Made in God’s Image
Adam was created with a heavenly (God like) nature and an earthly (man like) nature.
The one is nourished by a relationship with God. The other is earth bound and is nourished by the physical essentials of life.
The Study of Earthly Man
Science has discovered more and more complexity to earthly man. There are hundreds if not thousands of fields of science which have arisen in response to discoveries related to the physical person and his adjustment to the universe, to mankind and of his physical nature in maintaining health and vitality.
The most recent, and to date the most complex, is the DNA profile of human beings, reflecting each individual’s basic structure.
Accident or Design
Beginning in the 19th century, it became popular within the scientific community to credit all creation to accident. Later educators in leading institutions of higher learning echoed the same rejection of God as Creator of the physical universe and of mankind.
Over time it has become obvious even to unbelievers that there is intelligent order to all the systems that exist in nature and in man. Many now try to reconcile a form of divine creation and accidental concepts.
God created man so wonderfully that it requires deliberate effort to disbelieve. I overheard someone say to an atheist, “I believe in the same God of whom you disbelieve.” Many believing scientists have explained the marvel of sight, respiration, circulation, nutrition, sound, production, etc. in ways which assist the foundation of our faith. God not only created man but empowered him as male and female to procreate life in a continuum. The man and his wife each being seed bearing creatures come together to give life to a “seed” which becomes a human being.
Just as Adam and Eve were created by God of the dust of the earth, this offspring of Adam and Eve is of the dust of the earth in perpetuity.
The Design and Complexity of the Inner Man
For believers an obvious conclusion arises:
If God created physical man in such a wonderful fashion simply to be born and live on the earth a limited period of initially 1000 years and later 100 years, He will be much more creative with the design and complexity of the divine nature of man which exists invisibly with man’s earthly being.
This inner man (later to exist as neither male or female but rather in angelic form) is the nature of man which is created in the image of God. The creature formed from the dust and returned to dust in death is not in God’s image.
We see God’s image in only vague form in the scriptures because God has not chosen to permit us to see except “through a glass darkly”.
References to our Earthly Bodies
Some references to our earthly bodies are: (1) Earthly tabernacle, (2) Temple of God, (3) Body of Christ, (4) Temple of the Holy Spirit, and others. In these we learn that our bodies are a dwelling and are not our complete identity.
Unbelievers cannot see even if they try because the inner man is invisible except by the eye of faith.
The scriptures reveal three distinct aspects of God’s nature in which we are created:
- God the Father: Creator, loving, benevolent, forgiving, caring; the source of all that is good, all that is true, all that is just, all that is honest, all that is kind; everything that is demonstrated by Christ and by the Holy Spirit. All knowing, ever present.
- Jesus the Christ: God’s Son sent in earthly form to speak and to act in God’s behalf to redeem man who has fallen from grace back into a relationship with God. Jesus as divine messenger and as the Word of God, present in speaking creation into existence, consistent with the authority of God the Father.
- The Holy Spirit of God: which demonstrated God’s power to bring order and life to God’s creation of matter and man. The source of life; the source of power; the source of order. Also able to override the order of nature (miracles).
In some manner, we as God’s creation are like the tabernacle and the temple. Today, God’s dwelling place through the death of Jesus is inside the believer. Thus, the believer becomes the temple of God and in so doing ministers to a lost world as if Jesus were physically present.
In the Image of God – the Inner Man
The inner man is created in the image of God and is like God the Father in intellect and in finite creativity.
Man is like Jesus in being able to speak in God’s behalf and to beseech God’s mercy and forgiveness as a priest, even as Jesus is our high priest.
Man is like the Holy Spirit in the power to act which springs from his feelings. Our emotions of love, joy, peace, brotherly kindness (fruits of the Spirit) are the energy source of all our actions.
All speech is a gift of the Spirit. Our natural speech comes from being able to extend the gift through Adam. The divine invitation comes from Pentecost and continues today.
Intellect, speech and emotion are of our invisible and divine nature. They also reflect the image of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are housed within our earthly body but will ascend to the presence of God, the fellowship of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit through our faith and acceptance of the love of God in Christ Jesus.
After being born again by faith, we partake of the body and blood of Jesus in partaking of the Lord’s Supper and in so doing continue to receive God’s grace and the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. This relationship validates our good works and lets us walk in heavenly fellowship while seeking to pattern our actions by imitation of the “mind of Christ”.
Image courtesy of Ben Jones