[Calvary Chapel] 1997-11-08 - Man Created in the Image of God

The Comprehensive Study Series, Part 15

The Bible is the very Word of the living God, both the Old and the New Testament. It is not, as some will say, man's quest for God, but rather God revealing Himself to man. According to some estimates there are approximately 5.5 billion people in the world today. Where did they come from? Did they evolve? Some will teach us they crawled out of some primordial ooze -- or was man created by a direct act of the Almighty? What do the Scriptures reveal to us?

Father God, we pray You would open our eyes to behold wondrous things from Your Word. Amen

Genesis 1:27 (1901 ASV ) And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

The Hebrew word rendered "create" is "bara." Whenever it appears in the active voice, God is the subject. The reason for this literary 'thing' is that only God can perform the act expressed by this term. There was a time when God alone existed. His creativity brought the material universe into existence.

Genesis 1:26a ( 1901 ASV) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

The three persons comprising the one and true living God, held a conference and agreed to make man in their image -- after their likeness. After He had created the sea monsters, fish, birds and animals, God created in His own image a new type of life -- something different from anything which had been created prior to this event. The word "create" ("bara" in Hebrew) means to bring into existence something which had no prior form or existence. Due to the definition of the word 'bara" there is disproved any theory of evolution that has been or may be promoted.

Genesis 2:7 states that " And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

John 4:23 -24 ( 1901 ASV) But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

This passage of Scripture declares that God is a spirit, and that those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. It is evident that God is represented in the Scriptures as being a Spirit. He does not have a body. When the Scriptures imply that man was made in the image of God, after His likeness -- it is evident that man's spiritual nature is implied. So don't try looking into your mirror to see God! In Hebrews 12:9 God is spoken of as the Father of spirits. "Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" From these facts too we conclude that man is a direct creative act of God.

Many folks today will tell you that there is a very narrow chasm between man and animal life -called the "missing link." Actually the separation is a vast one. I would like to point out what Dr. A. H. Strong points out in his book Systematic Theology (pp 467-468) -- that there are eight outstanding differences between man and animals.

  1. The brute is conscious, but not self-conscious. It does not distinguish itself from sensations. The brute perceives things, but unlike man, lacks appreciation -- that is, a perception accompanied by the reference of the consequences or significance to which the subject belongs.
  2. Animals have only precepts, but do not have concepts. The brute comprehends in a limited way what comes before it, but abstractions are foreign to its limited way of thinking. It remembers things and persons but does not remember thoughts or abstract ideas. Man alone can do this.
  3. Animals have no language in the strict sense of the term. Language is the expression of thought and words the symbols of ideas or concepts. Where there are no concepts, there can be no words. A parrot may be able to learn a few words or a short sentence, but this in no wise can be construed as its possessing a language.
  4. Animals are incapable of forming judgments. They do not associate ideas of a similar nature, nor can they say in a categorical way, "this is the thing which I have mentioned."
  5. Animals have little or no reasoning power and know nothing about the law of causation or the relation between antecedents and consequences. There is association of ideas among animals, but there is no evidence of intelligent judgment.
  6. Animals have no general ideas or intuitions as of space or time, substance, right or wrong. They cannot reason from the specific to the general, therefore there can be no progress or advancement. Animals do certain things by instinct. A bird's first nest is perfect as its last. Man is able to form judgments and recognize the law of causation. He can make combinations of abstract or general ideas. He puts these into practice and makes advancement. An animal can see the printed page the same as man, but it can never understand the significance of the words as does man, who reads the message and progresses from one state to another.
  7. Animals have determination but not self-determination. They do not have a conscious planning of movement toward a predetermined end.
  8. Animals do not have a religious nature. A dog may bite a man, but shows no evidence of being sorry for the act. Animals tremble and manifest fear in the presence of danger, but never show any reverence toward the Almighty, because they do not have a conscience nor a religious nature. Animal life is on a plane other than human life, although they run parallel at many points. An animal has a capacity only for those things which pertain to a fleshly nature. Man has a capacity for spiritual things and a yearning for his Creator. Man occupies a place of dignity and honor -- even now -- in the great economy of God. Respecting this great honor conferred upon us by our Creator, let none of us assume a false conclusion that there is a spark of divinity in the breast of each of us and that we, by our own efforts and intelligence, can develop into super men or demigods. This is contrary to God's revelation in scripture.

Anyway folks, to the thinking person it is apparent that man is made in the image of God, spiritually speaking. We definitely did not come from a primordial ooze and grow a tail and exist on the same plane as animals do. In fact we were created by a direct act of the living God, according to Scripture. Men may produce "theories" that say otherwise -- yet when I encounter them, I gently remind them that is what they are -- theories -- and I ask if they would like to look at some facts about man being created in the image of God. May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob do great things in you and through you in the week ahead, and may our daily devotionals bless and enrich your study and witness of God's way, truth and life in your world -In Jesus' name amen

In His Service,