*Man and Woman in God’s Image (Genesis 1:26-27)*
!!!!!! Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church, July 29, 2007
The secular world portrays man in the long line of animals, a supposed common ancestor of monkeys and men that developed from lower hominids to homo sapiens by naturalism over millions of years of struggle and survival of the fittest until finally the brains and languages developed beyond grunts into what we are today.
Evolution portrays mankind in the likeness of animals, but God’s Word presents man in the likeness of God by special creation.
The two views can never be reconciled and could never be more different.
It makes all the difference in the world in terms or morality and how you live whether you believe we are basically a glorified gorilla, or if you believe you’re in the image of a personal, loving but Holy, Creator God you’re accountable to, who hates sin and who created you with purpose, for His glory.
There’s big technical and scientific terms used, but evolution is essentially saying that over millions of years, molecules eventually evolved into me and you, protoplasm eventually developed higher life forms including people, life developed from a primordial slime or goo to creatures that developed into all the animals in the zoo then the highest animals (you).
From start to finish it is molecules to men, protoplasm to persons, or going from the goo to the zoo to you (encouraging?)
If you see frog turn to a prince rapidly, every child knows that’s a fairy tale or fiction story, but if you slow it down millions of years in between, most call that science.
In reality, it’s science fiction.
It’s only the Bible that gives man true dignity, worth and purpose.
And this passage has proved to be such an important basis for this and all of life.
*1.* *Divine Persons* – “Let us make man” (last week)
Divine Pattern* – “in our image, in our likeness”
Divine Purpose* – “let them have dominion” (to be image-bearers on earth, i.e., God’s representative and reflection of His glory)
- The grammar of this phrase indicates /purpose /(NET Bible Notes)
*DIVINE PATTERN – “in our image, in our likeness”*
Last week it took us quite awhile to get through the phrase “let us make man” as there is so much meaning and significance and theological truth behind those first four words in this verse.
The next three words “in our image” are even more so - there is more literature written on the image of God than just about any other phrase in Genesis, and I literally have probably read 100-200 pages worth of material on what different commentators and theologians have written about what the image of God is.
Verse 26 is so rich and full of depth and each phrase is pregnant with meaning and opens up a panorama of scriptural truth as well as a pandora’s box of interpretive challenges.
The text clearly asserts that we are made in God’s image, but it does not clearly define exactly what that is, which is part of why there is so much written on this.
First, some general observations:
- I use the word “divine pattern” for this point because the word “likeness” actually means “pattern” (Vine’s Dictionary) and the Hebrew preposition before it makes a stronger “close connexion with something … following some kind of pattern … or in a comparison, as in Gn 1:26”
- Mankind is made in the image, likeness, or pattern of God.
We are like God in some way, which we’ll try and understand more a little later what that is
- The words “image” and “likeness” are not two separate or unrelated things, but both complement each other and communicate the same idea in strong terms
o There is no “and” between image and likeness in the Hebrew, it’s all one phrase in the original
o Verse 27 summarizes as just saying we’re made in the image of God after verse 26 says “in our image, according to our likeness” – it is accurate to sum that up as simply being made in the image of God
o 5:1 summarizes the other way as being made “in the likeness of God” and then 5:3 uses the two terms in reverse order “in his own likeness, according to his image” as meaning the same thing
o The older Lutheran theologians were correct in stating that the two words are synonymous, and are merely combined to add intensity to the thought: “an image which is like Us” (/Luther/)
The word “man” (/adam/) in v. 26 is collective, it refers to mankind:
- Because verse 26b says “let /them /rule ~/ have dominion”
- Verse 27 clearly states man includes both male and female, both are equally in the image of God when “He created /them/”
- We also see this in later verses
Genesis 5:1-3 (NASB95) \\ 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam.
In the day when God created *man*, He made him in the likeness of God.
\\ 2 He created *them* male and female, and He blessed them and *named them Man [/adam/]* /in/ the day when they were created.
\\ 3 When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son *in his own likeness, according to his image*, and named him Seth.
Notice a couple other things about this text.
- Verse 2 refers to “them” and again clarifies that man includes male and female and both are blessed
- At the end of the verse God names both of them Man (/adam/).
Feminists may not like the word “man” being used generically, or the idea that in marriage both man and woman are given the name of the man, but they really should not argue against God and His Word because it is the Bible alone of all ancient literature that gives true worth and dignity and value to women.
