Several years ago, my wife and I took one of those vacations…you know the kind, It was a 4 day trip to Disney World, tickets included, for a total of $350 dollars. Total! They only required and hour or so of our time on Saturday morning for a tour of their facilities. So, we signed up!
I prefaced our tour with Phillipe by saying, “We won’t be buying anything today. So if you want to save your time, we’ll sign the paper and be on our way.” Phillipe assured us that we’d be quick and that he wasn’t allowed to let us off the hook that easy. We took the tour, which ended up taking about 3 hours, not one. The facilities were awesome. The rooms were fantastic! They had a lazy river and pizza shop right by the pool. I understate it when I say it was indeed nice.
We ended our tour sitting with Phillipe at a small round table in a big room with a lot of other small tables. (Every time someone would purchase a time share, I mean become a member of the vacation club, they would pop a bottle of champagne. There was a continuous popping going on in this room. They were selling these things left and right.) Phillipe gives us a run down of all the benefits and where you could vacation around the world. All this could be yours for $43,000! I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. He had to be crazy! I just paid $350 for a vacation, what made him think I had $43,000 laying around the house for a time share. I had no problem saying no.
Phillipe leaves for a moment and comes back with another deal. The same location, just less points each year for $23,000 a year. Phillipe got the same answer. He leaves.
He returned with a deal that could not be refused. All of the above, with a few less points to spend each year, for $14,000. I was like an oak! I refused that which could not be refused.
Phillipe could not believe we were saying no! He leaves and another man comes. He offers us a package for $7,500. Now it seemed to be that he was just giving the time share away. Yet I still said no.
What had been so valuable had become so much less valuable.
APP: One thing we should never undervalue is human life.
QUES: How are some of the ways we may undervalue humanity?
Last week we talked about the goodness of God’s creation. This week we’ll discuss the pinnacle of that creation – humanity.
WE BEAR GOD’S IMAGE IN HOW WE RULE OVER THE WORLD (GEN. 1:26-31)
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Although everything created is designed to bring God glory, no other creation is described as being made “in his image…the image of God.” The question is, what does being created in the image of God mean?
“According to scripture the essence of man consists in this, that he is the image of God. As such he is distinguished from all other creatures and stands supreme as the head and crown of entire creation.”*
Some in our society simply try to reduce man down to being simply another animal. There are grave consequences to how we value ourselves and others when this becomes our world view. The bible, however, clearly argues that we are distinguished from the whole of creation by being made in the image of God.
The image of God in humanity is understood as mirroring God’s attributes in our nature, actions, and relational capacities.
“The fact that man is in the image of God means that man is like God and represents God.”**
QUES: How have you noticed this in humanity? (Morally, Mentally, Relationally)
Even though humanity is marred by sin, mankind still reflects the imago Dei. For example, answer these questions: Is it wrong to steal from others? Is it wrong to murder? Is it wrong to rape? Surely, we all agree that these are wrong! Where does this inner sense of right and wrong come from (moral law)? It comes from being made in the image of God.
Being made in God’s image includes:
- our relational nature – this mirrors the relationship within the Trinity.
- it clarifies what unites us to God and sets us apart from other created things.
- it highlights our task to rule under God’s complete rule
In what ways do we assist God in ruling?
God’s sovereign rule over all of His creation means he doesn’t need help ruling over it, yet He has chosen to create us with the unique capacity and calling to rule. God has singled out humanity for this task…Our rule over creation should be marked by a deep unwavering regard for human beings…every tongue, tribe, and nation. It means we value others because of their intrinsic worth which comes from being made in God’s image. It is not contingent upon economics, sex, age, education, nationality, health, etc.
WE BEAR GOD’S IMAGE IN HOW WE WORK AND REST (GEN. 2:1-3; 15)
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
God designed our work to be a part of how we fulfill His mandate to rule over creation.
APP: Let us strive to work:
- through the Lord’s power
- for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31)
- according to his will (Col. 3:23)
We live in a society that seems to have lost an appreciation for work and have replaced it with a sense of entitlement. How is this spiritually harmful?
God has also designed rest to reflect his nature.
God didn’t rest on the seventh day because he needed to. He’s omnipotent. He does not grow weary. God’s rest signaled that his creative work was complete.
All rest and no work doesn’t not reflect the image of God, but neither does all work and no rest. Every week, and every day, is to be a balance between the two.
Ultimately, rest reminds us that we are finite. We tire. We burn out. We need God. Ultimately, it reminds us that we are ultimately dependent upon God. We can’t do it all ourselves.
Hebrews 4:9-11 speaks about rest that is entered into by belief (Heb. 4:3). Take time to read these verses. They teach us that our need for rest is ultimately met in Christ and that we cannot ever work ourselves to the point of being dependent from God. In contrary, true rest only occurs when we believe Jesus has accomplished all of our works for us.
QUES: How are you doing in balancing work and rest?
QUES: Are you completely trusting in Christ’s work for redemption or are you attempting to add to it?
WE BEAR GOD’S IMAGE IN HOW WE RELATE TO HIM AND OTHERS (GEN. 2:16-18, 21-25)
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Most notably, God’s image distinguishes us from the rest of creation by giving us the capacity to be in a personal relationship with God.
We bear God’s image and honor our relationship with Him in our loving obedience to His commands.
God’s original relational plan has been somewhat thwarted by Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the garden. However, God had a plan to restore that relationship and the image of God within humanity.
QUES: Why is that God described it as “not good” for Adam to be alone?
QUES: What do we learn about the first family created within these verses?
Consider: Eph. 5:22-ff.
*Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology. 205.
**Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology. 442.