The subject of the image of God is an interesting and, at the same time, relevant issue for Christians. Without getting into much detail, the Bible teaches the following as it relates to the image of God:
-Man was originally created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27)
-Sin corrupted the image of God in man (Genesis 3)
-We still possess the image of God to some degree (Genesis 9:6, James 3:9)
-Christ is the perfect image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4, Hebrews 1:3)
-Christians are being transformed into the complete image of God (2 Cor 3:18)
-Someday we will once again be in His image (1 John 3:2)
While each of these statements are critical, there is one that is often overlooked, IE that people today still possess the image of God. We are still Image Bearers. Admittedly, not to the degree that Adam was before the fall, but all men still possess the image of God to some degree. That’s why the Old Testament penalty for murder was death – murder is not only the destruction of a life but it is the destruction of the image of God (Genesis 9:6).
The issue of the image of God is not simply a theoretical nor theological one. It is very much at the heart of the Christian faith. Our message is one of redemption, that is, redeeming that which was lost so that it becomes that which God intended. What was lost was the image of God which resulted in a loss of fellowship and relationship with God. Redemption is about Christ who is the perfect image of God (see above) coming to die so that man can be forgiven and started on the road that will lead to a perfectly restored image of God.
But the restoration of the image of God does not stop at salvation. It has profound implications for how we interact in a variety of areas of life such the treatment of diseases, the environment, education, poverty, missions, entertainment, and relationships. Every area of life was adversely affected by the fall and every area of life needs to be redeemed so that the image of God is on perfect display. If the glory of God is the chief end of man (Westminster Shorter Catechism, 1 Corinthians 10:31) it is through the restoration of the image of God that His glory is best revealed.
And that is our responsibility as Image Bearers – to restore the image of God in every area of life to what it should be – all the while knowing that it is a process that will finally be completed in eternity. But that does not stop us now because it is a process of infinite worth as it relates to both God’s general creation and to man His special creation.
Stay in the Word