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Imago Dei (Part 2)

Creation and Fall  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:25
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We’re working our way through the Creation narrative all the way to the Fall for Lent. Thus far we’ve been through the 6 days of Creation and last week we spent some time recognizing that the first full day experience that our ancestors had of God was the day in which God rested.
We also talked about the fact that the day did not end, there was no “there was evening, and there was morning, the seventh day” description that we have come to expect as we’ve journeyed through this narrative.
As we began our journey we recognized that Chapter 1 of Genesis and Chapter 2 seem to contradict one another. Yet, it is one an the same God and it is the same Creation.
Considering the differences Bonhoeffer wrote:

The first is about the Creator and Lord, the second about the fatherly God who is near at hand.[5] The first is about humankind as the final work of God, with the whole world created before humankind, the second just the other way around: in the beginning humanity is created, and around humankind, for the sake of humankind, God fashions animals and birds and lets the trees grow. The second account tells the story of humankind—the first is about what God does; but the second is about the history of humanity with God—the first is about the work of God with humanity; the second is about the God who is near at hand—the first is about the strange God; the second about God in human form, the God of childlike anthropomorphism—whereas the first is about the deity of God. Yet both are only human words, childlike but humble words, about the same God and the same humankind.

And so we read these words from Genesis:
Genesis 2:5–7 ESV
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
May God bless to our understanding this reading from His Word.
As I said it seems that this is not the same Creation in that the order seems backwards. But as Bonhoeffer points out this is the story of humankind. And one thing that stands out immediately - though not so much in the English is there in vs. 5
Genesis 2:5 ESV
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground,
God is no longer the generic name of God - elohim, but is give a very specific name which here is translated LORD, so now we have LORD God. The word that is there for Lord, is Yahweh - for which there is no agreement as to it’s meaning other than it is the name of God.
At this point God goes from being a deity out there to one that is personable, called by name, relatable. That changes things…it’s not some ethereal God out there, it is the LORD God it is Yahweh Himself.
This having a personal name is true for us as well as Christians. Jesus Christ is the name of God. Speaking of Jesus, the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian church:
Colossians 1:15–16 ESV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Going on in our text we see that this account of the creation is Human centric
Genesis 2:5–7 ESV
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Let’s focus on the creation of the man...
Genesis 2:7 ESV
then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
In everything else in Creation there is no explanation of HOW it was created. Even in the Creation narrative that we explored in Chapter 1, we saw on Day 1:
Genesis 1:3 ESV
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Then on Day 2:
Genesis 1:6 ESV
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
Then on Day 3:
Genesis 1:9 ESV
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.
Genesis 1:11 ESV
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.
Day 4
Genesis 1:14 ESV
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,
Day 5
Genesis 1:20 ESV
And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”
Day 6
Genesis 1:24 ESV
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.
And then we got to the Creation of Humankind, and it was decidedly different.
Genesis 1:26 ESV
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.”
Genesis 1:27 ESV
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God begins with “Let us MAKE man in OUR IMAGE.” That’s different than, “Let there be...” Or “Let the earth bring forth...”
Now in Chapter 2 we have it spoken of similarly:
Genesis 2:7 ESV
then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
God formed - that’s personal, that’s different.
Of dust - there is the sense here of intentional molding shaping, and forming that we don’t get with any other part of Creation. I don’t recall who said it, but God gets his hands dirty with the creation of Humankind.
It’s important also to note that humankind is not formed of the cursed earth that we experience today, this is pre-Fall. This is the blessed earth, that God saw was good. The earth is truly the mother of humankind. This is much clearer in the Hebrew where we see that the word earth or ground is adama אֲדָמָה, and the word for man is adam אָדָם
אֲדָמָה
אָדָם
If we look at the Hebrew forms (reading right to left) you can see the top adama, and the bottom adam are very similar. Okay, that was your Hebrew Lesson for the day. But what we see is that in the Beginning God is intimately involved with humankind. We’re not far away from God, but God is very present, intimately involved.
You and I as humans are intimately tied to the earth as well. We exist from the earth. God forms us of the earth and breathes the breath of life into us.
As a pastor I’ve had the amazing privilege to be with families at the time of the passing of a loved one. One of the things that has always struck me in that moment of transition is that where there was life only a few moments ago, there is now only a body. But the human body differs from all non-human bodies in that it is the form in which the Spirit of God exists on earth. We live only by God’s Spirit that God breathed into us.
In our sinful state we know that this body as it was originally created has been destroyed, but God enters it anew in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to the Corinthians,
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
We are about to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. The body and blood of the Lord’s supper are the new realities of creation promised to fallen Humankind. Because Adam was created as body, Adam is also redeemed as body in Jesus Christ.
Bonhoeffer wrote:
Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3 The Human Being of Earth and Spirit (Gen. 2:7)

Because Adam is created as body, Adam is also redeemed as body [and God comes to Adam as body],[20] in Jesus Christ and in the sacrament.

Humankind created in this way is humankind as the image of God. It is the image of God not in spite of but precisely in its bodily nature. For in their bodily nature human beings are related to the earth and to other bodies; they are there for others and are dependent upon others. In their bodily existence human beings find their brothers and sisters and find the earth. As such creatures human beings of earth and spirit are ‘like’ God, their Creator.[21]

Let’s pray.
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