The Image of God in Man, III


Third, throughout eternity, God has enjoyed fellowship within the Trinity.

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Proverbs 6:27-31 When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew the circle on the face of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

God made man in His image, to enjoy relationships, with the ability to communicate with others to develop close relationships, and with personality and emotion to make those relationships meaningful and interesting.

Part of what makes relationships and fellowship possible is the gift of language and comprehension. God has been speaking and communicating from as far back as is revealed in His Word, Genesis 1. That is all we can know for certain. There are, however, glimpses throughout scripture of His activity and speech from before the earth was founded. He obviously wants to be known. He sent Jesus to show us exactly who He is, what He is like, and what He desires. Jesus spoke only those words His Father told him to speak (John 12:49). The Holy Spirit speaks and reminds us of what God has already spoken (John 14:26; 16:13). He has preserved His inspired Word for more than 2,000 years!

In the same way, God has given man the ability to use language to communicate. This is one way we remain His image-bearers in this world. Though the ways in which we choose to communicate and use language prove how fallen we are. We want to know people and yet we hide from one another in so many ways and on so may levels. As Paul Dunbar wrote, “We wear the mask!”

Another God-like trait is personality. It seems strange to me to think about God having personality, but many aspects of creation speak to the truth of our Creator having a real (and infinite) personality. A.W. Tozer writes in his classic work, The Pursuit of God,

“All social intercourse between human beings is a response of personality to personality, grading upward from the most casual brush between man and man to the fullest, most intimate communion of which the human soul is capable. Religion, so far as it is genuine, is in essence the response of created personalities to the creating personality, God. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

God is a person, and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.”

The ultimate reason for creating us with these abilities is so that we could enjoy fellowship with Him. He created man in His image, and one purpose for that (I think) is relationship. Even my best imaginations of bliss in the Garden of Eden cannot do justice to the reality of what it must of have been like to walk in paradise with God, face-to-face, in the flesh, unencumbered, unafraid, perfectly happy and full of joy. Likewise, I cannot imagine being Eve and the soul anguish of seeing His face one last time before being shut out of the Garden forever. Most people speak of the Fall and subsequent expulsion from the Garden as though it is plain, cut-and-dried, “They sinned and God kicked them out.” But I’ve really been thinking about it a lot, and I think there’s so much more to it.

The pain of knowing that the relationship for which you were created had permanently ended because of your actions had to be terrible. I wonder if Eve tried to apologize. I wonder if she tried to make it up to Him. I wonder if she made vows and promises to do better next time. I wonder if they wept or hugged one another goodbye. And all while God was killing an animal, fashioning garments for them, and explaining that her seed would come forth to crush the head of the serpent…one day. (Too romantic? Probably. It’s more likely that they couldn’t wait to get out of the Garden.)

All of our efforts, promises and vows to do better, to make it up, to do good deeds, to apologize make no difference. It’s not that God doesn’t desire relationship with His people. He does! But we must come to Him on His terms. Though we are made in His image, God tells us this about Himself through the prophet Isaiah: “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (46:9). There is no getting back to God in any way that we see fit. He is holy and we, unrighteous and sinful, cannot stand in His presence and live. Mask-wearing pretense does not fool God.

There is one way: a person, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. A common misconception is that God sent His Son to die for our sins because we are so special and God needs relationship with man. He is God; He has no need of man. However, He wants, He desires, and He died to buy us back for our joy and for His glory. No other relationship on earth can satisfy the longings for joy, fellowship, and intimacy like a relationship with our Creator and Savior. I want to be able to say with David that I know His “steadfast love is better than life” (Psalm 63). I want to be able to honestly say with Paul that everything else is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus and fellowshipping with Him in suffering (Philippians 3). I want to be recognized at the gate with a, “Hey! I know you! Come on in!” I want to know Him and I want to be known by Him…Without the mask.

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3 thoughts on “The Image of God in Man, III

  1. Um, what I meant by “that attitude” is that God needs us. He doesn’t need us at all, He created us for His glory, not because we’re special. Just clarifying….

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