Alfred Place Baptist Church

2:4-7 The Creation of man

Genesis 2:4-7 “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens – and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground – the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Genesis chapter one centres upon Gods work of creating the whole universe. Genesis chapter two focuses on the place man has in the earth. In Genesis 1:1 the order is heavens and the earth but in Genesis 2:4 the order is the earth and the heavens. In the first chapter the activity embraces the entire cosmos, in the second chapter the activity centres on Gods making of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. We have been given the setting for the creation of man, and now that is to be described in fuller fascinating detail.

So this is a new section and we are made aware of it by Moses writing, This is the account of . . . something (v.4). It is a common heading in the book of Genesis. It is saying that this is a new genealogy, literally, a new begetting, a new chapter in this history. In it we are going to hear much of the LORD God. This title for the Almighty, Jehovah God, occurs twenty times in Genesis chapters two and three, but in all the rest of Moses writings it is found in a single place.

Verses four, five and six are not straightforward and let me briefly give you my understanding of them. Moses seems to be referring back to the third day of creation. On the second day the sky and the seas were made. On the third day the continents of the earth were created and the plants covered them, but Moses is telling us in verse 5 that two kinds of plant had not yet appeared, the shrub of the field and the plant of the field. They could not appear yet because of the absence of two things. Firstly, showers of rain on the desert would be needed to create the shrub of the field because they are the type of plants that rapidly spring up in a wilderness after rain, but there was no rain yet. Then secondly men would be needed to cultivate the plant of the field; these are what we can call Garden crops, thinking of the great plantation that was soon to be made and called the Garden of Eden as the county of Kent is dubbed the Garden of England. But there were no crops yet because there was no man to tend them; there were no grain fields, just wild vegetation. So we are faced with the absence of two necessities; waters to make the crops grow, and man to cultivate them; the Lord God must create man, and he must also send forth the rain. Both those problems are dealt with in our text.

Firstly, something translated in the N.I.V. as a stream would rise up from the earth which would water the ground. This is a rare word; it occurs in only one other place in the entire Bible and its meaning is just as perplexing there. The word could also be translated as rain clouds, or a mist, or as a flow, or as waters of the deep. What is made clear is that there is one God in the whole world who creates and commands forth these waters, and that is Jehovah God. He has to send them forth and create fertility and life. It is not Baal the Canaanite storm god who does that. The one living Jehovah God sends rain upon Canaan, and this will be seen one day in the contest on Mount Carmel between the prophets of Baal and Elijah. Who will hear from heaven his servants prayers and send forth the rain? So, firstly, the absence of rain is answered by God causing these waters to come forth. Then secondly man himself must be created and this also is dealt with. We are told, the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (v.7). So let us proceed to examine the distinct creation of man. It is also the opportunity for us to embrace those features from the first chapter which we temporarily laid aside. That man is a special creation of God is underlined in a number of ways.

1. MANS CREATION WAS DISTINCTIVE IN THE DIVINE COUNSELS THAT FIRST OCCURRED.

And God said, Let us make man (Gen.1:26). The word create has been used sparingly in this chapter, just in verses on and also verse twenty-one, but now in the creation of human beings the word appears three times in one verse (v.27). In all the earlier acts of creation before this God simply gave the command. And God said, Let there be . . . and there was . . . But when it came to the creation of man God, as it were, paused and deliberated with himself saying, Let us make man. It was not that he gave a command to the earth, Let the earth bring forth man as it had been with the living creatures (vv. 20 and 24). Gods approach to mans creation was with the weightiest consideration. Something extraordinary is going to be made. God was preoccupied with what he was about to create when comparing a human being to all the other creatures in heaven and earth which hed made. Man from his origin was not on a par with the other creatures. There was the distinctiveness of God speaking when he said, Let us make man.

