The Sixth Day, Part 4
God said in Genesis 1:26, "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." Did you catch that?! God created human beings "in His image" and "after His likeness." God made us to resemble Himself. We need to clarify one major point before we go further. The truth that mankind was created in God's likeness does not in any way infer that we are—or will ever be—the same as God. First, we are His creation. Second, He is our Creator. Those two precepts will never change. They will always be true. However, God did create humans in His image. And we resemble Him in four distinct ways. As stated in our last blog, the first way in which we resemble God is our personal likeness to Him [previous blog here]. Let's explore the other three ways our Creator God made us a likeness of Himself.
A Spiritual Likeness
A second resemblance to God is our spiritual likeness. "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." Men and women are personal beings, but also spiritual beings as God designed us. What do we mean by spiritual? God gave each individual a soul. This was true with the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7 KJV), and has been true for every human since. Because of this, mankind has the God-given capacity to worship God; to fellowship with Him; and to possess the gift of eternal life through His Son, Christ Jesus (John 3:16).
If God had not made us spiritual beings, the salvation that Christ offers would be impossible to receive. It would be impossible to worship the One who provided us salvation. To properly worship Jehovah God requires there be a spiritual connection between man and God—whether we worship Him alone or gathered together in a worship service. A spiritual connection must be established for a worship band to play and hearts (souls) be touched by the music. There must be a spiritual connection for us to believe the words we sing. There must be a spiritual connection to be individually blessed by the message the song is sharing to our souls as we sing. There must be a spiritual connection when the Word of God is proclaimed and the souls of those who hear are stirred, causing them to want to draw closer to God and His Son in their daily living. God placed within all of us the ability to have a spiritual connection with Jehovah, the God of the universe! In some very distinct ways, we actually do resemble God. Again, we're not teaching that we can one day be the same as God. Absolutely not! God is omniscient (all-knowing). We are not. God is omnipotent (all-powerful). We are not. God is omnipresent (He is present everywhere). We are not. But God gave us the ability to communicate with Him. God gave us the ability to fellowship with Him. To fellowship with Him is one reason why He created us! We are like God in that we are spiritual beings.
A Moral Likeness
We possess a personal likeness to Jehovah God and we possess a spiritual likeness to Him. And there is also a moral likeness. "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." Man has the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Even if an individual doesn’t know anything about the Scriptures, that individual can know right from wrong. We are able to discern right from wrong when we reach the age of accountability (the exact age of accountability varies from person to person). "Right" and "wrong" are standards based upon God’s moral law. It's no secret that the basic laws of this country were founded upon the precepts of God's Word. Someone may argue, "Wait a minute, what about a person who has never read the Bible, has never heard about Jesus, didn’t grow up in a Christian environment, and the idea of Jehovah God is absolutely foreign to them? What about a person who doesn’t believe in all that stuff? Does those persons have a moral likeness to God? Can they even know right from wrong?" Let's look in the Book for answers. Romans 2:14-15 says, "Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right" (NLT). There is within the heart of every man and woman a God-shaped vacuum that only Jehovah God can fill. God made us with that vacuum. And all humans can know Him—not just know about Him—but know Him in a personal and real way. Sadly, what people often decide to do is defy Him or just plain ignore Him. They refuse to accept Him as their God. They choose some other god. Sometimes they foolishly choose to be their own god, doing what they want, totally rejecting the truth of who God is and what He continues to do for them daily through His Son, Jesus Christ. How can some people be so against Him? —Because they truly don’t know the God of the Bible and their hearts are wicked before Him (Jeremiah 17:9). Christ Jesus is the answer to what is right, and He is available this very minute to all who seek Him! It doesn't matter your geographical location in this world or even the current condition of your soul, God is reaching out to you right now through His Son, Jesus (John 12:44-50; Romans 5:8; Romans 10:12-13). He will lovingly embrace you if you call out to Him. He has purposefully made you like Himself morally. That moral likeness gives you the ability to call out to Him. Do the right thing. Deep down, you already know what that is.
