The Image of God

In-the-Image-of-God_T_NV

https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By: William J Jackson

“God created mankind in his own image”, it almost sounds presumptuous; yet Genesis 1:26-27 tells us it’s true.  Some faiths take this way out of proportion. For example, the New Age Religion considers themselves to be gods1. It’s quite possible that this might have been the line Adam and Eve crossed, you know, wanting to be God (Genesis 3:5). Since we know how eating the forbidden fruit turned out – (Genesis 3), we need to have a clear understanding of what “…in the image of God…”(Genesis 1:27) truly means.

If we look in the Strong’s Concordance, we see the Hebrew word for image is “tselem”2, which also means likeness. This word derived from the word “tzel,” that means “shadow” or “reflection.”3. So we can discern from this, that the word “tselem” does not imply that we are “exact” copies of God, therefore; making us also a god.  Another way to state this point is to say we can see God’s reflection in us, much like we can see our reflection in our children.

You might also say that God has our emotions, or said more accurately, we reflect God’s emotions.  This is hard to get our brain around because many of us depict God as a stoic entity beyond the realm of sensations.  Nonetheless scripture tells us that God has feelings; Anger (Deuteronomy 7:4, 1 Kings 11:9–10, Psalm 7:11, Ezekiel 25:17), Love (Deuteronomy 7:9, Zephaniah 3:17, Proverbs 8:17), Hate (Proverbs 6:16, 8:13, Psalm 11:5), Sadness (Genesis 6:5-6, Ezekiel 18:23, 31-32), Jealous (Exodus 20:5, 34:14, Deuteronomy 4:24, Nahum 1:2)…etc. So in the category of emotions how are we different than the Master? I think the better point is, that we shouldn’t be different, if we’re truly “reflecting” our Creator.

Simple, God is Holy and divine and has absolute control of His faculty, to the point of perfection (Exodus 34:6-7, Numbers 14:18, Jonah 4:2), we don’t.  A good analogy that displays God’s reflection in us (the imperfect man or woman), would be a comparison between us and a 5 year old child.  Granted we share the same emotions, but there is a difference, in maturity.  If we are a good man or woman and the child grows up “striving” to be like us, they should become a good adult; but if they go the opposite direction in life they may not be like us.  Nonetheless, they will still reflect human emotions; but it’s of course a matter of choice.

The lesson here is that God wants us to mature in the right direction, His direction.  As we see when God counseled Cain on his anger.  God said “…if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7). We are to rule over our behavior so we can shine “the Image of God” rather than the image of sin that may (or) is crouching at our door.  This is why He has given us His scriptures.  It’s His way of giving us His expectations, much like how we train our children.

Conclusion:

We are the image of God, in the same way our image is reflected by a mirror or shadowed by the afternoon sun.  That being said, we are certainly not a carbon copy of God, thus no, we are not a god.  Yes, He has given us the tools for success; but without Him we will not be successful.  It takes a blueprint, a master plan, His written word. Those that do not follow God, are following their own rules. They are placing themselves on a dangerous path that can lead them to being their own god. For those that peruse His truths, Jeremiah 29:11 sums it up nicely by saying “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

References:

(1) By Marilyn Adamson, Connecting with the Divine, The major world religions and their beliefs about God. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and New Age…, startingwithGod.com

(2) Lexicon: Strong’s H6754 – tselem, Blue Letter Bible

(3) By Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer, (1999) “In God’s Image”, Creation of Man, Project Genesis, Inc.

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4 thoughts on “The Image of God

  1. I’d like to give my perspective based on your format.

    I have many interests and try many different things to exercise my creative muscle, enjoy the arts and expand my understanding of the world. One of the things I love to do is create artwork. I do this via digital media, with a graphics tablet and a stylus, the screen in front of me is my canvas.

    I usually create 1-2 pictures a week and around 50% of the things I create are set to a theme, usually biblical. The other 50% are a little different in that they represent a thought process or internal argument/idea that I’m chewing over. In short they are images of my soul wrestling. They are me.

    When I read Gen 1:26-27 I see the creation of man and I think about the events that happened around that creation. Adam plucked from his starting point is dropped into Eden to tend it. Adam is to work. What does this tell us? Well, that Adam is able to think and to help things to grow.. (I’m starting small here). We know that the Creator is the Ultimate ‘Thinker’ and is the CAUSE of growth.. and death.

    Adam, needs help so the Eternal creates before Adam one of each of the animals of creation. Adam is tasked with naming each one. We now know that Adam not only understands biology, language and how to associate names with objects but also that he has the power to CREATE, at least in the sense of names.

    The Genesis story is FULL of creation. From the beginnings of time and space, to the filling of the space with earth, the earth with animals and then, later, even the ‘creation’ of ‘creative’ speech from both the snake and Adam and Eve.

    Eve goes on to create life. Adam to create food. They both create a home and a family.

    When I read that ‘God created mankind in his own image’ I’m compelled to see that ‘image’ as follows.

    ‘Just a God creates, so does the mankind He created’

    Without our God given ability to create, to express our emotion, needs and wants via the lens of ‘expanded understanding’ we would all still be up to our ankles in mud wondering where we went wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thank you for sharing Jason. Yes, I do think that our lives replicate His; but on a much greater dumbed down and smaller scale. I’m like you, in that I believe that He definitely gave us all the desire to create and that He made us to create. Also, without this creative desire, as you said, we would just exist… and who wants that. Thanks for your comments.

      Like

  2. Shalom: Is this thought a possibility? The word “image” is defined as ” vision, picture, potential”. When each individual was created, did the Creator have a vision of the person in his/her earthly life.? Created them with the talents, abilities, appearance, tests and trials etc. Is this concept way out or probable?
    appreciate your opinion, asked others but no response yet.
    May I ask- should 4-lettered Name be used by Noahides and Christians? Would this be vain usage of Holy Name? Have no Rabbi near by.
    Thank you for response, yea or nay?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your response. I do think HaShem had certain designs for us before we were born, Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

      I use the 4 letters out of respect, and unless I’ve missed something in our Creators written word to us, I’ve not read where using His name isn’t permittable by all.

      Personally, I don’t think that you need a rabbi to grow or learn to find your answers to your questions. Torah/Tanakh holds all answers. It’s just a matter of studying. You’re welcome to come join our online community at: https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

      Thank you for your questions, I look forward to your reply.

      Like

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