2. MANS CREATION WAS DISTINCTIVE IN THE NATURE MAN WAS GIVEN.

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness (Gen. 1:26). This phrase is unparalleled in the rest of Gods creative acts. Everything else God formed was made after their kind. Look at verses 24 and 25 of the first chapter, And God said, Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind. And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. On five occasions we read the phrase according to their kinds; it means in accordance with Gods design for these creatures, and then we come to the creation of man. What a change! What a radical differentiation from all the other forms of life, man not made according to his kind. Yes, there is a kind, that is, a template and an exemplar that God has for the man he plans to make, but it is not some likeness God has considered, the pattern is God himself! Mans identity consists of Gods own image; it is that which belongs to God intrinsically. This creature is going to be made like ME!, God determines. Man is made in the very image of this mighty God of Genesis one and two! What an endowment! What dignity! When David the psalmist thinks of that he is constrained to cry, What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour (Psa. 8:4&5).

Now what does it mean that man is made in the image of God? Is the man in the street today made in the image of God? The psychopath, or the drunkard, or the atheist? Yes, he is. The image is marred and defaced, like the castle in Aberystwyth, utterly ruined, but a ruined castle, not a ruined cottage. Men have lost their original righteousness through the fall of their father Adam and their own sin but the image has not been totally obliterated. Traces of the divine image remain even in serial rapist, a Hitler and a Mao Tse-Tung. For example, we see in chapter nine of Genesis and verse six these words, Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. The horror of murder is this that it is the destruction of someone made in Gods likeness. Then we must ask what elements of the image of God remain in man? Let me select four;

i] Firstly, knowledge. Men have a mind and a conscience. Yes a great deal has been lost. Mans intellect has been disordered. Man is often mistaken as to matters of fact, origin, purpose, destiny. Man is fallacious in his reasoning, but he is still a rational being; he is capable of investigation, of forensic science, or deliberation, or maintaining the rule of law. He may be a competent scientist, a brilliant reporter, worthy of credit in his field as those politicians of whom Paul wrote, the powers that be are ordained of God. The theory of relativity is not invalid simply because Einstein was an agnostic Jew.

Every human being knows the rudiments of the moral law. He knows the wrongfulness of pornography, theft, betrayal and greed. The Romans knew that even as they practised their perversions those who did such things were worthy of death. Felix was not uncomprehending or blasé when Paul reasoned with him of righteousness, self-control and judgment to come. He trembled because his conscience told him Paul was right. He knew! His tragedy was how to stop doing what was wrong and do what was right.

Man knows that the world was made by an omnipotent and glorious God. He understands that truth from the things around him which have the handiwork of God all over them (Roms. 1:20). The sunsets over the Irish Sea and the flight of the flocks of starlings both tell him of the living Creator who made them, but he refuses to glorify God as Creator. He clamps down on this truth in his unrighteousness. He knows the being, the power, the goodness and the wrath of God. That is part of the ineradicable mental equipment of every human being, but he suppresses and distorts this knowledge. He says, I will not have this God rule over me. The unbelief of men and women who have long sat under a biblical ministry is not due to their ignorance of the Christian message but to their disobedience and defiance. So the fact that men are made in the image of God means that men do have knowledge.

ii] Secondly, freedom. Men possess a vestigial freedom. God freely created all things. Of course, in his natural state man suffers from the bondage of the will. His will tells him to reject Christ, ignore the Bible, never think of his eternal soul, dismiss any thoughts of prayer, never question what lies beyond death, and never to seek to know God for himself. Man, the slave to King Sin, resolutely obeys his master. Galatians 3:22, But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin. You understand man freely submits to sin. He chooses to do so. He is not programmed to respond at the touch of a button. He has not been computerized. He makes his own decision to have nothing to do with his God. He is a free agent acting under no external compulsion. He is not being forced to say no to Jesus Christ. There is no absolute necessity to reject the gospel. This is his own free choice.

You understand how important this is. It is not because of mans animal ancestry that men kill other men. It is not some necessary stage in humankinds development. It is not because of glandular reactions or other purely biological phenomena. Christians are no friends of determinists. Christians do not parrot the words whatever will be will be. Yes, all our lives as believers have been determined by the loving fore-ordination of our Father in heaven. We sing,

His decrees who formed the earth
Fixed my first and second birth;
Parents, native place, and time,
All appointed were by Him.

Times the tempters power to prove;
Times to taste the Saviours love;
All must come, and last, and end,
As shall please my heavenly Friend.

