A human being was created in the image of God. However, the currently known traits of humanity are the opposite of what is attributed to Godly image. The greatest impediment of human survival emanates from human beings themselves. Their behaviour, apparently, is the opposite of what can be said to be God’s image. Could that therefore imply that there is falsehood in the statement that Human beings were created in the image of God?
Let us explore the causes of negative behaviour, existent with humanity, today. The Bible is clear in stating that a human being was created in God’s image. (Gen 1:26-27). But what is God’s image? God is Spirit and is not associated with the flesh that human beings are currently identified with (John 4:24). Nevertheless, the author of grace, Jesus Christ, is the only known express image of God (2 Cor. 4:4b, Col. 1:15 and Heb. 1:3). Let us therefore be clear in that the created man in Gen 1:26 are not Adam and Eve, necessarily.
To fully understand what makes it difficult to appreciate the creation of man in God’s image, we have to first clear the meaning of creation, which implies producing something out of nothing. This ability is what makes God to be God. No human being can ever create anything.
But human beings can use their imaginations to manipulate whatever exists in the material universe, to produce what would be said to be new, to those observing such a thing for the first time. Such geniuses would not have created anything, having used whatever would be existent in the material universe to form that new object, or idea.
Adam was formed, not created (Gen. 2:7). The man formed of the dust is a shadow of what was created in God’s image. This is why God says to Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I ordained you a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5).
Jeremiah was not conscious of his existence, at the time when God appointed him a prophet to the nations. But God knew Jeremiah, even though He had not yet formed Jeremiah in his mother’s womb. What God knew, before the development of the foetus of what would later become Jeremiah, is what had been created in God’s image. Let us bear in mind that the nations to which Jeremiah would be a prophet, comprised human beings, genetically evolving from Adam, of the dust of the ground.
In Jeremiah, God is sending a prophet, who would enlighten nations on the existence of a Creator, desiring to relate with them, because they were created in His image. The nations are a product of the dust of the ground. They are physical. But God, in whose image they were created, is Spirit. Paul clarifies this point:
“As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Cor 15:48-50 NIV)
Jesus Christ is the redeemer. He brings life back to that which had fallen out of grace, due to sin. The man formed of the dust had been vulnerable, as not having been in the stature of God’s image, which is Spirit. In their physical stature, the physical beings could not resist the satanic deception at the Garden of Eden. This is clearly documented in the narration given in Genesis 3.
There is only one appealing reason for God to have formed Adam, yet having originally created him in God’s image. And that is the development of character. All human beings of Adamic genealogy have scarcity of character, due to physical limitations. It is only the redemptive processes of Jesus that lead the same man to choose Godly characteristics. This is why God does not manipulate humanity to obey Him, but those who choose to obey Him.
Character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. This comes about through the value of self-determination. Our physical nature exposes us to the freedom of choice. Accessing God’s Kingdom is by free choice, just as the inability to access God’s Kingdom is by free choice. Survival, therefore, becomes a matter of responsibility.
The value of humanity is displayed in that God sent His only begotten son, to redeem humanity from the shackles of sinful nature. Jesus came specifically for humanity and not for any other created species. Sadly, there are those who, due to finding comfort in the earthly condition, would rather perish in the earthly conditions, than taking advantage of redemptive processes of Christ.
What gives comfort in earthly conditions is pride and issues associated with sensual pleasures. The Heavenly price implies sacrificing such things and copying the life of Jesus in order to, once again, readopt the Godly image of which one was created. This would not have been possible without the sacrificial undertaking by Jesus Christ. We owe gratitude to God for this marvellous grace.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, which lays down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into becoming a model to other countries 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 the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social instability. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabwean readers should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.