09 10

11 February 2017

Made in His Image

A discussion of man as being made in God's image, or image bearers of God, examining Mormon doctrine and its Biblical support.

This post is part of a series; check back soon for more on the Plan of Salvation in the Bible.

The Plan of Salvation
Premortal Life
Veil of Forgetfulness
Made in His Image (this post)
The Fall of Adam
Earth Life
The Spirit World
Kingdoms of Glory

In the beginning, God created everything. He made the earth, the plants, fish and the animals and the birds. When they all were completed, He saw that it was good. All these things, and then the final touch, which He said made it very good:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 
-Genesis 1:27

This idea that we are created in God's image is emphasized, twice here in verse 27, and once in verse 26. In fact, it's the same language in verse 26 as is used in talking about how Seth resembles his father, Adam:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...
-Genesis 1:26

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image...
-Genesis 5:3

It's no wonder that the same sort of language was used: the Bible teaches us very clearly that we are the children of God.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs...
-Romans 8:16-17

In the Church we talk about this a lot, being made in the image of God, especially in the context of our teaching that God has a body, that He looks like us and we look like him, the way that a child looks like his mortal parents. The Bible talks about prophets talking with Him face to face, Moses and the 70 elders of Israel saw Him and mention of His feet, and we know He used His finger to write the Ten Commandments. So the Bible teaches explicitly about how God the Father and Christ are two separate, physical Beings, and we believe what the Bible teaches.

In the very first chapter of Genesis, Moses clearly explains the form and nature of God in this simple statement:
"God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27).
 Any man of faith can understand this unambiguous statement. Moses was not speculating when he thus put God and men in the same mold. He spoke from a personal knowledge. By the power of the Almighty he had been "caught up into an exceedingly high mountain." There "he saw God face to face, and he talked with him.
"And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty...
"And, behold, thou art my son...
"And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior"(Moses 1:1-4,6).
This clear and certain knowledge of God the Eternal Father and his Only Begotten Son and man's likeness and relationship to them was given to Moses at the time he led Israel from Egypt.
-Marion G. Romney, The Key to Peace, April 1970

But in the process of reading about how to homeschool better, I've read a number of Protestant's blogs recently, and they turn it around, and instead of talking about how we are "made in His image", they often talk about how we are "image-bearers". I like this way of thinking about it as well, and what this says about our souls, our character, our potential. We talk about it this way in the Church, too, Brother Uchtdorf, for instance, was speaking to this aspect when he talked about our potential for creativity:

For whatever reason, though, this concept of being image-bearers of the Divine character, has really struck me through reading these blogs and talking to the homeschoolers on my favorite message boards, not just in a single capacity, such as creativity that Brother Uchtdorf talked about in his talk, but in a whole host of virtues and characteristics that we carry embryonicly: we are designed to be wonderful. The presence of God's children is what elevated creation to become very good. Goodness is, in a sense, in our DNA. Although we live in a fallen world, and none of us lives up to this potential, still, we are commanded to "grow up" to be like our Father: we bear the image of our Father's character as well as the image of His form, and thanks to the Grace offered by our Savior, we can hope to obey that command.

How glorious it is to have the revealed word of God, to know that we have a child-parent relationship with Him. ... The central message of all revelation is that God is our Father. We therefore are inherently good. ...
I am fully aware that in the world there are individuals who basic motivation seems to be contrary and disruptive and evil. I know this exists, but it is against their nature. 
-Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently, 88-89

Scripture chain: Made in His image
Genesis 1:27
Genesis 5:3
Genesis 32:30
Exodus 24:10
Exodus 31:18
Hebrews 1:3
Moses 1:1-4, 6
Matthew 5:48
Romans 8:16

Click the button to see the index of my Bible Study posts, including this Plan of Salvation series, or come join the conversation over on Facebook; we'd love to have you.

We're studying the Bible; We'd love you to come join us.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin