O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

“Does Christ confer the Image of God upon man?”

 I want to piggy back off a series that Sam is posting on “Gordon H. Clark: The Definition of Man” and most importantly to the Biblical definition of man as regards the Image of God. I want to differentiate that a Biblical understanding of the “Image of God” in lieu of how it is to be understood through a philosophical application is helpful in understanding a primary theme of scripture.

The definition of Image of God starts in Genesis 1:26 with this profound statement.

Gen 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

I have attempted to establish beforehand that Genesis 1’s week of Days is a prophetic prologue describing the big picture view of the beginning and end of the First Heavens and Earth. The misapplication that most make concerning the Image and likeness of God to covenant man is that many believe that “The Image of God” was first established with Adam when it was not. Genesis 5:1 clearly demonstrates that the “Likeness” of God attribute was the first installment upon the First Covenant man. The accompanying “Image of God” was not established and confirmed until the time of the Parousia and the ultimate Sabbath rest when Christ the second Adam inferred the Spiritual Image of God upon the New Covenant man and thus completed that work through that consummation.

When does the NT scripture say that man was fully finished and created in God's Image? Let’s explore what the scriptures tell us about the details of the Image of God.

Gen 1:26 ..Then God said, "LET US make man in our image,

Col 1:15 He (Christ nv) is THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, the firstborn of all creation.

Rom 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON,

1Co 15:49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust,

2Co 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, … And WE ALL, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, ARE BEING TRANSFORMED INTO THE SAME IMAGE

2Co 4:4 …. of the glory of Christ, WHO IS THE IMAGE OF GOD.

Col 3:10 and have put on THE NEW SELF, which is being renewed in knowledge AFTER THE IMAGE OF ITS CREATOR.

Now how does this late addition of the Image of God tie in with Adam’s original Likeness? Let’s consider what Paul has to say about the difference between Adam’s covenant attribute of “Likeness” and the second Adam’s (Christ) attribute of the Spiritual.

1Co 15:46-49 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. (47) The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. (48) As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. (49) Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust,
we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

In other words it is not the Image that is first but just as Gen 5:1 state it was the “Likeness” attribute (natural) that was first established and then the finishing “Spiritual” Image of God.

Sam quoted Augustine in discussing the Image of Man so let’s take another look at how Augustine contextualized this discussion of the Image of God upon man. . From his following excerpt it becomes clear that Augustine saw the six Days as Six ages in which Christ is renewing our mind after the Image of HE who created us.

Tractate 9
“…the sixth, from John the Baptist to the end of the world. Moreover, God made man after His own image on the sixth day, because in this sixth age is manifested the renewing of our mind through the gospel, after the image of Him who created us; Colossians 3:10 …”

Augustine is not the only early church Father who perceived that Gen 1:26 was speaking of the Image of God as being the works of Christ the Son. Take a look at how the Barnabas Epistle from circa AD70 follows or actually precedes the same observation as did Augustine. Notice that Barnabas flat out says that the Gen 1:26 works of creating man is the finishing works of Christ.

Barnabas 6:11
Forasmuch then as He renewed us in the remission of sins, HE MADE US
TO BE A NEW TYPE, so that we should have the soul of children, as if
He were recreating us.

12 For the scripture saith concerning us, how He saith to the Son; Let
us make man after our image and after our likeness, and let them
rule over the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the heaven and
the fishes of the sea. And the Lord said when He saw the fair
creation of us men; Increase and multiply and fill the earth.

13 Again I will shew thee how the Lord speaketh concerning us. He made
a second creation at the last; and the Lord saith; Behold I make
the last things as the first. In reference to this then the
prophet preached; Enter into a land flowing with milk and honey,
and be lords over it.

14 Behold then WE HAVE BEEN CREATED ANEW, as He saith again in another
prophet; Behold, saith the Lord, I will take out from these, that
is to say, from those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, their
stony hearts, and will put into them hearts of flesh; for HE

Barnabas parallels Paul’s understanding of the first creation of Adam with the “stony heart” to be replaced with the new heart through Christ.

It’s disapointing that these early understandings of Christ and the Image of God have been lost through antiquity but we Preterist understand full well how the original understandings were often usurped over time to be replaced by misguided ones.

We embrace the Image of God when we embrace Christ and live in the New Heavens and Earth through His Spirit led life.


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Comment by jjkratt on November 16, 2009 at 6:44pm
I goofed up and posted on your other blog Norm about Adam and death to all men. Like I said there, I think this is all interrelated anyway. Here is my post. Hope this isn't too redundant.

Here is my post.

Norm, I think you are correct in your assessment here. I think Genesis 5 is very important when discussing this topic:

Genesis 5:1-3 ESV This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man [Adam-jk], he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man [Adam-jk] when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

Adam was created [bara] in the "likeness of God". Adam fathered a son in his own likeness, not in the likeness of God. This is the perpetuation of the covenant line of Adam, the expansion of the covenant body of the death, to await its resurrection transformation of the natural [corporate] man under law, sin, and death, to the spiritual [corporate] man Christ, redeemed from the law, the sin, and the death.

The image of God as you showed was only to be obtained through Christ who as you pointed out is the One who has the image of God and bestows it to us through his righteousness.

This also goes to the heart of the doctrine of unconditional immortality of man. The only text that can really be used to support that man (human kind) has an "immortal" soul regardless of putting on Christ is this one here in Gen 1:26. But that is circular reasoning for one has to assume (eisegesis) that into the text. Especially when it becomes clear that only Christ has immortality (1 Timothy 6:16; 2 Timothy 1:10) and at the resurrection he bestowed immortality upon his bride, his body (1 Cor. 15:53, 54).

This all seems to tie in very well with the overall story of resurrection in 1 Cor 15. The only other possible understanding I can get from this text is that Adam was given the "image" when placed into a special covenant-relationship in the garden but lost it at the fall. Christ "Restores" what Adam lost. Adam still would have been created in the "likeness" of God as all mankind is but the specific "image" was lost at the fall and only regained in Christ through his accomplished work of redemption.

What is interesting here is that "Adam" is used specifically in certain contexts as opposed to the other Hebrew words for "man" revealed in Hebrew scriptures. I think that should be a clue for understanding Adam in Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15 as representative of "covenant" man in the body of sin and death for violation of the commandment. Those outside the covenant were in darkness just as they are now. The fitting analogy for me is (a) utter darkness for those outside the covenant (mankind that Adam was pulled from and put into a relationship), (b) moonlit shadowy light at night for those in the old covenant body of death, and (c) those living in the sunlight (Son, the true light) of the eternal Day.

Comment by Norm on November 17, 2009 at 5:52pm

Yes I think we are essentially on the same page on Gen 1:26.

As far as the Likeness and Image are concerned there is no doubt that one needs to be careful in reading too much into things. I will briefly lay out why I lean toward the idea that there is a difference between Likeness and Image.

1 We know that they cannot mean exactly the same as Likeness being just another word for Image would render the Image of God through Christ a moot discussion as it was imbued upon Adam from the beginning and we know that Seth received the same attribute assigned to him in Gen 5:3. So Likeness is also a Covenant designation that IMHO is basically consisting of the attributes that Paul describes of Adam in 1 Cor 15:45-49

1Co 15:45-49 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (46) But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. (47) The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. (48) As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. (49) Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. 50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. … 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

Adam’s attributes (likeness)
Living being
Man of dust
Flesh and blood

Those whom Paul was addressing bore these same attributes before their receiving the Spiritual man’s attribute of Immortality. So like Seth, Paul was a progeny of the image of Adam which conferred the Likeness of God upon them.

2nc Adam’s (Christ) attributes (Image of God)
Life giving Spirit

One other quick reason is that from my detailed word studies of Genesis I find that the author would not throw around words indiscriminately. Words for the Hebrews were highly specific in ways that most biblical readers do not realize. There was a reason that both words were included in Gen 1:26 and its up to us to determine as best we can from scripture what that purpose was.

Comment by Tami on November 17, 2009 at 6:26pm
Well, Norm, I see that we are definitely reading 1 Corinthians 15 in harmony....and even at the same time! :)

"Likeness" being a "covenant designation" is certainly worth consideration.
Comment by Tami on November 17, 2009 at 7:55pm
Jerel wrote:

The fitting analogy for me is (a) utter darkness for those outside the covenant (mankind that Adam was pulled from and put into a relationship), (b) moonlit shadowy light at night for those in the old covenant body of death, and (c) those living in the sunlight (Son, the true light) of the eternal Day.

That fits perfectly with the purpose for which the sun and moon were created, as stated in the Genesis creation account and restated using Genesis creation language by Paul. And of course with the fact that there is no more need for the sun or moon in the New Jerusalem, because there is no more night there.
Comment by Tami on November 17, 2009 at 9:26pm
(had to repost this--now out of order--to fix a really hideous looking typo, sorry):

1 Corinthians 15 and the heavenly image (or "image of Christ" per 2 Corinthians 3):

In this passage we see a contrast between the "natural" and the "spiritual." We've proven before that "natural" is not a reference to physicality ( Jason Bradfield, Sharon Nichols and others have misquoted this by stating, "first the physical, then the spiritual," when the text says no such thing). Nor is the phrase "flesh and blood" referring to the physical body. Those still stuck in a physical paradigm here, and who are holding to a physical definition of either the term "natural" or "flesh and blood" will not be able to follow this discussion.

"Natural" is however, a reference to Adam in his original created state:

1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Of course we recognize immediately that Paul is directly referring to the creation account in Genesis 2:

Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

So we see that it is irrefutable that the "natural" man who was made a "living soul" (which is representative of the corporate/covenantal body) is a reference to Adam's state ***before the fall***. Pause here, it's important.

Now we move on in the context to see the characteristics of the natural contrasted to the characteristics of the spiritual:

Natural (Adam)--image of the earthy (remember, this describes Adam before he fell):
of the earth, earthy

Spiritual (Christ)-image of the heavenly:
the Lord from Heaven

Paul says, And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Question: Someone who holds the view that Adam was created with the image of God--the heavenly, incorruptible, immortal image of Christ--please show this from the text of Scripture, in agreement with this passage in 1 Corinthians 15. That is the question I am laying on the table.

OR, if you make a distinction between "image of God" and "image of Christ," please show support for that distinction in the Scripture.



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