Women are equally in God’s image, but not identical in their role as we’ll see later.
Part of why I think some feminists are so frustrated is because they are outside of the roles God intended them
!!!!!! Male and female are created equal yet different
It’s been well said: ‘Men are not women, and women are not men.
One of the saddest signs of our culture’s depravity is the amount and the degree of gender confusion today.
It is vain to wonder if men or women are superior to the other.
A man is absolutely superior at being a man.
A woman is absolutely superior at being a woman.
But when a man tries to be a woman or a woman tries to be a man, you have something inferior.’
- The likeness and image was not limited to Adam and Eve, as verse 3 says, it was passed down to their son
- Interestingly, the genealogy in Luke 3 traces back to creation and ends with “Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (3:38)
- Of course, Luke’s gospel shows that Jesus is /the Son of God /in fullest sense – N.T. also shows He’s the full image
*What the Image of God does NOT mean (3 things)*
Does not mean we are divine
We are still creatures and there is always a creature-Creator distinction, there’s always a gap between man and his Maker.
We are like God more than the animals, but there is always a vast distance between God and man.
Only Jesus Christ is the /express /image of God’s person as Hebrews 1:3 says, and only He can claim the exact same nature as His Father (a claim that in John 5:18 made the Jews want to stone Him).
This is precisely the area where cults and false religions go astray, in understanding Christ’s relation to God and mankind’s relation to God.
Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy urges that [God’s image in Genesis 1:26] means that “man and woman—as coexistent and eternal with God—forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God” (Eddy, 516).
*CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION:* Eddy completely misunderstands this passage of Scripture.
Several mistakes will be briefly noted.
It is contrary to the meaning of the words “image” and “likeness” to insist that humankind is like God in all respects.
Even an “image” in this context is not the same as the original, as is clear from the use of this same Hebrew word (/tzehlem/) of an idol (e.g., Num.
33:52; 2 Chron.
7:20) as only a /representation/ of the god, not the god itself.
The word /create/ reveals that the text is not speaking of something that is eternal but of something that came to be.
This word /(bara)/ is never used in the Old Testament of something that is eternal.
Indeed, in this context it means something that is brought into being.
The same is true of the New Testament use of the word for “create” (cf.
Col. 1:15–16; Rev. 4:11).
Also, it is a fallacy to assume, as Eddy does, that because we are like God, God must be like us.
For example, she speaks of God as … (“Father-Mother God”).
This is known in logic as an /illicit conversion./
God is not like us! Remember the great indictment in Psalm 50:21 is when God rebukes the Israelites who had a low view of Him by saying “you thought I was just like you”
It’s in chapter 3 that Satan will tempt Eve with a desire to become like God beyond the bounds God had set for our closeness with Him.
To try and bring ourselves up to be God seems to be the original sin of Lucifer, and also a great temptation for man to either exalt ourselves to God’s place or to bring God down to our level
It also does not mean PHYSICAL IMAGE
Ray Stedman writes that
The Mormons (among others) teach that the image of God is the physical body of man; that is what is made after the image of God.
They base this upon certain anthropomorphic expressions in the Scripture, those expressions which seem to impute human features to God, e.g., the eyes of God, the fingers of God, the hands of God, etc.
The Mormons take these literally and say they prove that God does indeed have a body like our body.
This is fundamental to the teachings of the Mormon faith.
They fail to see that they are really turning the whole issue around and saying that it is God who is made in the image of man.
If, in this sense, man is in the image of God, then it is also true that apes and monkeys are made in the image of God, because bodily they look very much like us.
The cults often go astray on the first page of the Bible.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, deny that there was a personal Spirit of God in verse 2, but instead they see it as some impersonal force or wind moving over the waters.
Cults would also deny what we saw last week about the Trinity (“Let us make man in our image”)
Mormons argue that, because humans were created with a body of flesh and bones, God the Father must have a physical body, since humanity was created in God’s image (Smith, 1975, 1:3).
*CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION:* A fundamental interpretive principle is that Scripture interprets Scripture.
When other Scriptures about God’s nature are consulted, the Mormon understanding of Genesis 1:26–27 becomes impossible.
John 4:24 indicates that God is spirit.
Luke 24:39 tells us that a spirit does not have flesh and bones.
Conclusion: Since God is spirit, he does not have flesh and bones.
Moreover, contrary to Mormonism, God is not (and never has been) a man (Num.