Friday, February 6, 2009

Created in the Image of God

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Genesis 1:27)

What does this mean, that we were created in the image of God? What color is his skin? Is his face a composite of all humans? The Bible uses many anthropomorphisms or human characteristics to describe God and his actions, as the hand of God, or his eye. How big are his hands?

We are told that he has the power to be everywhere at once, and to keep the universe together. A physical body like ours does not have such capabilities. With only 2 hands, just 3 basketballs become a jugling act. How can God juggle the planets, not to mention the moon and all the stars? Paul, speaking of the ressurection of the dead, in I Corinthians 15:35-55, stresses that there are differences between plant materials, between different animal, and between earthly and heavenly things. Our human bodies of flesh and blood cannot exist in God's kingdom. Therefore, Gods body must of necessity be different from ours.

Romans 1:21-25 describes human beings a trying to reduce God to their level. "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."

While anthropomorphisms allow us to describe God and his actions in terms we can understand, we need to be careful that in so doing, we do not loose sight of the fact that he is in many respects very unlike us. We run the risk of defining him as merely a grlorified human. Joseph Smith exemplified this tendency saying, "As God was, we are; as God is, we shall be".

Romans 8:29 tells us, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." He also tells us that Christ is the image of the invisible God in Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3.

Apparently part of that image was lost as a result of sin. II Corinthians 5: 17 tells us "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." At least part of the image is in knowledge according to Colossias 3:9-10, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:", and is renewed at salvation. this should change our actions.

A second part is described in Ephesians 4:22-24. "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Righteousness and true holiness were part of our original state and in recieving Christ are renewed in us. We need to conciously put away the old actions, and live as the new person.

II Corinthians 3:18 informs us that we will be conformed to the image of Christ by getting to know him more fully, from study of his word. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

There is a lot I do not fully understand about the image of God, but if I can be transformed into the image of Christ, who is the express (exact) image of God by getting to know him, it is worth the effort.

No comments:

Post a Comment