Indore Baptist Church
October 3, 2021

Man – The Image of God

Passage: Genesis 1:26-28; 9:6; 1Corinthians 11:7-9
Service Type:

Man – The Image of God
I want to use, for my text today, Gen. 1:26-28. “And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” We read also in Gen. 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
This thought is also expressed in the NT. We read in 1Cor. 11:7-9, “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” A teaching that we can gather from this passage, is that essentially, Man came forth from God, and Woman came forth from Man. Not that I am demeaning women or making them any less important than men. But, it must be seen here that Man is the image and glory of God (he was created for God and came forth from God), and woman is the glory of the man (she was created for Man and came forth from Man).
Man is the highest part of the mortal and natural Creation. Man possesses a connection with God that cannot be claimed by any other part of Creation – whether mortal or immortal, whether physical or spiritual. Even the angels in Heaven – who may be sometimes described as the “sons of God,” cannot lay claim to being made in God’s own image. What I want to do today, is to look at some ways in which man is the Image of God.
Man Subdues the Earth and Has Dominion Over it
Let me read again a verse that we have already read. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:28.) There is not any being of the earthly creation over which man does not have dominion. He is set up as the Mortal Ruler of the earth. In this way, He is the Image of God, Who is the Omnipotent and Sovereign Ruler of all Creation. Later, God told Noah and his sons, “…Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are the delivered.” (Gen. 9:1-2.) And the Psalmist echoes this thought when he says of man, “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:” (Ps. 8:5-6.) Whatever glory and honor men may have, is only a reflection of the Glory and Honor that God has. We are an Image of Him, and we have an Image of His Power and Glory and Honor, but we are not Him. And whatever dominion that men may have, it is only because God has given it to us. That Dominion that He has is greater still, and we only reflect His Dominion and Power and Authority and Glory and Honor. “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” (Ps. 115:16.)
Man is a Moral Being
We read in Eccl. 7:29, “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” God did not make man a sinner. He did not create him in a flawed way. In fact, at the conclusion of the Sixth Day of Creation (the day on which man was created), we read these words: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Gen. 1:31.) What I am trying to say, is that God made man upright and very good. In that respect, man is the image of God. Now, we know, of course, that Adam fell from that original state of moral uprightness. However, it was not the fault of God that he fell; nor was it because of an error in creation or a flaw in man. No, it is because man, as a mutable being, chose to rebel against God, the One Who created Him, and the One in Whose image he was made.
Man is a moral being. Man does have the capacity to determine and to know what is right and what is wrong. As human beings we do have a conscience as we are born naturally into this world. Though this conscience may be seared, and may even be beyond use – still it does or has existed within each human being. “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:15-16)
This is different from every other mortal existence – this concept of determining right and wrong, and then dealing with the results – whether positive or negative – within our consciences.
Man is a Sentient, Thinking, and Reasoning Being
Another way in which man is created in the Image of God, is that man is the only part of God’s earthly creation that can be considered a Sentient, Thinking, and Reasoning being. Of course, many will say, “What about the Chimp, or the Dolphin, or the Dog, or some other remarkably intelligent member of the animal kingdom?” These creatures do think, in some respect, but they are not capable of Reason on the level that is required to Dominate the earth and gain Knowledge and Understanding in either mortal or moral matters. Indeed, I must confess that I have met many animals who had more sense than some human beings; but never have I met an animal with the capacity to think and reason on the level of mankind.
In Gen. 2:19-20 we read a further description of some of the things that took place on the Sixth Day of Creation: “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him.” Adam is clearly identified as the Chiefest of the mortal creation that God made during the Six Days of Creation. He is the head of the natural and mortal realm. Previously, God has said unto Adam and Eve, in the passage that is our text today, that Man would have dominion over the animal kingdom, and “… over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” It is Adam who gives the animals their names. It is Adam who is told to subdue the earth. Man has a mission and an obligation to take care of the Earth – we are, indeed, the caretakers or stewards of God’s Natural Creation. This is a post or a position that is not held by any other. Mankind is the only part of God’s Mortal Creation that is endowed with the sentience, the mind, and the capacity for reason that is capable of fulfilling this duty.