A Physical Likeness
So far in our study, we have discovered that mankind possesses a personal, spiritual, and moral likeness to Jehovah God. Consider the fourth way man resembles Jehovah God. There is a physical likeness. "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." Let's consider several Scripture passages that will help us obtain a better understanding of mankind's physical likeness to God.
John 4:24 says, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." Since we are physical (consisting of flesh and bone) how can we possibly possess a physical likeness to a God who is a spirit being? How do we connect the spiritual/physical dots? The answer is Jesus Christ. He is the divine connection between God's spirit and mankind's physicality (1 Timothy 2:5). We know from the Bible that God sent His Son to earth, born of a virgin, with perfectly human features. Now think carefully as you consider these next two questions: (1) Did God create human beings with features His Son already possessed in Heaven prior to His coming to earth? Or (2) did God, having in mind a divine template of what Jesus' physical appearance would be when He came to earth, then match that template with how He formed the first human at creation? Deep questions, aren’t they? (Read them again if you need to.) We know from Scripture that Jesus, the pre-existent Son of God, came to earth and was miraculously born with a physical human body. (See Matthew 1:18, 22-23; Philippians 2:6-8.) Jesus possessed a physical appearance, a physical likeness, to mankind. Remember, God the Father is Spirit. God the Son is God in human form—the God-Man. The following are four biblical examples that shed light on mankind's physical likeness to God:
1. Jesus came to earth with a physical likeness to ours.
Scripture that lends further support to man's physical likeness to God are Colossians 1:15-17 – "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, (16) for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. (17) He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together" (NLT). Jesus was and is God in the flesh. John 1:1-3, 14 elaborates on this truth. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made … (14) And the Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us" (ESV).
2. Old Testament appearances of Christ validate His Deity and His physicality.
A second biblical example of mankind's physical likeness to God is revealed in Christ's Old Testament appearances. Since God is a Spirit (Scripture plainly says so), did only God's Spirit appear to the first man, Adam, (Genesis 3:8) in the Garden of Eden? We think not. The Bible says Adam heard "the sound (voice -KJV) of the Lord God walking." Notice, "the sound" is "walking!" How did "the sound" WALK if He did not already have a physical body like ours? Other O.T. appearances of Christ include the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:23-25); the Angel who wrestled with Jacob (Genesis 32:23-25); when Abraham met with the Lord and two angels (Genesis 18:1-33); and the Angel of the Lord with Joshua, the high priest (Zechariah 3:1-7).
3. Human physical characteristics are sometimes attributed to God.
A third example of our physical likeness to God is in Psalm 89:13 – "You [Lord] have a mighty arm; strong is your hand…" (ESV); and in Psalm 118:15 – "The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things" (NLT). Other Bible verses also depict God as having human physical characteristics. Since God is Spirit, the "arm" and "hand" in these verses must be referring to the second member of the Trinity who is physical in appearance, the Lord Jesus Christ. The One who has a physical body like ours!
4. Jesus never changes.
The fourth example of our physical likeness to God is another great biblical truth. Hebrews 13:8 tells us "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." This verse assures us that Jesus never changes. He is always the same—yesterday, today and tomorrow. For all of eternity, He has never and will never change. It was entirely God's idea to create mankind in His likeness. And our physical likeness to God continues to fit His pattern (template) and will never change until He changes all believers (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) after He returns for us some day! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
In our next blog, we will continue in our study of Genesis, chapter one. This blog, no doubt, gave you some things to think about. Read the Bible verses for yourself. Know what the Bible says. Look in the Book today!
"Father God, thank You for the Bible. We are thankful You didn’t just create us and then leave us without a Compass to navigate through this life. Thank You, dear God, that You created us in Your image and after Your likeness. I pray that You will help us as believers to walk worthy of being Your creation and Your children. Help us to walk with You today. We pray these things in the Holy Name of Jesus, Amen."