We are created “in the image and likeness” of God – Genesis 1:26-27 “And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So, God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (KJV).
Adam & Eve were not the product of some galactic accident nor is he the result of evolution. God created Adam to be totally dependent on Him – “For in Him, we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Luke 3:38 calls Adam “the son of God.”
Adam & Eve were God’s masterpiece and the focal point of His (God’s) Creation. All of God’s purposes were to centre on them (Genesis 1:26-28) – Genesis 1:31a “He (God) had made, and indeed it was very good….”
Adam & Eve were created in God’s Image and Likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). Unlike Angels and the animals, Adam & Eve have very special relationship with God. God not only gave Adam & Eve Personality – Mind to think, emotion to feel, and will for making decisions – but God also gave Adam & Eve a spirit that enabled them to know Him (God) and worship Him (God).
God’s Image is spiritual, mental, and volitional (power). It involves the Character (Image) and Nature (Likeness) of God – Likeness (intellect, emotion, will) and Image (Moral Attributes: Holy, righteous, love, faithful). Not God’s Essential Attributes (Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Immutable (unchanging as to His Nature, Being and Character) and Self-existent) of God.
Fruitful, Multiply and Fill – Genesis 1:28a “And God blessed them, and God said unto them (Adam & Eve), be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (KJV). The three Commands: “Be Fruitful, and Multiply and Filled the Earth” involves Procreation, the union of man (Adam) and woman (Eve) to populate the Earth (Genesis 9:1; Isaiah 45:18). Adam and Eve were to reproduce “after their kind” – Genesis 5:1-3 “This is the Book of the Generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them and called their Name Adam (Mr & Mrs Adam), in the day when they were created. And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his own image; and called his name Seth” (KJV).
Subdue the Earth – Genesis 1:28b “And subdue it” (KJV). The word “subdue” denotes warfare and means “to tread down, to conquer and to subjugate.” This implied the existence of Enemy (Satan – The Fall of Lucifer – Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12:9) that Adam and Eve must overcome. Satan and one third of the Angelic Host rebelled against God (Revelation 12:4a) and became God’s Enemies and Adam’s & Eve’s Enemies. Satan (Lucifer) and the Fallen Angels were the Enemies that Adam & Eve must overcome. Furthermore, Adam & Eve were to make the whole Earth as the Garden of Eden. This implies a degree of sovereignty, control and direction over Nature (Psalm 8:6).
Have Dominion – Genesis 1:28c “And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moved upon the earth” (KJV). Adam and Eve were the first Rulers over God’s Creation – “The Heaven, even the Heavens are the LORD’s but the Earth He has given to the Children of men” (Psalm 115:16, NKJV). From the moment of their (Adam & Eve) Creation Man & Woman were given the Authority to have Dominion – This Dominion involves the Rulership over the Earthly Creation and would include the spiritual authority.
Adam & Eve were King & Queen under God, Adam named the animals – Genesis 1:19-20a “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field; and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call every living Creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field” (KJV).
- Adam & Eve demonstrated their God’s given authority over the Creation (Genesis 1:28), when Adam gave Names to the animals and fowls.
- Adam & Eve demonstrated their God’s given mental capacity when Adam named the animals and fowls.
It did not take millions of years for Man (Adam) and Woman (Eve) to evolve in their search of self-identity and self-consciousness, for Adam’s & Eve’s Dominion (Genesis 1:28) were the direct result of being created in God’s Image and Likeness. Man (Adam) and Woman (Eve) were created to have dominion over all living Creatures (Genesis 1:28).
When Adam & Eve Fell (sinned – Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:1-6), not only physical death and spiritual death (cut-off from God’s Life) came upon them (Adam & Eve) but the Image of God in them were marred (Ephesians 4:18-19). But at the same time, they still retain God’s Likeness of: Intellect, Emotion, and Will. Through Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Work of the Holy Spirit, the Image of God is presently being formed in every born-again Believer who allows God’s Spirit to conform him/her to God’s Image, of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit:
- Romans 8:29 “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers” (KJV).