Plagues and deaths around me fly;
Till He bids, I cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit. (John Ryland, 1753-1825)

That, however, is very different from saying that my life is mapped out for me by remorseless factors in the environment like the influences of my parents, and working conditions, and companions, and education, and the political leaders that mapped out my society and its values. None of those factors forced me to lie and cheat and kill and rape. I did that. I freely chose to do those things. Everything is gone if we throw out mans freedom. Morality is gone if everything is determined and we are mere puppets. We are not prisoners of fate. Hold fast to the doctrine of mans freedom!

If you ignore this then you diminish mans sense of responsibility. What a baleful effect that will have on crime and punishment. In Genesis three we are presented with man in the most perfect of environments and we see him falling into sin. Later on in this book we are presented with young Joseph far from home, meeting the seductions of a married woman and saying no. He overcame temptation and maintained his integrity in a very hostile environment. I am saying that your guilt and shame cannot be off loaded onto other factors. Pleading, The devil made me do it is thrown out of court. You cannot plead the pressures of your companions or your own personality or your genetic inheritance. It is possible to transcend all those pressures. Your guilt is yours! You answer to God. You minimize that and imperil the dignity of man. We refuse to stand before a man found guilty of a crime and say, He is not to be punished. He cannot help it. What he needs is treatment. Inject him and brainwash him. That is a gross insult. Yes, there are a tiny group of mentally deranged individuals who cannot even plead in a court of law, but the vast majority of law breakers are dignified men who when caught suffer just retribution. We ask from the legal system that the offender receive precisely the punishment his crime deserves, and when he has served his sentence that he be freed again, his debt paid.

iii] Thirdly, the image of God in man means that man retains an aesthetic sense, in other words, man has a sense of beauty; he can create and appreciate form and sound and can respond to it. That is how temptation came to Eve, when she saw that the tree was pleasing to the eye (Gen. 3:6). But dangerous it is man has a sense of beauty; it is a veritable powder keg. Nevertheless tribute is paid in Exodus to a man called Bezaleel whose gifts were especially in these areas, that God; has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts – to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship (Ex. 31:2).

We cannot ignore that aspect of human personality, for example in our evangelism. We are talking about how we can better advertise a visit to Aberystwyth of a Christian named Sam Rotman whom I baptized when he was converted 35 years ago. He was then a student at the New York Julliard School of Music and he is going to speak and play the piano for us later next month. It is an evening with an artistic emphasis and so wed like the invitations to reflect the fact that we are not philistines, and a number of suggestions have already been made. The people reading them and coming along will not be Christians but they will have an aesthetic sense because they are made in the image of God.

Of course God overrules the ugliness of our presentation as he does the errors of our doctrine but that justifies neither. What care is shown these days in printing books. The dust-jackets are attractive, and the type face is large, and the margins are wide. We are not to be obsessed with these things but we are not to ignore them either. Hugh Miller said that the first essential of a book is that it be interesting enough to be read, and for judging a preacher that his sermons be sufficiently engaging that people will attentively listen to him. Without that all the merit of his orthodoxy and righteousness is of little avail.

But isnt the history of this town a warning against the dangers of magnifying the aesthetic sense? This is a community which in 1859 was the centre for a great work of God in Wales. It is not such a community today. Other gods are worshipped today, but there is no redemption in the National Library of Wales, it is only in Christ. There is no salvation in the Arts Centre. There is no birth from above at the University. There is no divine conversion in writing, sculpting, painting, composing and playing. They are not mans chief end. We are not to live for those things. Culture is not our religion; the worst crime is not to be philistine. How many are utterly blinded by their appreciation of beauty of form? We know that that attractiveness and style can serve to obscure the evil of the content. It encourages a godless message to be received because the package in which it was offered was attractive. Much contemporary literature and television is basically degrading.

