Man In God’s Image: “What Does It Mean?” -- By: Jonathan F. Henry

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 12:37 (Dec 2008)
Article: Man In God’s Image: “What Does It Mean?”
Author: Jonathan F. Henry


Man In God’s Image: “What Does It Mean?”

Jonathan F. Henry, Ph.D.

Professor of Natural Science, Clearwater Christian College
Chair, Division of Science, Clearwater Christian College

The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, is the highest example showing that man was made in God’s image: (1) Christ came in the form of a man, not some other organism; (2) Christ was God; and, (3) Jesus, though man, was the perfect image of God in man. “God . . . hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son . . . who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person . . . when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:1–4). Therefore, man is in the image of God, but Christ is the express image of God, the perfect, complete image. On the contrary, man is an incomplete, fallen image of God; even before the Fall, man did not have all the abilities of Christ. For Christ, being God, was “the brightness of [God’s] glory, and Christ, being man, was “the express image of [God’s] person” (1:3).

The realization that man’s entire being is in God’s image can bring joy. For example, John was joyous because he was intimately knowledgeable about Christ, the perfect image of God in man. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life . . . that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us . . . And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:1–4). John had “seen,” “looked upon,” and “handled” Christ; John knew well the physical aspects of the image of God in Christ. John continually spoke of the fellowship and love that Christians can have in Christ; John knew well the non-physical or spiritual aspects of the image of God in Christ. Therefore, Christians can have greater love, fellowship, and joy (1) by knowing Christ better (Christ being the perfect image of God in man); and (2) by knowing their own nature better (man is in the image of God, though now an imperfect image).

Man’s Entire Being Is In God’s Image: Body, Soul, Spirit

Man’s totality in the image of God is shown in the Genesis creation account. First, God first created inanimate matter and energy. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth [matter] . . . And God said, Let there be light [a kind of energy]: and there was light” (Gen 1:1–3); man’s physical...

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