In Genesis 1:26, “God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness (Hebrew root dama, from which we get ADAM).
What does the Bible mean by man being created in the image, in the likeness of God? What is certain – if we accept that God is Spirit (of course, when the Word was made flesh,the picture changes) – is that man is composite of spirit and flesh, while God is pure Spirit. What is important is that Genesis 1:26 does not specify what it means by man as the “image of God.” If, however, we examine the rest of scripture, the following human attributes emerge, which man shares with God: creativity, power to reason, power to make decisions, moral conscience and personal relationships. These are called the communicable attributes of God. The attributes that God does not share with man are God’s incommunicable attributes, for example, his omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful) and eternality (no beginning), immutability (unchanging).
1. God occupies the large grey section and the blue section. God is Spirit (John 4:24); the Bible doesn’t say more about the “composition” of God’s Being. Two important features of (God is a) “Spirit”:A. The spirit does no consist in material or bodily parts (flesh) (Jeremiah 10:1-16 and Luke 24:39). You can’t imagine Jesus before he took on flesh. B. Spirit is personal, rational (distinguishes between true and false) moral (distinguishess between right and wrong), and self-conscious. (See Francis Schaeffer – 50 minutes into the lecture). Man’s spirit shares A and B with God(‘s Spirit).
2. Man’s spirit occupies the blue section.
3. Man’s flesh occupies the lilac section.
4. The blue shaded area contains the shared (spiritual) attributes.
The term“attribute” has at least two meanings:
- A noun: “characteristic,” “property,,” “quality.”
- A verb: “to ascribe.”
In an nutshell, God creates man. Man, as is true of all creatures, has attributes. God created man in His image, which means that God gave (“communicated”) certain of His attributes to man.
We distinguish between three kinds of human image of God:
- Before the Fall, in the Garden of Eden Only two human beings are involved: Adam and Eve.
- After the Fall, outside the Garden of Eden, which comprises all human beings.
- Also after the Fall, which comprises those fallen human beings who have been saved by God’s grace.