On the Sixth Day of Creation we don’t see God bringing the beasts and fowls to any other creature to name them – they are only brough to Adam. And we don’t see God asking the animals what they would like to be called. Instead, we see God bringing every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air to Adam to see what he would call them. No other part of God’s earthly creation could do what Adam did. In fact, we read farther that whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. In this manner, as a thinking, reasoning being, we are in the Image of God. Not that our thoughts can be as high as His (see Isa. 55:9), any more than our ways can be as high as His. Still, we do have thoughts and ways that are of Him, like, Him, and for Him. No other mortal creature can be described in this fashion.
Perhaps, in Form, Man is Like unto Jesus Christ
The Pre-Incarnate appearances of Jesus are all in the Form of a Man. If we can, let’s notice just a few of them. I believe it is the Lord Jesus Christ that appears to Abraham in the plains of Mamre. (See Gen. 18:1-3.) Perhaps it is the Lord Jesus Christ that also wrestled with Jacob at Peniel. (See Gen. 32:24-32.) I believe that it is also the Lord Jesus that appears to Joshua at Jericho. (See Jos. 5:13-15.) Another possible Pre-Incarnate Appearance of the Lord Jesus is found when an Angel of the Lord appears to Gideon. (See Judges 6:11-24.) The last that I will mention is found in the appearance of the Angel of the Lord to the parents of Samson. (See Judges 13:3-22.)
The reason I mention all of these possible Pre-Incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ, is that perhaps His Appearance, in Form, has always been similar to that of Man – and in this way man is created in His Image. Remember, these Pre-Incarnate appearances take place before He ever took upon Him the form of a Servant, and came and abode amongst men.
Man Reflects the Image of God in Salvation
We read in Rom. 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.” Again, we read in Col. 3:9-11, “Lie not one to another, seeing 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: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” Certainly, it is indisputable but that Saved Men reflect the Image of God.
However, that Image will be reflected in a much purer and clearer and better way in the Future. We read in 2Cor. 3:18, “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.” Previously, Paul had told the Corinthians, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earth, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
I suppose that this has some relevance to the Tri-Partite nature of mankind, which is covered under another heading in this sermon. We are made new, when the spirit is quickened within us. We are now Body, Soul, and Spirit – in the image of our Triune God. However, it is also in our likes and dislikes. It is in our loves and our hatreds. It is in our affinity for the things of God rather than an affinity for the things of man. It is in the manner that we are now a much more spiritual being, and the mortal aspect of our character and existence is featured less and less, as we grow closer and closer to our God and Saviour. Surely, before we die, it is the goal of each of those who are saved to Reflect Jesus Chris to the world around. We ought to have the sincere desire to be Ambassadors for Christ – to represent Him to the world around us. As we are further sanctified, we will reveal, more and more, Jesus Christ to the world.
Man has an Immortal Aspect
God is eternal, man is not. God has no beginning and no ending; man does have a beginning. However, as a being created in the image of God, man does have an immortal aspect to his life. Even after this body fails – and we all will die eventually, if Christ does not return in our lifetimes – there is a part of man that will live on. We have the prospect, even the certainty, of an Afterlife. Of course, religions all over the world and all throughout time have applied different meanings to this Afterlife; but the fact that so many utterly diverse religions and societies have incorporated elements of the Afterlife into such religions and societies, is proof that mankind has an inherent awareness of the fact that we are immortal in our make-up. There is something about us that will live on after this body dies. This seems to be a part of our being and a part of our awareness of our existence.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen 2:7) The soul is invisible, but it is alive within each and every one of us. This soul is the part of us that is not physical, and which is not discernible with mortal senses. But the inner parts of us are aware of this existence, and we live our lives in these mortal bodies with the knowledge that the flesh is not all that there is to us.
Some might try to explain or describe the soul of a man, as nothing more than the mind of a man, and the thoughts or emotions that make up our personalities or our human character. However, no matter how you describe it, each human being seems to possess something that transcends what mortality can contain or even understand.

