Man - Created in God's Image

Before I share this teaching on how God created man in His image, I want to thank those of you who contacted me and let me know that you were praying for God to give me wisdom from Heaven. I cannot adequately express in words what it means to me that you would go before the throne of God on my behalf, for my edification and growth in the faith. You are more precious to me than you will ever know.

Last week I was inspired by our Father God's Holy Spirit to make a Scripture-picture for our weekly WFW based on Psalm 23:3. And although I had read Psalm 23 in its entirety about a gazillion times (much like everyone else), God revealed to me that I needed to meditate on it once I did.

This passage is so familiar that even unbelievers know and chant it as if it were some holy rabbit's foot that will save them when they're scared or overwhelmed. And sadly, as a child of God, I've misunderstood this passage to mean only that - that God is with us in our times of trouble and will bring us comfort. While this is a true fact about our God, I discovered this passage is not referring to God's comfort here on earth, but for something much greater. It turns out, it's a prayer that only believers would be able to say. This famous prayer of King David is a prayer of confidence in God's ultimate work of salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When the Holy Spirit inspired King David to write verse 3, He inclined David's heart to express the immeasurable peace of God that comes to a soul that is once again restored (brought back to its original state, brought back to a former or original condition). For the soul that is restored, is saved by God's grace, through faith/full trust in Jesus Christ alone. King David then ends this Psalm stating that he is confident he will dwell in the house (Heaven) of the LORD forever.

I was very excited, to say the least, to discover such an awesome truth about our infinitely glorious, holy and righteous God. So much so, I wanted to share with everyone how we were first created in God's image, how we separated ourselves from His holiness and how God Himself, saved us from our fallen state through faith in His Son Jesus, who became the propitiation for our sins; thereby initiating the process of sanctifying (restoring) our condemned souls, so that we might once again partake in holy communion with our Creator by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.

But as I began to draw pictures to depict this miraculous phenomena of God - creating man in His image, I began to realize that all the teaching I had heard on this subject, didn't work. For years, I was taught to believe the trichotomist theology that man was made in the image of God in that God is a Triune God; therefore, man is a triune man (body, soul and spirit). I never really thought about it very much, but there were lots of great arguments for it and it all seemed to make sense - until of course, I tried to make sense of it all.

I found myself in quite a conundrum when trying to make this theology of trichotomy work. When I first drew it, it seemed odd to me that God is a Triune God, greater than man, yet man was equal to God in being made as a trinity? Somehow, that didn't sit quite right with me and I had a very difficult time trying to draw man and his essence, just like I drew the Trinity of God below with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three in one, and equal.

As my Favorite and I looked and looked over these pictures, we realized that further study was necessary, as there was no way that man is in any shape, way or form just like God. To be made in one's image, does not automatically denote that the image is an exact replica of the original.

I then pulled out Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem, confident that a book about biblical doctrine would include the theology of man and his essential nature (being made in God's image), as well as Scriptures that would prove what is true versus what has been passed down from generation to generation (traditional theology) without question and without Scriptural proof. And sure enough, there it was! [By the way, I highly recommend this book, I use it quite often in my study of Scripture].

I must admit, it was quite taxing to look up all the Scriptures that were referenced and the laziness in me wanted to find a short cut. But I realized that this matter was far too important (really, anything about God is) for me to only read over what I might think to be necessary. I wanted to know the whole truth and earnestly asked God to help me and give me wise counsel through His Holy Spirit. Every time I was tempted to skip a Scripture/passage or favor a conclusion (which was to hold on to what I had always believed), God's Holy Spirit was ever so faithful to continue to remind me:

"Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD."
~ Jeremiah 9:23-24

"If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame."
~ Proverbs 18:13

These words from our Lord Jesus were a great encouragement to me to continue on and finish studying and meditating on every passage noted so that I might not have an "answer" (come to a conclusion) before I finished listening to the full counsel of the Lord.

After much prayer and meditating on God's holy Word, I realized He provided no biblical reference for the trichotomist theology, but only that of the dichotomist theology which concludes that the the essence of man is in two parts (body and soul/spirit) and not three parts (body, soul and spirit). I won't get into all the nitty gritty details, but I will sum up my study on this topic with the following pictures which portray that being made in God's image does not mean we physically look like God or are made equal with God, but that we are an image of His character and nature.

The picture above depicts the essence of man, being created in the image (not exact replica) of God, with body and soul/spirit which are in perfect harmony with one another and more importantly live in harmony with God the Father.

In the picture to our left, we see what happened to the original design of man and his fallen state. The soul/spirit of man is no longer in harmony with the body as God created it (with the soul/spirit governing the actions of the body) because the soul/spirit is now dead to God and corruptible. The death of the soul/spirit also led to the death and condemnation of the body. The body and soul/spirit of man is no longer blessed by God, but is under His curse due to man's rebellion and willful act in the attempt to usurp God's authority and become his own god. Due to this atrocious rebellion, one day, those who have not been made alive in Christ, will suffer the second death, which is, the lake of fire.

Jesus said, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Luke 10:28)

In the picture to the right, we see how God is in the process of restoring man back to his original state for those who have trusted in the name of His Son, Jesus the Christ. But due to sin's corrupting affect on man's flesh, the final restoration will not take place while we're here on earth, but will be fulfilled when our bodies are redeemed. Until then, God uses His Holy Spirit to begin that sanctifying (or restoring) process and we begin to see the soul/spirit gaining victory over the sinful flesh that continues to war against the man's soul/spirit that has once again been made alive by Christ Jesus our Lord.

Can you see that the essence of man - being made in the image of God will once again be fully restored to its original state when those who have trusted Jesus with their lives will one day live in Paradise with Him? Just as God intended from the very beginning.

By the way, perhaps many of you already know this, but for those of you who don't, both Eden and Paradise mean: a garden or a pleasure ground.

I truly pray that this study of man being created in God's image, will cause you to give glory, praise and honor to our Father God, increase your gratitude for the long-suffering of God by which He patiently and sacrificially gave His one and only Son, to pay a debt He did not owe in order to restore our souls to its original state before the Fall of Man. And may your immense gratitude and love for what our God has done for us, burn your heart with passion to do what Jesus came to do: spread the Gospel so that condemned souls (like yours and mine used to be) may find salvation in the only name in which all men are saved, Jesus Christ our Lord.

"How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News!' "
~ Romans 10:14-15