All works of art have a message and the nature of that message is an important factor in the evaluation of the work as a whole. In the parables and discourses of our Lord, in the poetry of Isaiah and David, in the narratives of Luke and in the epistles of Paul, beauty is the handmaid of truth. Goyas genius proclaims the brutality of war. Shakespeare’s analyses the subtleties of the human heart. Pascals exposes the sophistries of the Jesuits. In Bunyan, Chalmers and Spurgeon art is wedded to the theology of the Reformation. But modern art proclaims with almost unanimous voice the tenets of ungodliness, and if we apply aesthetic criteria alone the evil goes undetected. Novelists, dramatists and poets have consecrated their genius to the commendation of secularism, permissiveness, violence and despair and the beauty of the form is too often used to excuse the obscenity of the substance. For them it is enough that the work is well-written. It is irrelevant that it degrades. In this situation we must realize, first of all, how easily and how totally we [and our children] are influenced by what we see and read; and [to quote Eliot again] that it is just the literature that we read for amusement or purely for pleasure that may have the greatest and least suspected influence upon us. Hence it is that the influence of popular novelists, and of popular plays of contemporary life, requires to be scrutinised most closely.

So far as scrutinising them most closely is concerned, the important point is that literary and aesthetic criteria are not enough. We need more than the assurance, It is well-written. We must ask, What is the message? And we must evaluate the message in the light of ethical and religious considerations. We must tirelessly criticise it, wrote Eliot, according to our own principles, and not merely according to the principles admitted by the writers and by the critics who discuss it in the public press. (Donald Macleod, Gods Image in Man, Banner of Truth, issue 122, November 1973, p. 13).

iv] Fourthly, the image of God in man shows itself in relationality, in other words, mans capacity to experience close communion with other people. There have been great friendships in the world, like Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, and Coleridge and Wordsworth. One hears of the contemporary friendship of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in Los Angeles. In the church there have been friendships like David and Jonathan, Paul and Timothy, or William Cowper and Morley Unwin. How precious are our friends. Yesterdays newspapers with their lonely hearts pages, show us men and women advertising for a companion. The first article of the Christian faith is that God is one, but the one God is not solitary. He is triune; there is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is reflected in the life of man. It is not good for a person to be alone. Take community away from him and he will be the most miserable of creatures. Of course people are affected by sin in each part of their beings but they are yet capable of natural affection. Husbands and wives are bound together in the commitment of total, permanent and exclusive love. Sacrifices are made for children. Obedience is rendered to parents. There are many super non-Christian marriages. There are some struggling Christian marriages. All men and women are made in the image of God and so are built for other people.

The longing for communion shows itself in the fellowship of Christian believers who come together for mutual support and affection. That is why a division in a church destroys peace of mind, takes sleep away, ruins the lives of many in the congregation because we need the friendship of the family of faith. The loneliness of man is one of the basic characteristics that the Gospel addresses. In the world he find competition, rivalry, prejudice and animosity. A man finds Christ and finds at the same time the fellowship of those who are also finders. The church is a healing community. Its ethos and influences should be ruthlessly sanctifying. The victims of a callous society should find acceptance, and love, and sympathy. To the Christian not only Christ is precious, the congregation, the body of Christ is precious too. But most of all we are made for communion with God. This was the original relationship, one of peace and love, but its disruption hasn’t destroyed mans need for it. God has made us for himself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in him. Come to me and I will give you rest, say the Son of God.

3. MANS CREATION WAS DISTINCTIVE IN THE LORDSHIP WITH WHICH MAN WAS INVESTED.

Let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground (v.26). All the animals, and birds and fish and insects have been made. Finally man is made and given dominion over them. Man is the image of God. Since God is sovereign then mans likeness to God involves the exercise of a corresponding sovereignty. He is Gods vicegerent because he is like God. King of all upon earth, but subject to the King above. It is impossible to consider man on a par with other animals. In a multitude of ways God has made him different from them and given him authority over them. In his very anatomy this is evident. You have thought how mans hands are unique; the tip of each of our fingers is able to touch the tip of the thumb, and the thumb itself can move across the palm of the hand to point to each finger. This is a star feature of the human hand. Man alone has a hand like that. Again, man walks on two legs not four so the foot has a large surface of contact with the ground; the hip socket is in a different place in man. Man stands erect; his back bone is vertical not horizontal. Man has frontal vision to see the way he is going. Man has an enlarged brain, and a reduced jaw and weaker teeth, fewer in number. His body is hairless; his palate is domed shaped like a letter C. When God made man he made all these features together. They are the features needed for dominion over every other creature before we consider mans superior intelligence and powers of concentration.