“But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matt 22:31-32) “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.” (Luke 20:37-38)
We also have the account of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Lk. 6:19-31. There we find that the rich man was in Hell, and Lazarus (the poor beggar) was in Abraham’s bosom. There is no thought of termination or of extinction – there is only the prospect of continuation in whatever state they are in. Perhaps the Rich Man sought to alleviate his circumstances somewhat: he wanted a drop of water, and he wanted his conscience eased by warning his brethren. But there is no demonstrated hope or prospect of a change in condition or general condition: Lazarus would live on (immortal) in bliss; the Rich Man would live on (immortal) in Hell and torment.
David described the immortal nature of those who know the Lord this way: “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.” (Ps 22:26) The Lord Jesus Christ mentions “everlasting” and “life” when He describes the fate of the wicked and unbelievers: “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” (Matt 18:8-9) There is an immortal life that is man’s! Each man will one day accept his fate and his place in either the Place of Praise and Peace, or in the Place of Hell Fire and Suffering. Man is an immortal being – he has a beginning, but there is no end to his existence. Each man and woman will live on beyond this mortal life – meaning, we are immortal creatures.
Gen 5:24; 2Sa 12:23; 2Ki 2:11; Neh 9:5; Job 4:17-21; 14:13; Psa 16:10,11; 21:4; 22:26; 23:6; 31:5; 36:9; 37:18,27; 49:7-9,14,15; 73:26; 86:12; 102:4,25-28; 121:8; 133:3; 145:1,2; Pro 14:32; Ecc 3:21; 12:7; Isa 14:9; 25:8; 26:19; 38:18,19; Eze 32:31; Dan 12:2,3; Mat 10:28; 16:26; 19:16,17; 25:46; Mar 10:30; 12:26,27; Luk 9:25; 10:25-28; 20:36-38; Jhn 3:14-16,36; 5:39,40; 6:39,40,44,47,50,51,53,54,58; 10:28; 11:25,26; 14:19; 17:2,3; Act 20:32; 23:8,9; 26:7,8,18; Rom 2:7; 6:22,23; 1Cr 15:12-55; Gal 6:8; Col 1:5,6; 1Th 4:13-18; 5:10; 2Th 1:7-9; 2:16; 1Ti 4:8; 6:12,19; 2Ti 1:9,10; Tts 1:2; 3:7; Hbr 9:15; 10:34; 11:5,10,13-16; 1Pe 1:3-5; 1Jo 2:17,25; 5:13; Jud 1:21; Rev 1:7; 3:4; 22:5

