Then God said, `Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
What does the `image of God' mean for man? We cannot answer this question fully in this brief meditation, but here are three things it does include.
1. It means that communication is possible between God and man, and between man and his fellow men and women. God has spoken to us through his Word: both the incarnate Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the written Word, the Bible. Communication is likewise possible between human beings, because we have been made in God's image.
2. It is possible for man to experience communion or fellowship with God, and with other people (1 Jn 1:1-4).
The coming of sin into the world has spoiled both of these areas.
3. It has, however, highlighted the fact that we can receive comfort from God, and pass it on to others (see 2 Cor 1:3-7). Remember that in Bible usage, to comfort is to strengthen and encourage as well as to give consolation.
What does the `image of God' NOT mean? Again it is impossible to give a full answer, but here are three areas it does not include.
1. It does not mean omnipresence. God is present in all places at all times. We can only be in one place at any given time.
2. It does not mean omnipotence. God is Almighty or all-powerful: he can do all that he has purposed to do. We are not: there are many things that hinder us from doing much that we would like to do.
3. It does not mean omniscience. God knows all things. We do not, and we are foolish to let our patients think we do. In fact, the more we know, the more we realise how much we do not know. We need to remind ourselves often of this fact, to rest thankfully in the knowledge that God does indeed know everything, and to remind ourselves that there is nothing which we can hide from him.
Lord, I thank you that you are all-pervading, all
powerful and all-knowing, and yet that you can
communicate with me, have fellowship with me and
strengthen and help me today. Help me today to
live in the conscious enjoyment of what it means to
be your child, made in your image, and redeemed by you.
Further reading: Gn 1:26-28. 1 Cor 2:7-14.