RESTORING THEIR IMAGE AND LIKENESS IN MAN

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this study is based on Psalm 51:10-12, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

Genesis, chapter one, introduces God to the reader as an “Us.” God or the “US” is presented in the plural for “Elohim” instead of the “El” in the singular. More than one superior and spirit “Beings” were present in the “Elohim” or in the “US.” The “US” created, by speaking, the world and everything in it. And then the “US” created man to manage everything in the world. After the world was finished, then God (the US) 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 birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God (US) created man in His own image, in the image of the “US” He created him; male and female He created him. And God blessed them, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:26-28). After the creation of man, there is a break and nothing more is said about the man, who was created in the image of God or in the image of “US.” This account of the creation hints at the existence of a people that did not display, in them, the “Image” of their Creators (the US). It also verifies the existence of the Nods, who provided a wife for Cain, the fugitive. “Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16). It also links the sons of God or Adam’s with the daughters of man, when both turned evil. “When men (Adamites and Nods) began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they choose.” This did not please the Lord and He withdrew His Spirit and the new humanity that evolved was wicked. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” The new people were the Nephilims, or the geniuses that perceived and built a system without God. “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and also afterward, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to His heart” (Genesis 6:1-6).

Genesis 2:7-25, introduces a Lord (Yahweh) over the God or the “US.” When the writer speaks of the Lord God, the writer has in mind the head of the “Beings” in the “US.” The concept is very similar to the Christian belief in the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Genesis, one, God spoke and everything came into being. In Genesis, two, the Lord does the forming or the shaping of all living things out of the ground. Instead of commanding that life return to earth or to normal, the Lord worked. It hints at the idea that the first creation had suffered some derailment. Particularly, man had to be set apart from all the other living beings and things, and a new world (a garden) had to be formed on the earth where the new man could live and function. This man was a special project of the Lord (Yahweh) with whom He could communicate and fellowship. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” The Lord does not leave this man in the world, but plants a special garden for this man with two special trees: a tree of life, and a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And the Lord communicates with the man in this garden called, “Eden.” Then, the Lord God took a rib out of the man and made him a wife or a helpmate. During the making of the woman, we have the Lord God form all other living beings out of the ground. “So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon man, and while he slept took one rib of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh, and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman and brought her to the man. The man named her, ‘This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she be called woman, because she was taken out of man.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:18-25).

One would presume that a couple would be content to live in a perfect environment and honor the Lord God, who made it all possible. It would have been possible if the Godhead had not broken up in heaven. One of the three angelic leaders broke away and objected to placing a human in charge of the beautiful garden or the renewed world. It has been presumed that the creation in Genesis, chapter one, fell from God under the rebellious angel identified, in the King James Version, Isaiah 14:12-17 as, “Lucifer.” The King James Version depended on the Latin Vulgate, Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible. Lucifer means “the bearer of light” or the “bright morning star.” The King James Version related this description of Lucifer’s fall from heaven, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! Thou art cut down to the ground where you weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the height of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, is this the man that made the earth tremble, that did shake the kingdoms?” In the Revised Standard Version, Revelation 12:7-11, Lucifer is the great dragon, the serpent, the devil and Satan. This particular disclosure of Lucifer’s activity is crucial to the understanding of the evil’s impact on the world and on all living beings, even on man; and primarily, the attack on Christians and on Jews.

Lucifer did not voluntarily vacate heaven. The Archangel Michael threw him out. “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–-he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:7-9). This also is the time, when the Lord decided to institute the redemption of mankind, to keep Satan from destroying God’s image (man) all together. The plan to save man was made in heaven, before this world was renewed, and before Adam was set up in the garden of Eden. Adam was given the choice to obey the Lord God or the serpent Lucifer. God knew that Lucifer would win Adam over to his side. God, instantly, installed His Second in command (His Son, Jesus) to come to earth and recreated a man that will not obey Lucifer. Just as Lucifer was being evicted from heaven, a voice announced, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein!” (Revelation 12:10-12). Lucifer was not satisfied with man on earth; Lucifer wanted God to declare the saints in heaven as unworthy. Lucifer, by nature, is a devastator and he, with his demons, began to devastate God’s work (the world) and God’s image (man). Heaven issued this warning, “But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Revelation 12:12).

The Christ that drove Lucifer out of heaven also delivered the deadly blow, when He rejected Lucifer’s offer. Christ even did not let Lucifer have His body when Lucifer killed Jesus, the Son of God, on earth. Christ brought back His body from the dead and transplanted His body back to heaven and to His Father God. Jesus, the Risen Christ, said to Mary Magdalene, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (John 20:17). Jesus promised that those human beings, who are reborn in Him and carry on His work on earth, would be able to join Him in heaven (John 14:1-3). Jesus described Satan (Lucifer) and his followers, “If God were your father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but He sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:42-44). The serpent’s (Lucifer) lies killed Adam and he kills every one, who eats his lies. Hence, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22). Jesus, the Christ, embodies the “image” and “likeness” of God, the Father, and so do his followers. Unfortunately, the dragon (Lucifer) is determined to eradicate the “image” and “likeness” of God from the earth (John 14:9-13; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:3; Revelation 12:13-17). The war, on earth, is just not over flesh, over blood, or over land, but the war is over the “image” and over the “likeness” of God in man. The war is all about stopping the incarnation of evil, which keeps man from returning to God, whose breath man bears in his chest. Paul summarized it for us, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world leaders of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly (high) places” (Ephesians 6:12).

In this study, we shall examine the beginning and the end of man’s struggle to regain the “image” and “likeness” of God, for which man was created and made, in the first place. Come and join me on this journey and travel with me through the Bible that shall take us back to God. The journey will not be a luxury trip, but a harsh realization of who we are, and what we ought to be. The journey will become apparent, that it is not sufficient how we perceive ourselves, but how we are being perceived by this world as children of our Father in Heaven. Will we hear His words, “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Enjoy, with me, this heart-searching journey. (Quotes are from RSV, unless otherwise stated).