Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
So God created man in His own image;
He created him in the image of God;
He created them male and female. (Genesis 1:26-27)
Imago Dei is the Latin translation of “Image of God” as found in Genesis in the creation story.
The Hebrew language of verse 27 makes it clear that God’s image in mankind depicts humanity as distinct from animals. It is only regarding the creation of mankind that God says, “Let us make man in our own image,” and God only directly breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 1:26, 2:7).
Everything in the text of Genesis 1 and 2 denotes the intimate actions of God in creating mankind (both the first man and the first woman) compared to the general nature of creating everything else.
Mankind was uniquely made in the image of God as part of His original “very good” created order. He could make his own decisions. God choose that for man. He gave them dominion over the earth and all its inhabitants. It was a perfect life in paradise.
The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)
There were two trees in the garden. The first was the Tree of Life (a symbol of the Holy Spirit). The second was the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil (a symbol of the law). This was the only tree in the garden that God told them they were not to eat the fruit of. There was no sin until Eve was tempted by Satan (an evil angel) to eat the forbidden fruit of that tree.
Adam followed her in the sin of disobedience to God. They knew they had rebelled. They lost their innocence and realized that they were naked. They covered their nakedness with fig leaves. That is when man first sinned (disobeyed the known will of God).
The image of God in Man was disfigured at the Fall.
God had to sacrifice an animal to cover their sin and nakedness. This was the first sacrifice to cover sin, and a lesson from God that the payment for sin will always be death. They died spiritually and morally and where alienated from God. They transmitted their sin nature to all of their offspring. Since then, sin has remained in the world, all people are sinners, and death remains the punishment for sin.
About two thousand years ago, God the Father sent Jesus Christ (the Son of God) into the world so that the world might be saved through Jesus. Jesus is the Word, which was with God in the beginning, and was God. The Word was made flesh by God causing an Israelite virgin named Mary to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Mary was the mother of this child, but there was no earthly father who had caused her to become pregnant. This child was named Jesus. He was the Son of God, who had now become fully human as well. Many years before Jesus appeared on the earth, there had been prophecies which foretold of him. While on the earth, he fulfilled all the prophecies concerning him.
At that time John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan River for repentance of sins. Jesus came to him and asked to be baptized. When John did this, a voice from heaven spoke and said, “This is My Son, in whom I am well pleased!” John declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
By the power of God, Jesus performed many miracles. Some of these miracles included healing all kinds of diseases, bringing dead people back to life, casting out demons, controlling the weather, walking on water, and turning water into wine.
Jesus showed people that God loved them. He taught them to love God and to love one another. He is the King of the kingdom of heaven and his kingdom is not of this world. Jesus had many disciples who followed him, men and women. He chose twelve to be apostles (leaders). He preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven to people. Those who believe in Jesus and do the will of God will enter his kingdom. He taught people to lay up their treasures in heaven, not on earth where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break through and steal. He taught them how to pray and ask for what they or others needed. And he told them they could have victorious lives through faith in Him.
Jesus lived a perfect life and did not sin. There were some people who did not like what Jesus was doing and plotted to have Him crucified. He was scourged, mocked, and hung on a cross until he died. Then, he was placed in a tomb. Just like the Passover lambs were offered and their blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin, Jesus was offered and his blood was shed. His perfect sacrifice was better than an animal sacrifice and by the shedding of his blood came the forgiveness of sins for all people once and forever.
Jesus paid the price for all mankind when he suffered on the cross. He took on himself the rebellion and sin of all mankind from the past, present and future. So, even we have caused him the pain he suffered. He was the final sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice for all time. No longer did man have to sacrifice animals to cover their sin because his ultimate sacrifice PAID the price for all time.
To be a member of the family of God takes care of our sin problem.
Sin is a reality that is only solved by the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ who is the very image of God. Through Christ alone we can be made right before God and conform to the image of His Son that we were originally created to be.
When we are born again as Sons of God, our Imago Dei is restored. We automatically receive an inheritance in Christ.
Jesus described to Paul what his ministry would be in Acts 26:18:
“to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an INHERITANCE among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
Ephesians 1:11: “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance.”
Hebrews 9:15: “He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death… that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance”
Galatians 3:26-29: “For you are all SONS of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and HEIRS according to the promise.”
Galatians 4:4-7: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are SONS, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a SON, and if a SON, then an HEIR of God through Christ.”
1Peter 1:3,4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an INHERITANCE incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”
Colossians 1:12,13: “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the INHERITANCE of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
Romans 8:15-17: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if CHILDREN, then HEIRS—HEIRS of God and joint HEIRS with Christ.”
When He gave His life on the cross for our transgressions, we were then able to enter into the Family of the Most High God!
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)
If you are not sure that you are a member of the family of God, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:
“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”