- 2Corinthians 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (NIV).
- Colossians 3:10 “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (NIV).
At the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, all of God’s Children will share in the Glorious Image of Christ – 1John 3:1-3 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Children of God; therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the Children of God, and it doeth 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. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure” (KJV)
Thus, we have worth and significance in God’s Sight, despite our weaknesses, failures, and faults. Every Person long for meaning of life and deep relationship, which could only be satisfied in God in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. The field of Psychology tries to create an understanding and appreciation of this worth and significance, for example:
- Erik Erikson helps his Readers appreciate more fully what it means to become an Adult – to be mature in one’s personal identity.
- Victor Frankle effectively argues that deep within the psyche of each Person is a longing for meaning that needs to be expressed in hopeful work and purposeful activity.
- Rollo May recognises the essential worth of each Person and appreciates the power of crisis and stress to undermine personal identity. He contends that the resulting emptiness and anxiety can only be overcome through the power of love, love that enables us to live with freedom and courage.
- Abraham Maslow gives us the language of self-actualisation, the ideal or goal toward which each Person strives – to realise our potential in our work and relationships, and to be able to do so even in environments and contexts that threaten our capacity for inner strength, authenticity and courage.”
It was estimated by one author (Gordon T Smith) that over 80 percent of the books published in any given year are about the self. We are consumed with our “selves.” In order to resist being absorbed with ourselves, we must find, in response to God’s Grace, Mercy and Moral grounding, a clear sense of Authentic Identity in God through the Lord Jesus Christ, in our life and calling (vocation). Only then can we turn from self-absorption and self-centredness and know God’s Grace & Mercy in the Service to Others.
God’ Glory – Man/Woman reflects God’s Glory – 1Corinthians 11:7b “Man…..is the Image and Glory of God” (KJV) and thus, it is erroneous for Christians and the Church to consider the Person to be nothing but God’s channel only. Scripture speaks of us as Partners with God – even Ambassadors for God (2Corinthians 5:20). Our lives and works matter greatly to God; our choices and decisions make a difference. Apostle Paul urges Timothy to “fan into flame the Gift of God” (2Timothy 1:6, NIV). If he/she does not, the Gift of God will not flourish in him/her! Timothy is urged to be proactive, to take responsibility for his life and his work (Ministry = Service), which will impact both the Church and the World.
Christians and Church, who argued that the best option is for the Person to decrease, often quoted the words of John the Baptist: “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). We miss the point if we extrapolate from this declaration of John the Baptist that the Person has little if any significance.
- John the Baptist was speaking of his calling (vocation), and of the joy at Christ’s Coming.
- John’s work is that of a friend of the Bridegroom (Jesus – John 3:29), not that of the Bridegroom.
Naturally, when the Bridegroom appears, it is appropriate for the friend (John) to step aside – and this is his joy (and also Jesus’ joy). We see this Principle repeated in the affirmation that we are called to lose our lives if we are to gain them; that if we are to be great, then we must be Servants of all:
- Mark 10:43-44 “But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever would be great among you, shall be your minister (Servant); And whosoever of you would be the chiefest shall be Servant of all” (KJV).
- Matthew 23:11 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your Servant” (KJV).
Implicit in these teaching of Jesus is the recognition that we have life to give, and we achieve greatness by giving our life, thus, it can be assumed that the Individual life before God has the potential of greatness. When Christ’s Disciples wondered who would be great in the Kingdom of God, Jesus’ response was not to rebuke them for desiring greatness but rather to point them to the way of Service. Furthermore, Jesus made the remarkable statement that His Disciples were not only His Servants; they were His friends (John 15:15). Thus, we are more than “Channels” or “Instruments” but Partners with Him in the Work of the Kingdom! So do not run yourself down but Praise the Lord Jesus!