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Spiritual Headship, Part 1: The Image of God

Discussion in 'Paterology, Christology & Pneumatology' started by Father's Image, Jul 12, 2002.

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  1. Father's Image

    Father's Image New Member

    <DIV>Gen. 1:26,27: 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.

    What God actually did when he created man in His "image" was so profound and difficult for us to understand, that He restated it, "...after our likeness:..."; and, it was so important that God repeated it twice in the next verse. Even to this day, the full meaning of these phrases has remained elusive. All sorts of strange ideas have been proffered to explain what it means for God to create mankind in His image. We should not have strayed so far away from the simple truth. The phrase, "...after our likeness:..." simply means, at face value, "like God". The phrase, "...in the image of God..." has deep meaning. Let’s look at the meaning of the Hebrew word used here for "image":

    [font="Garamond, Times, Serif"]tselem, tseh’-lem; from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figurative) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol: -image, vain shew.[/font]

    Notice the root meaning, "to shade". A person’s shadow is a resemblance of his physical image because it is shaped exactly like him. So, in a rough sense, God cast His "shadow" onto Adam. Now, to cast your shadow on someone, you need to stand over him; or, in other words, to "overshadow" him. While you are overshadowing him, you are shading him from the sun ("to shade"). "God is a spirit...", we are told in John 4:24, and 1John1:5 says, "...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." Since God is a spirit, and He is light, He really would not have a shadow. To bring our figurative picture closer to reality, let’s take it to the next step... If you shine a flashlight onto a wall, an image of light in the shape of the flashlight lens appears on the wall. If the lens were somehow shaped like a person, the image of light on the wall would be shaped like a person. Instead of picturing God casting a shadow, which is an image of darkness, let’s picture God casting an image of light... onto Adam. That fits better, but one final step is needed for a real understanding... Instead of God casting an image of light, it is God casting <I>an image of spirit! ...A spirit in His image! He put a spirit in His image into Adam. This spirit in God’s image became Adam’s spirit.</I>This was Adam’s conception. Though God created him as a full-grown man, spiritually, this was his conception. He was spiritually conceived in a physically full-grown state <I>- much like we as believers, who turned to Christ as adults!</I> By the way, how was Jesus conceived? Read Luke 1:34,35: "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." What happened on this occasion when God overshadowed a person? The Spirit of Jesus Christ, Who is the Image of God (2Cor.4:4), entered Mary’s womb, and <I>the Last Adam was conceived, both spiritually and physically.</I>Genesis 2:4-25 provides a more detailed account of the creation of mankind. Verse 7 tells the specific method by which Adam was created in the image of God: "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." This is an important aspect of the creation of man that has been commonly overlooked because of man’s tendency to see everything in physical terms (or, natural terms), instead of spiritual terms. The Hebrew word used here for "breath" can also mean "soul, spirit". The same word is used in the following verses: Isaiah 57:16, "...And the souls which I have made."; Job 26:4, "...And whose spirit came from thee?"; Prov.20:27, "The spirit of a man is the candle of the LORD, Searching all the inward parts of the belly". This verse, then, could also be translated, "...breathed into his nostrils the spirit of life; and man became a living soul.". We see from this verse that man became a living soul as a direct result of God breathing into him the "breath [spirit] of life."

    Consider also, that God is Spirit, and has no physical body from which to breathe air. Why would He need to? God spoke the animals into existence, and they were immediately living and breathing! Why would He make a point of including this special, extra step in Adam’s creation? What was He telling us? Furthermore, why did He create only one man (and woman) instead of filling the earth with people instantly? The creation of man was special because he was to be created in the image and likeness of God. Adam was not like the animals - he was like God! While he was a physical creature, like the animals, his God-given spirit made him much more like God than like the animals.

    It should come as no surprise to us that being created "in the image of God" means that God "breathed" a spirit into Adam, and that we are spiritual creatures who will exist throughout eternity. After all, the animals were not created in His image, so it is pretty easily deduced that the image of God is something that we possess that they do not. Nearly everything that mankind has is found in at least one animal, or in all animals in varying degrees. Our intelligence is found in varying degrees in all animals - with some supposedly approaching our own. Apes and bears can walk upright. Emotions of varying degrees are found in many animals. The one thing that is not found in any animal to any "degree" is an eternal spirit. It is man alone who worships God or shakes his fist at God, and it is man alone who will exist forever in heaven or in hell. The fact that mankind has an eternal spirit shouts to us that this is the image of God, for our God is an eternal Spirit!