4. MANS CREATION WAS DISTINCTIVE IN THE PROCEDURES GOD ADOPTED IN FORMING MAN.

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Gen. 2:7). In Genesis 1 we have a big sweeping panorama; mans place is set in the whole of creation. In Genesis 2 we have a more detailed account of the making of both man and woman and there is a certain order; man was made first without Eve. There is no hint of that in Genesis 1. So here in Genesis 2 we are given details which are not present in the account of mans creation in Genesis 1. So what is the distinctiveness of the formation of man?

i] Man was made from the dust of the ground, that is, from previously created stuff. Man was not made out of nothing but God took existing material and formed Adam from it. Mans very constitution is the ground on which we stand. God later said famously to man, Dust thou art. So, as a result, man has an affinity with the ground which is beneath his feet to till and dress it and from which he will cause the crops to grow. There is no discrepancy between us and our environment. If we were set down in Venus or Neptune there would be impossible discontinuity between ourselves and those planets. It is not like that for man on this earth. Men who work on the land and even possess their own land have a noted affinity with it. They will hold a handful of soil and let it run through their fingers. I was once in dry Kenya, and rain clouds gathered for hours and finally the heavens opened and down came the prayed for rain. The farmer I was staying with couldn’t contain himself; out he walked into the rain and around his garden soaked through to see the impact it was having on his land and crops. If there was complete disparity between man and the dust of the ground how incongruous would be mans habitat and environment. We would be aliens on this planet.

Man also has an affinity with other creatures, because we are told in verse 19 in this second chapter that the LORD God also formed from the ground every beast of the field and every fowl of the heaven. They too were made from the ground. Man was made from the dust of the ground. There is that little distinction in the wording but I don’t know what it signifies. So there are going to be similarities between man and the beasts of the field. God does not spread diversity unnecessarily and so we will find such an interesting likeness as this, that the heart of a sheep or the heart of a pig is virtually identical to our hearts, and that an animals heart valve can be transplanted to a human being and function in us – with the help of various chemicals – for many years. We would expect to find that some animals, like monkeys, have certain other resemblances of various kinds to man. We were designed and made by the same Creator from the same ground, so it would be unusual if it were not so.

ii] What else was distinctive in the making of man was that God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Gen. 2:7). Now we are being told how different man is from the animals. There is a dimension of being truly human which you cannot attribute at all to any parallels with the animals. For man there was an interposition of the most intimate kind. God held the man he had formed to himself, and almost embraced him, virtually giving to him the kiss of life. Man was not alive until that moment; he was still inanimate dust of the earth until that inbreathing occurred. He became a living creature then, when the breath of God entered him, and not before. God did not work on previously breathing stuff. Livingness came when God inbreathed him. In fact he was not a man without the breath of God. God could not talk to him; man could not understand and obey and love God until first God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Adam then could stand and look around and examine all the other creatures God had made from the dust of the ground, but he couldn’t find one counterpart in all the animals of the earth. There was no helper suitable to man. So we have no hint here that for a long time there was other creatures, similar to men, alive and manlike, and that then God worked on one of these pre-humanoids in a second stage of creation and made a man out of this earlier creature. Adam was not alive and he was not a man until God did one work in the dust of the ground breathing into its nostrils the breath of life. Then he became both alive and a man. In one divine action this occurred.

By a divine exhalation alone you can account for the nature of man; you cannot explain the extraordinary phenomenon of man by reference to other kinds of being like insects and reptiles and fish and birds and animals. You may find interesting congruities but nothing in them can tell us what man is without this distinctive divine creation. Mans origin was due to a special act of God in his image and likeness. A process of evolution by forces and potencies resident in the lower forms of life cannot by itself account for the apostle Paul, Galileo, Shakespeare, Mozart, Rembrandt, Sir Isaac Newton or Jesus of Nazareth. We readily acknowledge that there is development within species. We must do that. There were two dogs taken onto the ark and today there are several hundred breeds of dogs of all shapes and sizes as they have evolved in different ways. There is a potency within creation itself to evolve by its own power, and that is the theory of evolution. But once you speak of a divine act coming upon the stuff then you are no longer speaking of evolution; you are speaking of the power of the Creator. There is this evolution; there is creation; but there is not creation by evolution. Man himself owes his unique knowledge and freedom and aesthetic sense and community awareness to the fact that God made him in his image from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Before that he was not alive; before that he was not a man.

