for our sake.[5]

To fulfill His eternal purpose for mankind, God has chosen to work through life circumstances to re-establish His image in each person who receives by faith the Lord Jesus as Saviour.[6] The Holy Spirit given to us, enables us to navigate and live according to whatever comes in our lives, and God develops further in us the “image” – the character – of Christ as we walk by His Spirit through those circumstances. While the fullness of our conversion will necessarily wait until we have been translated at the end of our earthly lives[7], God works in us “both to will and to do according to His pleasure” as we submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit.[8]

And as we bear His image in this world, we proclaim His goodness and His grace to those around us, demonstrating by our lives the reality of His work in us.[9] And when He returns to judge the nations, restore His creation, and fully establish His eternal kingdom, we will see Him as He is, and we will finally be truly “like Him”.

[1] Genesis 2:7 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 soul.

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.’”

[2] Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

John 9:41       Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin,: but now you say, “We see” therefore your sin remains.’”

[3] Romans 5:12    Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…

Romans 5:13 For until law, sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Romans 4:15 Because law works wrath, for where no law is, there is no transgression.

1 John 3:4      Whosoever does sin is lawless: for sin is lawlessness.

[4] Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31.

[5] Revelation 21:27   And there shall not at all enter into it any thing that defiles, nor does abomination or a lie, but those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 22:3    And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

Revelation 22:15 Yet outside are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.

Romans 6:23         For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:12         Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and thus death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…

[6] Romans 8:28-9   Yet we recognize that to lovers of God, all works together to good according to His purpose that, being called, whom He foreknew, He also predestined (lit: foresees) conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.

[7] Romans 8:23      And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

1 John 3:2              Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

2 Corinthians 5; 1 Corinthians 15

[8] Philippians 2:   For it is God working in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.

[9] 1Pe 3:16            Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.