Re: Origins:image of God and proto-humans/non-Adamites

Dick Fischer (
Thu, 24 Oct 1996 22:49:55 -0500

At 11:33 AM 10/23/96 -0700, you wrote:
> Dear folks,
> In all this dicussion I would like to know how the
> essentially important theological Truth of man being created
> in God's Image fits in. Are pre-Adamic humans Image bearers
> or not? Did the `image of God' evolve in this model? Did it
> get rubbed off on us non-Adamites? a few questions to start
> with....
Hi Joseph,

This is my take on it:

Bible expositors have taken the phrase "in the image of God" and blown
it into proportions far beyond the simpler intentions of the text. An
"image" is a likeness or representation of something. In Leviticus 26:1,
the children of Israel were told to make "no idols nor graven image."
Idols themselves can become objects of worship, obscuring the one true
God who accepts worship directly. "The image of Baal" (II Kings 3:2)
was an object of pagan worship, being a representation of that false deity.

In Genesis 1:27, Adam represented God, having been "created in His own
image." This status was passed through the godly line of Seth (Gen. 5:3).
Noah and his generations were God's chosen people, and thus were "in the
image" (Gen. 9:6). This status as representatives of God was conferred
upon the Israelites through the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 17:1-8).

Apparently, those outside the nation of Israel were outside the realm of
accountability. This can be inferred from Matthew 23:15, "Woe unto you
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one
proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell
than yourselves."

When one outside the Jewish faith was brought to the knowledge of God, he
became accountable. Because of false teaching, he was condemned. This
unique status for Israel as God's chosen people was rescinded, or at least
modified, at the cross. Christ was appointed by God as His representative.
The second Adam, Christ, was in the "image of God" (II Cor. 4:4) just as the
first Adam, and the mantle was passed to the followers of Christ.

In I Corinthians 11:7, Paul's instructions were not to unregenerate men, but
to the redeemed of the church at Corinth. According to Paul, they were in
"the image and glory of God." They received this authority as believers in
Christ, "who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every
creature" (Col. 1:15). Fallen man has no claim to God's image unless he
receives it through redemption.

Psalm 8 points to the coming Messiah. David affirms that Christ has
dominion over all things. This was given to Adam at his creation (Gen.
1:28), and was intended for his generations, but it was clearly in Christ's
hands after the Fall. "Thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of
thy hands: thou
hast put all things under His feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts
of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea ..." (Psa. 8:6-8).

Dominion over the lesser animals does not accrue to man. It was inherent
first in Adam, and then in Christ. Those who belong to Christ share in His
authority and in His dominion. Those who are not in Christ, though they may
act as if they have divine permission, merely usurp an authority not granted
by God.

The notion that all of mankind has "dominion" over the earth and were created
in God's "image" derives from the mistaken idea that Adam was the ultimate
progenitor of the human race. From this, Bible expositors have gone
overboard postulating the marvelous similarities between us and our Creator.

In what manner are we, his stumbling creatures, like the Most High God? Do
we possess His holiness, or His righteousness? Can we boast of His wisdom?
we omnipotent? Can we transcend time? Is it in our power to forgive sin?
Can we grant immortality? No, we mere mortals presume too much.

Our claim to being in His image is on the righteousness of Christ, not by
any birth right, lest any man should boast. "For my thoughts are not your
thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord" (Isa. 55:8).

Dick Fischer