What a disaster Darwins theory of human origins has been. It contradicts the Bible, and even so, evolutionism has many supporters in the professing church. This past week the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, deplored the teaching of creationism in schools. Charles Darwin was praised in his own lifetime by many church officials, and when he died, he was buried with great pomp in Londons Westminster Abbey even though Darwin was not a Christian and did not pretend to be. He described himself as agnostic and said, I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, and therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

David Feddes has pointed out how one of the first preachers to believe Darwin was Charles Kingsley, the author of edifying moral tales for children. He was renowned as a social activist, author, professor, chaplain to the queen, and canon of Westminster. Kingsley said he was in awe of Darwins theory, even though it meant, as he put it, I must give up much that I have believed. He tried to blend Darwinism with his own version of Anglicanism, known as muscular Christianity. Kingsley taught that humans evolved from apes and later received a divine spark, which enabled us to keep making more and more progress toward Gods pattern of perfection. But what if some people groups did not evolve as far as others, had no divine spark, and couldn’t grasp the gospel of progress? The Black People of Australia, exactly the same race as the African Negro, cannot take in the Gospel, said Kingsley. All attempts to bring them to a knowledge of the true God have as yet failed utterly. . . Poor brutes in human shape. . . they must perish off the face of the earth like brute beasts.

Those racist words upset John Paton. Unlike Kingsley, Paton was not a powerful figure in society He was just a humble, godly missionary who knew his Bible and personally knew people whom Kingsley had labeled poor brutes in human shape. What Paton saw among these people, he said, would shatter to pieces everything that the famous preacher had proclaimed. Paton told how thousands of cannibals were transformed into wise, loving people by believing the Bibles message of salvation through faith in Jesus. Many went on to be preachers and teachers. Why had they formerly been barbaric and murderous? Not because they hadn’t evolved far enough beyond apes but because they were sinners who did not trust or obey their Creator. They didnt need to be dismissed as animals. They just needed Jesus and the Bible. They needed to know that they were created in Gods image, that sin had marred Gods image in them, and that Jesus had come to save them from their sin and make Gods image shine in them again.

Ironically, today’s barbarians who seem least able to accept the gospel have white skin. Throughout Britain, western Europe, and among North Americas intellectual elite, a superstitious faith in evolution blinds many to the gospel. Meanwhile, throughout the world, people with darker skin – far from being too primitive to grasp the gospel – are flocking to Christ by the millions. The apostle Peter was right when he said, God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right (Acts 10:34-35). Its not race or class but faith and obedience that matter most.

The gospel is the same for all. It begins by teaching that all humans have the same origin: we are descendants of Adam and Eve, created to image God and to rule creation on Gods behalf. Our spiritual dimension, our mental ability, our emotions, our capacity for relationships, our position as the crown of creation, even our bodies – all these are part of what it means to be human and to image God. Herman Bavinck writes, Among creatures human nature is the supreme and most perfect revelation of God. We all have the same origin, and we all have the same problem: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We have rebelled against God, defiled and defaced his image in us, and despised and degraded others created in Gods image. The gospel also presents us all with the same solution: faith in the perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus. The gospel embraces rich and poor, genius and mentally disabled, infant and elderly, male and female of every nation or shade of skin. Scripture says we all must be saved through the blood of one man, Jesus Christ, the man who perfectly images God and is himself divine. With his blood, he purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. . . And they will reign on the earth (Revelation 5:9-10).

Finally, the gospel says that anyone who trusts in the crucified and risen Christ has the same future: to become like Christ, who is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), and to rule with him over his new creation. By Gods Holy Spirit, each believer is born again with a new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Colossians 3:10). Believe this gospel, and you may be sure that the God who first created humanity in his image will perfect his image in you, that you may glorify God and enjoy him forever (David Feddes, The Radio Pulpit Back to God Hour, Vol. 45, No. 10, Creations Crown, October 2000, pp. 14-17).

Geoff Thomas