Man is created in God’s image!

“In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created” (Genesis 5:1b, 2).

Man, in the world view of the Bible, has an extremely exalted position. He is created in God’s image! He is a child of God! Adam is called “the son of God” (Luke 3:38).

The creation of man in God’s image does not refer to his physical characteristics because “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). God is “the Father of spirits” (Hebrews 12:9). Man was therefore created in the likeness of God spiritually.

This enables man to rule over and care for God’s creation: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26-28).

As a part of the universe, man is extremely small. In God’s plan, however, man has an exalted position. David is amazed by this: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen - even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas” (Psalm 8:3-8).

Man’s body is composed of matter; his spirit is from God. “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

The essence of man comes from God before birth. David wrote: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16).

God can know us even before we are conceived! God said to Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

The apostle Paul was set apart by God from his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15).

According to the Bible, man consists of body, soul and spirit. In the resurrection of the righteous, all three are preserved (with an incorruptible body of course): “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).


A wrong view of man can have terrible consequences.

In the worldview of evolution theory, man is the descendant of an amoeba.

Both Communism and National Socialism were applications of the evolutionary theory that progress is the result of the destruction of the weak by the strong, the survival of the fittest1.

In 1912 Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili changed his name to Stalin, meaning ‘man of steel’. Joseph Stalin said: “Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.” Once when he signed the death sentence of 40,000 of his political opponents, he commented to a colleague: “There is nothing sweeter on this earth than to choose one’s victims, to make one’s plans minutely, to slake an implacable vengeance and then go to bed and sleep peacefully.” During his reign, Stalin killed at least nine million of his own countrymen because they were real or suspected political opponents.

In a speech in 1928, Adolf Hitler said: “Struggle is the father of all things. It is not by humanitarian principles that man lives or is able to preserve himself above the animal world, but solely by means of the most brutal struggle.” Hitler was responsible for murdering 14 million people whom he considered “inferior,” including Jews, Poles, Slavs and Gypsies. He also murdered disabled people because he regarded them as unfit for survival.

These are fruits of evolution theory.

Thankfully most people who believe in evolution do not commit or approve of such atrocities. They have a God-given sense of right and wrong whether they believe in God or not! Evolution theory itself, however, offers no basis for a concept of right and wrong, let alone for a standard of right and wrong.


Because man is created in God’s image, human life is sacred.

God says: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6).

Man, created in God’s image, is accountable to God and to his fellow man for murder.

We ought to treat others with the utmost respect. Every person we see has been made in God’s image!

In an admonition to control the tongue, James says: “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. ... My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:9, 10b).

The view of man as created in God’s image and likeness is an encouragement to sanctification and holiness. “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy”’” (Leviticus 19:1, 2). “For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). “As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15, 16).


How can man be bad when he is made in God’s image?

Solomon explains: “Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

The Bible describes man as he is. Both the good and the bad are told honestly. When reading the Bible, one often thinks: “Yes, indeed, that is how we are!”

According to the Biblical view of man, God has given man an independent personality and a right of choice. Man is not a robot. He may choose to serve God or to rebel against Him. The first two people were disobedient to God (Genesis 3). And since then: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).


Why did God not make man incapable of doing wrong?

This question is often asked by unbelievers.

Love can exist only where there is choice. A robot cannot love anyone. God wants children who decide to love Him, not mechanical robots. The love of my children is precious to me because it is of their own volition.

Some children choose not to love their parents. That is sad but that is the risk of being a parent and God took that risk with man. God complained of Israel: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me” (Isaiah 1:2).

Paul dealt with this question as follows: “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:20-24). The men and women of faith who love and serve God, accomplish God’s purpose for mankind even if they are few in number.

In another lecture, Lord willing, we will discuss man’s sin and God’s offer of redemption, an important aspect of the Biblical view of man. Man, who has tarnished God’s image within himself, is called to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, sent to save mankind (Romans 8:29).


How does the Bible view man?

Man is created in God’s image. His body is made of matter but his spirit is from God. Man consists of body, soul and spirit. Because man is created in God’s image, human life is sacred.

Applications of evolution’s materialistic view of man have resulted in the death of millions of people in recent history.

According to the Bible, man did not descend from an amoeba. Man is God’s offspring: “For in Him we live and move and have our being... For we are also His offspring” (Acts 17:28, 29).

What a great privilege that we are created in the image of God! Amen.

RoyDavison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.

Endnote

1 In the Communist theory of dialectical materialism, the proletariat (worker class) was viewed as a superior class whose responsibility it was to destroy the decadent bourgeoisie (the property-owning class). Dialectical materialism was the supposed mechanism of evolution that was viewed as also applying to political systems. Communism was aggressively atheistic.
National Socialism viewed the Aryan race as the superior race whose calling it was to conquer, rule and displace “inferior” races. The ideology was influenced by Nietzsche who wrote that suppression of the weak would accelerate evolution and result in an Übermensch (superior race). Nietzsche was not anti-Semitic, however.
Although some have tried to use Hitler’s compromises with, and manipulation of, organized religion as proof that he was a “Christian,” the Nazi propaganda campaign to portray Jesus as an Aryan with blond hair and blue eyes, betrays the invalidity of the attempt. In 1963 this author found a tract in Dutch from the war period that pictured Jesus with blue eyes and blond hair, and portrayed Him as an enemy of Jews and Judaism.