The book of Genesis provides the most important information, as relevant to understanding the story of humanity. When a manufacturer or inventor experiences some problem with his/her product, he/she goes back to the drawing board, seeking to establish the cause of the problem.
Apparently, in the midst of the hosts of other created species, nothing surpasses the creation of humanity. While God cannot be created, as in humanity, the Creator God sought to create a replica of Himself. Genesis 1:26 is therefore the most important scripture in the entire Bible.
“Then 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 birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’” (ESV).
Who is this God and who is He talking to, in suggesting making Man in their own image? There is more about God, than what can be comprehended in human imagination. This is just as the created Man is revealed as being more than one and not, necessarily, concerned with gender:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27) (ESV).
The limitation of language can throw anyone into total confusion. But to simplify this statement one can rephrase the statement as follows: “So God created humanity in His own image, in the image of God He created humanity; male and female He created them.” See [When did creation take place?]
The suggestion of creating humanity in whose image humanity cannot understand—unless the creator God, Himself, reveals such details—is what we are after, in this installment. The Israelites, with whom the same God worked, were clearly told that God is one:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…….” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) (ESV).
We need to keep in mind that the humanity that was created was in the image of God, who Himself is the Creator. The only limitation of humanity is in the level of God being the creator. Otherwise, humanity was created in the exact likeness of the one who created humanity in His own image.
The uni-plural, of the term ‘God’ as suggested in the communication cannot be untangled. While God created humanity in His own image, the created humanity cannot liken God with anything that was created (Exodus 20:4). Attempting to liken God with anything that was created can only be described as foolishness—as that information is beyond anything created.
But God said humanity was created in His likeness. We, therefore, need to dig deeper, to understand what humanity is, as resembling the image of God. The casual analysis of humanity, as known today, can only reveal the opposite of that which God created in His own image.
Therefore, unless humanity knows the Creator God, it is not possible for humanity to appreciate the humanity that was created in God’s image. It takes the Creator God to reveal Himself to the one whom God created in His own image. Grappling with this question, seeking to understand, without God revealing that information to one, can be a futile exercise.
However, knowing God itself cannot be a difficult exercise for humanity, as humanity is the masterpiece of what God created in His own image. This is just as the created humanity was in the image of the same God who created humanity in His own image. The Creator and the created can easily be in good communication, when the created is submissive to the Creator.
However, currently, this remains a puzzle, requiring many other pieces, before one can assemble the real answer to the question: Who is this God and who is He talking to, in suggesting making humanity in God’s image? Humanity lost that relationship at the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24).
But John gives us a clue: “If anyone says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him; whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:20-21) (ESV).
This can only be complicated to the one having not yet identified with the Creator God, who created humanity in His own image. Indeed, it may not even be necessary to study the entire Bible, once the person has come to grips with the image of whom humanity was created. When one of the disciples requested Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus declared:
“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves” (John 14:9-11) (ESV).
Here is our brother, Jesus—declaring to be resembling that which was created in God’s image. Jesus is in agreement with John: “If anyone says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20)
Our brother, Jesus, was treated scornfully and got killed, yet being exactly that which resembled the Creator of humanity? What about that which sums up the Law and the Prophets? “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
I cannot think of any other simpler way of putting this across? Certainly, one does not need a PhD to understand such a simple principle? Except that this principle cannot be applied without allowing the other person to be him/herself. The only puzzling question is why people refuse to appreciate this statement as simple as it is provided in these verses?
This is like using a search-light in broad daylight. Perhaps the nearest English word to describe the principle of treating the other person as one would like to be treated is ‘empathy’. The simplified meaning of empathy is understanding the other person from His point of view, than from your point of view. See [Jesus is the unifier of Christians and humanity].
The only reason why it cannot be possible for Scholars to appreciate or entertain being lectured towards understanding this is that it is too simple. I suppose, scholars cannot even appreciate Scriptures like the one penned by the apostle Paul as follows:
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) (ESV).
You have to understand human nature to appreciate why it is not possible to understand the things of God, for the educated people. This can only be possible for those accepting being foolish. And not for those desiring to maintain their dignity. Such people cannot even read two paragraphs of the material such as this one. They can never do so, even if they were to be compelled with a gun.
But God did not leave humanity without the solution to reconnect with Him—as the Creator of humanity. This is where the Son of Man is brought in the picture. The greatest masterpiece in resolving this puzzle lies in Jesus, being the Son of Man and the Son of God at the same time.