Man is a Tripartite Being
Man possesses a Body, Soul, and Spirit. The rest of Creation does not. In this way, man is in the Image of God, who is also a Trinity. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thess 5:23)
It is a difficult thing, to observe or catalog the differences between the Body, Soul, and Spirit.
A very limited or practical description of the relationship that exists between body, soul, and spirit, could be put this way: You can separate the body from the soul; you can separate the body from the spirit; but you can’t truly separate the soul from the spirit. You can see and discern some of the differences between the soul and the spirit; you can even Scripturally describe the soul and the spirit apart from each other. But we are not capable of truly separating the two, once the spirit is made alive.
When we are born into this world, the soul of our being and essence is alive without the spirit. The spirit is dead. We are born into this world without spiritual life. So the soul was alive without the spirit once. But, when the spirit is quickened and made alive within each of those who are destined unto salvation, that spirit is alive for evermore, and will never again be separated – as a living spirit – from the soul of man.
1 Thess. 5:23
denotes “the breath, the breath of life,” then “the soul,” in its various meanings. The NT uses “may be analyzed approximately as follows: (a) the natural life of the body, Mat 2:20; Luk 12:22; Act 20:10; Rev 8:9; 12:11; cp. Lev 17:11; 2Sa 14:7; Est 8:11; (b) the immaterial, invisible part of man, Mat 10:28; Act 2:27; cp. 1Ki 17:21; (c) the disembodied (or “unclothed” or “naked,” 2Cr 5:3,4) man, Rev 6:9; (d) the seat of personality, Luk 9:24, explained as == “own self,” Luk 9:25; Hbr 6:19; 10:39; cp. Isa 53:10 with 1Ti 2:6; (e) the seat of the sentient element in man, that by which he perceives, reflects, feels, desires, Mat 11:29; Luk 1:46; 2:35; Act 14:2,22; cp. Psa 84:2; 139:14; Isa 26:9; (f) the seat of will and purpose, Mat 22:37; Act 4:32; Eph 6:6; Phl 1:27; Hbr 12:3; cp. Num 21:4; Deu 11:13; (g) the seat of appetite, Rev 18:14; cp. Psa 107:9; Pro 6:30; Isa 5:14 (“desire”); 29:8; (h) persons, individuals, Act 2:41,43; Rom 2:9; Jam 5:20; 1Pe 3:20; 2Pe 2:14; cp. Gen 12:5; 14:21 (“persons”); Lev 4:2 (‘any one’); Eze 27:13; of dead bodies, Num 6:6, lit., “dead soul;” and of animals, Lev 24:18, lit., “soul for soul;” (i) the equivalent of the personal pronoun, used for emphasis and effect:, 1st person, Jhn 10:24 (“us”); Hbr 10:38; cp. Gen 12:13; Num 23:10; Jdg 16:30; Psa 120:2 (“me”); 2nd person, 2Cr 12:15; Hbr 13:17; Jam 1:21; 1Pe 1:9; 2:25; cp. Lev 17:11; 26:15; 1Sa 1:26; 3rd person, 1Pe 4:19; 2Pe 2:8; cp. Exd 30:12; Job 32:2, Heb. “soul,” Sept. “self;” (j) an animate creature, human or other, 1Cr 15:45; Rev 16:3; cp. Gen 1:24; 2:7,19; (k) “the inward man,” the seat of the new life, Luk 21:19 (cp. Mat 10:39); 1Pe 2:11; 3Jo 1:2. “With (j) compare a-psuchos, “soulless, inanimate,” 1Cr 14:7. “With (f) compare di-psuchos, “two-souled,” Jam 1:8; 4:8; oligo-psuchos, “feeble-souled,” 1Th 5:14; iso-psuchos, “like-souled,” Phl 2:20; sum-psuchos, “joint-souled” (with one accord”), Phl 2:2. “The language of Hbr 4:12 suggests the extreme difficulty of distinguishing between the soul and the spirit, alike in their nature and in their activities. Generally speaking the spirit is the higher, the soul the lower element. The spirit may be recognized as the life principle bestowed on man by God, the soul as the resulting life constituted in the individual, the body being the material organism animated by soul and spirit. … “Body and soul are the constituents of the man according to Mat 6:25; 10:28; Luk 12:20; Act 20:10; body and spirit according to Luk 8:55; 1Cr 5:3; 7:34; Jam 2:26. In Mat 26:38 the emotions are associated with the soul, in Jhn 13:21 with the spirit; cp. also Psa 42:11 with 1Ki 21:5. In Psa 35:9 the soul rejoices in God, in Luk 1:47 the spirit. “Apparently, then, the relationships may be thus summed up ‘Soma, body, and pneuma, spirit, may be separated, pneuma and psuche, soul, can only be distinguished’ (Cremer).”* [* From notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 205-207.]

“Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.” (Ja. 3:9.) Throughout the OT (and the NT) men are instructed against making graven images to worship. This is very important. God would not have us to relegate His Person to, or represent His Being by, some Tangible, Helpless, Inanimate Image. In another sense, we can say that though men are created in the Image of God, they are not God. Therefore we must not think too highly of ourselves.
However, on the other hand, just as James has reminded us in the verse that we have just read, let us not forget that men are made after the similitude of God. So, we must not build up man too much, for he cannot be God. And we must not curse men (or reduce men to the mere result of evolution) because men are created in the Image of God. There is a purpose for mankind that transcends or exceeds the character or capabilities of any other mortal being. We are made to give God glory, and to do so knowingly and intentionally. And to increase and to grow and to persevere and continue forever in that capacity. When we deny or refuse that honor or duty that is laid upon us, we are found to be rebels and sinners against God. All of us refuse in our fallen condition, to praise and obey God. But for those who are saved, a change is made in us, and we are saved and set apart to do that for which we are created. We will continue doing so forever and ever.

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