    After forming Adam’s body from the dust of the ground, God had the completed body of the first man in His hands; but it had no spirit (or, soul). God then breathed <I>some part of His Spirit</I> into Adam, by breathing "...into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." It is a very purposeful word picture of something leaving God and going into Adam, just as breath would leave one person and go into another. It is easy to miss this important part of this verse. This is more than just the breath of life going into Adam. This breath of life is also <I>going out of God!</I> Job 33:4 says, "The Spirit of God hath made me, And the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." The second part of this verse is a poetic restatement of the first part - the breath of the Almighty is the Spirit of God! This is the picture that God wanted us to see. He could have merely said, "Let there be a breath of life in Adam," but, no… This required the personal touch from God. The creation of Adam was much different from the rest of the creatures, and this was shown to us by God.

    Why would Adam’s spirit need to come directly out of God, instead of just being spoken into existence by God? As previously discussed, our spirit is <I>eternal</I>. What does "eternal" mean? Is it limited to freeing the <I>end</I> of a temporal existence from the bonds of time? That would be a contradiction: to be eternal means to not be bound by time - no end to existence as well as <I>no beginning.</I> That which is eternal has no end and no beginning. The human spirit, because it is eternal, could not be created, for that would be its beginning. By direct contact, God <I>installed</I> this uncreateable component into Adam, by breathing into him the breath of life. In some mysterious way, the spirit of Adam (and of mankind) originated in God, who is the source of all spiritual existence, making Adam (and us) the offspring of God (Acts 17:28,29). When God wanted to create mankind, what He wanted was something so special and so wonderful that the only way to create such beings was to "donate" a "small part" of His very own Spirit - not as an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but distinguished from Him and given its own individuality - its own personhood. This new being would not be a part of God, but he would have communion with God. The man that God wanted to create would be finite, imperfect, and virtually powerless, but with a consciousness, a free will, and a spiritual dimension. He wanted us to be like Him - spiritual beings who could of our own free will truly love Him, worship Him, serve Him, emulate Him, praise Him, and depend upon Him. In order for us to have a spirit like He is Spirit, we would be eternal, and this presented two very important "rules": First, a spirit can not be created - it must be imparted; Second, a spirit can not be annihilated (taken out of existence) - so an eternal place would have to be prepared for those people who chose to rebel against God, as well as an eternal home for those who loved God.

    Job 34:14-15 says, "If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust." Zech.12:1 says, "...Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:" All three accomplishments listed in Zech.12:1 happened at Creation, and all three are equal in magnitude. When God breathed the breath of life into Adam, this was such a momentous event that it is equal to the creation of the universe! This is not an everyday "run of the mill" event that happens every time another child is conceived (thousands of times per day)! This awesome creation event only took place twice - for Adam and for Christ! Whereas the "Last Adam"(1Cor15:45), Christ, is Almighty God Himself, the first Adam was an imperfect, powerless, "offspring of God" (Acts 17:29); however, both of their Spirits came directly from God, which has not and will not happen to anyone else.

    Why did God not breathe "the breath of life" into Eve? Why did He not form her from the dust, like Adam? The answer to both questions is the same. Yes, she was the perfect companion and mate for Adam; and, the symbolism of "bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh" must be partly why God created her from Adam’s rib. There was a more practical reason, though. The symbolism of "bone of my bones" was <I>pointing to</I> <I>something deeper.</I> Eve’s spirit was taken from Adam’s spirit, just as her body was taken from his. In this world, a man’s spirit and his living flesh are inexorably linked. If the body is alive, the spirit must be present; and, if the spirit departs, the body dies. The fact that God used part of Adam’s living flesh to make Eve strongly indicates that her spirit came from Adam. She was spirit of his spirit. "...She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man."(Gen.2:23). Now, here is a surprising and beautiful parallel. Adam and Eve were the first bride and bridegroom. They are a picture of Christ, the Bridegroom, imparting His life-giving Spirit to His Bride, the church. It is interesting that after He had <I>"fallen asleep" </I>(died) on the Cross, <I>His side was opened </I>by the spear. With that final blow, the Atonement was complete, and His Bride was redeemed through Him.

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