Previous post: (part one)
Are there aspects of God’s image He does not share with us?
We need to know what “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him” does not mean. In other words, we need to keep in mind what attributes God does not give to another. Put another way; in what ways are we not made in God’s image?
In Isaiah 48:11, God emphatically states that He does not give His glory to another. No creature in the universe shares in God’s glory. Scripture teaches that when we give ourselves glory, we sin. Sin is not a part of the original design and something which God resists (Proverbs 25:27, John 8:54). Therefore, any aspect of God that relates to His glory, God does not attribute or extend to us.
We can conclude that we are not made in the image of God in that we are not made glorious with the glory that makes God glorious. We know that God is glorious due to specific attributes. My understanding of this has taught me that God is glorious because He is: Creator, all-powerful, all-knowing, Saviour, eternal, Judge, and sovereign. These specific attributes are unique to God and God alone. They are incommunicable attributes. No creature has any claim on any one of these attributes. Since God will not give His glory to another, we can assume that the fullness of these qualities will never abide in a human to the extent to which God manifests these qualities. Therefore, to be made in the image of God does not mean that we are exact replicas of God in any way because we know that no human is Creator, omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, or sovereign. Instead of being exact replicas of God we are made in some ways like Him.
We will only find the truth in Scripture. We will not find revelations about God in philosophy, science or any other discipline which purports to be the truth. Any understanding of our being image-bearers must always keep in mind what God reveals to us about Himself and people. It is within the juncture of these revelations, what God has said about Himself and us, that we gain insight into how we identify as being made in the image of God.
When looking at the description of who we are in the Scripture, we must discern the difference between the fallen state of people and the non-fallen state. In other words, descriptions of people, such as the description in Romans 3:20-33, help us understand how we have fallen from the original creation. It reveals our condition after the fall, not before. Therefore, from descriptions that talk about the effects of the fall, the effects of sin, we can “add to the list” of what being in the image of God is not. And, from the descriptions of people where God says we are “good,” including descriptions of people that are after the fall, we can find elements and attributes illuminating the truth of being made in the image of God.
Therefore, to be made in the image of God we must look at the intersection of descriptions of “good people” and descriptions of God. It is at this intersection that we can begin to find answers. The easiest and best place to look for this intersection is by looking at two individuals in Scripture, Adam, the first man before the fall, and Jesus Christ, the perfect man. Both can give us understanding and clarification to what the Scripture teaches with regards to being made in the image of God.
Next week, part three.