The answer in resolving this puzzle is in the fact that humanity is cast in being Sons of Man and Sons of God at the same time. Adam left the legacy of humanity being sons of Man, leaving them mysteriously unaware of them being also the Sons of God. Yet this implies acknowledging that God is the source, from where humanity originated.
Our brother, Jesus, came as second Adam—taking up the role of enabling humanity to re-establish their identity—having been created in God’s image. The process of creating Man in God’s image establishes humanity as the children of God. But, as long as humanity remains unconnected with their Creator, their claim of son-ship to God remains invalid. This is where Jesus comes to picture.
In my writings I have castigated scholars, or Theologians for having misdirected people into believing that Jesus is the second God in the order of Trinity. What remains clear is that, among Scholars, no-one would be willing to listen to a none-scholar declaring what has not been understood by renowned Scholars.
This is not surprising. Jesus and the disciples were denounced for similar reasons. Humanity is stuck on clear violation of what John said: “If anyone says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).
Such people may not necessarily agree with anyone insisting that the only reason these people refuse to listen to non-Scholars is hatred of non-Scholars. But the only reason one would not have time to listen to a person is hatred of that person. We have time for the people we love and we do not have time for the people we hate. This is just as simple as that. See [Simplified Analysis to eradicate Trinitarian confusion]
What is advocated here cannot be as simple as some people think. Jesus likened such a person to one who forsakes his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life (Luke 14:25-33).
Interestingly, humanity engages in intensive studies—seeking to establish the fact that God is super human. But failing to appreciate that humanity was created in God’s image. Using personal profiles—showing who needs to be adulated and who needs to be despised—humanity has all along missed the knowledge of who their Creator is. See [Revealing the Christ in Jesus].
“And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 22:35-40) (ESV).
The key to understand is in: “This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” (Verse 39). Bear in mind that when John declared that it is not possible to love God, if one cannot love his/her neighbour (1 John 4:20) he was stating a maxim.
The reflection of loving God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, is not in some other fanciful ways of imagination. That can only be reflected in how you love your neighbour as yourself.
Why yourself? Except for the insane people who take their own lives by committing suicide, no-body can hate him/herself to the point of harming him/herself. Any normal person works hard to feed and clothe him/herself, because he/she loves him/herself.
Even thieves are in the business of robbing people, because they love themselves. But certainly, it wouldn’t be possible to steal from other people, if they loved those people as themselves. Fulfilling the Golden rule would require them to apply the principle of altruism, rather than self-centredness.
The thieves would have to reverse their passion for self-centredness towards altruism, which implies concern for other fellow human beings. They would stop stealing, in view of the fact that doing so, deprives their fellowmen, whom they would love as themselves.
Now picture the person engaging in studies for self-improvement. The intention could be two-fold: The reason could either be so that other people benefit from one’s services (altruism). Or that the person benefits, due to good remuneration through their professional services (Self-centredness).
While considered normal, the latter implies that the person is in the same wavelength as criminals. Wars are engaged in because of self-centredness. Witchcraft is practiced because of self-centredness. Drug-peddling is due to self-centredness. Sexual immorality is due self-centredness. See [Value is in positive violation of Law of Exchange]
Anything that can be considered as not right, in one’s relationship with his/her fellowmen is due to self-centredness. However, none of these would be applicable, if altruism was to be practiced. When everyone seeks to protect his fellow man, everyone lives safely.
The only reason why altruism is not applicable, even among dedicated Christians is that each of them thinks in terms of what benefits them as individuals. In the Western world such behaviour is dignified as individual right for privacy.
However, it was not so at the beginning. There is no privacy for God. There ought not to be anything private for those created in God’s image. If the purpose of living in this world does not answer the question: “In all my toiling on this planet were other people glad that I lived?” that life is empty.
This is just the same as coining the question as follows: “In all my toiling on this planet was I ever happy that I lived?” Such people could be identified as Christians or not Christians, but they obviously do not identify with the person who applies the golden rule of: Loving their neighbour as themselves.
These things are possible to understand when appreciating what happened at the beginning. The purpose of Jesus was simply designed to lead humanity towards appreciating their having been created in God’s image. Jesus didn’t come so that humanity might appreciate Him being a component of the Trinity. But that humanity might appreciate God being the Father of humanity.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99