Imago Dei

In Exodus 20, Moses commanded the people that they were not to “make an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” The people were to know that there is nothing that they could create that would adequately reflect who God is. God is holy, all together different from anything or any one in all creation. The second commandment explicitly forbade man from trying to make an image of God. But did you know that God himself did make something that would reflect his image? Yep, he created it from the dust of the earth, breathed the breath of life into it, made it a living soul, put it in a garden, and called it Man. Have you ever really taken the time to consider what God meant when he said, “Let Us create man in Our own image.”?

Most of the time, when you talk with folks about being created in the image of God, it always comes down to, “Well, we are spirit, soul, and body, and that’s kind of how God is a Trinity.” Well, I think that’s a good start, a legitimate point, and we’re headed in the right direction, but I believe there is a lot more to it than that. Let’s dig a little deeper. Who is God? What is his essence, his nature? I think we need to look into this in order to understand just how we were created in his image.

First, I have to say that the words I am going to use to try and explain my point will fall way short. Honestly, how do you describe the holy indescribable? But, words are all we have, so here goes. The One God is Triune. He is Father, Son, and Spirit. He exists as three “Persons,” while at the same time; He is One. Within the Trinity there is love and communion, worship if you will. Theologians call this Perichoresis, complete and perfect unity without absorption. This is the perfect, holy God. And we are created to reflect this perichoretic image! Although, man is not God, and never will be God (this is a shock to some of us I’m sure), we are created to exist in a similar form of perichoresis through our union with Jesus. This is what Dr. Jim Gifford refers to as perichoretic salvation. Yes sir, a kind of mutual indwelling without absorption, thereby reflecting the image of God. I believe that’s what being created in the image of God means. In some wonderful, mysterious way; we partake in the eternal Trinitarian life of God. Hallelujah!!

Consider the words Jesus prayed in John 17: “[I ask] that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us…I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one.” We, as believers, are in God and he is in us. There is so much more to being a Christian than talking about sin all of the time. Yes, we know that prior to being born again; we are dead in our sins and separated from God. We must repent and turn from our sin. But when will we understand that salvation is about more than sin and death? Your sin has been dealt with on the cross; it’s time to get busy living my friend! “[O]r have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”(Romans 6) We have new “perichoretic” lives that partake of the life of God, and reflect the very image of He who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

“We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (I John 1)

Jesus came not only to die for our sins, but to extend to us the very life of God whereby we may have fellowship with him, the kind of fellowship that has eternally existed in the Triune God. You have been invited to experience this life. You were created to reflect this glorious image.