Who is the “I AM,” although assumed to be what God is Biblically known to be identified as? Ordinary people seek to deify the “I AM” identity. Yet refusing to accept that they, themselves, were created in God’s image. In his conversation with God, before accepting his assignment, Moses sought to know who God was:
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”(Exodus 3:13-14 NIV).
It is practically imprudent to assume the identity of God as something else, other than one’s own identity. If anyone wants to perceive God, where else can that person go, except beholding his own identity? Nevertheless, that identity is revealed by Jesus Christ, the author of our salvation.
The purpose of the physical universe is to suppress humans, causing them to succumb and lose hope. Humans are defeated, as long as succumbing to the things of this world. Humans need to appreciate that the physical universe is sustained by certain laws, known to be spiritually inapplicable. Humans are not of the physical universe, due to simple reason that, unlike other species, they were specially created.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27 NIV).
It boggles the mind, when observing that this Scripture is misunderstood, even by the most renowned Theologians of this world. God is not of this world. Mankind, created in God’s image cannot be of this world. The more humans identify themselves as being of this world, the more confused they become.
Having been created in God’s image, how did humans become entangled with the physical universe? The answer is given in the narrative of the man called Adam. Out of confusion, humanity has always conflated Adam with humanity created in Genesis 1:26-27. Adam is of this world, comprised in the physical universe.
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being”(Genesis 2:7 NIV).
It takes only those with analytical minds to realize that the one formed from the dust of the ground cannot be the same as the one created in God’s image. As not of this world, the one created in God’s image cannot be likened to the dust of the ground. Adam became a living soul, after God breathed into his nostrils, the breath of life.
God is not a living soul, as identified in the physical universe. God is Spirit, whose nature is eternal life. What is termed a living soul, shares the physical universe as manifested in the animalistic kingdom. A dog, or any other animal, is alive as long as able to be what it was created to be.
The life of a dog is determined by its longevity, as prescribed in the physical universe. Unfortunately, as observed, the physical universe is dissimilar to what is prescribed in the spiritual universe. Hence, the ignorance of humanity has been embraced in this misunderstanding.
All this is caused by conflating the creation in Genesis 1:26 with the formation of Adam in Genesis 2:7. The two are distinctly different. The creation, in God’s image, as pronounced in Genesis 1:26, is Spiritual. Yet the formation in Genesis 2:7 is not necessarily a product of creation, but a product of the dust of the ground.
What is formed of the dust is determined by the longevity, or the organism’s life-span. Apparently, the assumption that an organism with the life-span is God’s image can be labeled as stupidity. Without the consideration of clear distinction, humanity has fallen flat, with the apparent insurmountable challenges. Adam is of this world, and not likened to God, who is not of this world.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man(1 Corinthians 15:44-49 NIV).
Of the two personalities, Adam and Jesus (described as the last Adam), who portrays God’s image? The Trinitarian believers would obviously insist that Adam is the one representing the man, created in God’s image. This arises from conflating the man’s creation in Genesis 1:26 with the formation of Adam in Genesis 2:7.
Trinitarians believe that Jesus is a Creator, even though Jesus declared being the Son of the living God. They insist on separating humanity from Jesus, in order to ensure that humanity does not take advantage of Christ’s teachings, for deliverance. This is true, but very sad, when considering that Christianity comprises its majority from Trinitarian believers.
The purpose of Jesus is to redeem the fallen humanity. When claiming to be the way, the truth and the life, Jesus desires that humanity should look to Him, as representing what was created in God’s image. It is extremely unnecessary to extricate Jesus from humanity, making Him an object of worship. See [The Prodigal son parable and the mystery of Men].
Humans love invalidating their fellow humans, more than they ought to validate their fellow humans. Little do they know that by so doing, they would, actually, be invalidating God? Jesus was peculiar, but representing humanity, in humanity’s state of being God’s image. In one of His heated arguments with the Jews, Jesus highlighted the “I AM.”
“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds (John 8:57-59 NIV).
The most important component in human relations is understanding. Blindly condemning those Jews for treating Jesus in that manner can be unfair. Those were the people who, actually, did not even know the meaning of God’s image.
Recently, I discovered that it is only the ignorant people who easily become emotional, when defending their viewpoints. The most dangerous thing, in this life, is to argue with an ignorant person. I suppose I perfectly understand the predicament that Jesus experienced.
As far as those Jews were concerned, Jesus was less than fifty years old. Their viewpoint was that of the physical universe. However, Jesus was speaking from the viewpoint of being created in God’s image, whose existence is for eternity. Such creation existed before Adam.
Those Jews got so emotional that they could not tolerate further explanations from Jesus. Generally, the truly educated people do not become emotional. But would seek clarification on such matters. The uneducated people become emotional, to cover their ignorance. Instead of seeking clarification from Jesus, those Jews sought to stone Him!
Education ought to be given credit, when due. The semblance of dignity in this world comes from the educated people, as commonly willing to listen. When encountering the similarly uneducated people, the early apostles had to be rescued by one of the most renowned scholars of that time:
But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:34-39 NIV).
Gamaliel presented a brilliant idea, not common, with the uneducated people. It is strange, though, that there is no record of Gamaliel ever converting to Christianity? This confirms what Jesus said to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17 NIV).
Those feeling emotional about Jesus’s declarations, ought to have cooled down. Jesus was speaking from the viewpoint of God’s image, existing, even before Adam’s formation. Jesus, Himself, was the actual testimony of the reality of God’s image.
The business of redeeming humanity is complicated by human’s failure to appreciate having been created in God’s image. Humans are comfortable in their degraded condition. They resist going back to their original identity. Genesis 1:26 does not exist in their behavioral reality.
Jesus brought the light, approximately two thousand years ago. But the resistance of Godliness is, apparently, constant. The educational system of this world seems incapacitated to provide the light, as introduced by Jesus. This enigma confirms a hidden secret, as hinted by Jesus (Matthew 16:20).
Secretive, though, this might indeed appear to be, I recently discovered that the riddle is embroiled in pride, more than any other condition. God’s truth is not complicated. It can be understood by the most uneducated of this world, as confirmed in several Scriptures.
“Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:9-10 NIV).
There doesn’t appear to be any secrecy in humility? The above Scripture is clear in that God requires humility, for one to be lifted up? We live in a world that puts significance in valueless things. The reversal of pride is considered most expensive. There is no truth in that the proud people do not desire to be in God’s Kingdom.
They earnestly desire to be in God’s Kingdom, probably, more than the most humble of this world. If possible, proud people could actually bribe, to be in God’s Kingdom. This is confirmed in the story of that rich young man, who approached Jesus, describing Him as a good Master, (Matthew 19:16).
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31 NIV).
Deliverance requires willingness to change, without which, it is impossible to attain salvation. God’s Kingdom, is not complicated, except as blocked by pride, as embraced by most people in this world. Proud people can sacrifice their own lives, for the sake of vanity, though leading to destruction.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”(Romans 12:1-2 NIV).
What is most depressing is observing people who are extremely zealous about God, yet unwilling to accept these principles. The acceptance of God’s Kingdom is a matter of choice, when fully aware of what eternal life entails. Arrogance is premised on pride, rather than God’s will. Salvation is based on humility, rather than pride.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the 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 relief to those having witnessed the 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