What does the Bible mean by man being made in "…Our image…"? 


Quoting from the footnotes of the Spirit-Filled Life Bible, for which Pastor Hayford served as General Editor, under the passage in Genesis 1:26,:

1:26 Let Us: God was speaking, not only to what the NT reveals to be the rest of the Trinity, but to the entire host of heaven, the angels, as well. Our image likely refers to such qualities as reason, personality, and intellect, and to the capacity to relate, to hear, to see, and to speak. All of these are characteristics of God, which He chose to reproduce in mankind. Dominion over…the earth: God created man to be His kingdom agent, to rule and subdue the rest of creation, including the aggressive satanic forces, which would soon infringe upon it.

The Hebrew word here for "image," is tselem, meaning "to shade; a phantom, hence a representative figure." Some more study notes from the Spirit-Filled Life Bible under this passage read:

1:26-28 God Created Man (Male/Female) in His Own Image, FAMILY ORDER. …These verses introduce a phrase that is the cornerstone of the biblical understanding of man: image of God. The image of God is presented first and foremost in relation to a unique social or community concept of God. "Then God (singular) said, ‘Let Us (plural) make man in Our (plural) image.’" Many scholars interpret this use of both the singular and plural as an allusion to the Trinity: one God, yet a community of Persons.

God then proceeds to create man in His own image. At this all-important beginning point. Scripture highlights a particular aspect of man’s nature, namely, that which corresponds to the social or community aspect of God’s nature: God crates man as male and female—not a solitary individual, but two people. Yet, as we read on, we discover that the two are, nevertheless, "one" (see 2:24).

The "community" that reflects God’s image is a special community: the community of a man and a woman. When God chose to create man in His own image, He created a marriage, a family. The community of the family is a reflection of the community in the Godhead. Its identity, life, and power come from God. (Ephesians 3:14, 15)

1:26-28 Man’s Intrinsic Value, HUMAN WORTH. Man is distinct from the rest of creation. The Divine Triune Counsel determined that man was to have God’s image and likeness. Man is a spiritual being who is not only body, but also soul and spirit. He is a moral being whose intelligence, perception, and self-determination far exceed that of any other earthly being.

These properties or traits possessed by mankind and his prominence in the order of creation imply the intrinsic worth, not only of the family of mankind, but also of each human individual.

Capacity and ability constitute accountability and responsibility. We should never be pleased to dwell on a level of existence lower than that on which God has made it possible for us to dwell. We should strive to be the best we can be and to reach the highest levels we can reach. To do less is to be unfaithful stewards of the life entrusted to us. (see Psalm 8:4, 5; 139:13, 14).

Resources:
Tape #2068 You, Your Lover, and Jesus
Tape #295 Men Resisting the World Image


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