What Is Man? Or, The Image Of God -- By: Shaun Lewis
JODT 16:48 (August 2012) p. 13
What Is Man? Or, The Image Of God
Shaun Lewis, M.Div., state director, Capitol Commission, Springfield, Illinois
The Portland Vase was an exquisite discovery near Rome in the late sixteenth century. A master artisan had crafted the vase painstakingly during the reign of Tiberius Caesar (AD 14–37). After passing many generations, it eventually passed from memory. Rome fell, the Dark Ages came, and it was followed by the Renaissance and Reformation periods. Despite so many centuries of upheaval and change, this vase somehow remained in mint condition until 7 February 1845. While on display at the British Museum, an inebriated visitor threw a sculpture on the vase, and in that act, it shattered. One could still see what the shards once formed, but they were only shards. The vase lay in ruin. Though the Portland Vase was restored, the process was slow and arduous, not completed for another 144 years until 1989.
What happened to this vase is similar to the story of mankind. God created man in His own image, and gave him a glory not surpassed by even the angels. Nevertheless, with one seemingly small act, that image shattered and man became a ruin of his former glory. Man’s body began to die, his heart no longer desired God, his mind became darkened, and in that instant, his spirit died. Though the imago Dei still bore some resemblance to its creator, it was thoroughly marred and perverted to the point that it no longer clearly reflected Him.
Redemption is the beginning of man’s restoration process. All that sin did begins to be undone at salvation. Man’s spirit becomes alive again, his heart begins to love God, and his mind is renewed. Man, the image of God, is gradually conformed to the image of Christ until the consummation of redemption when he is fully restored. The biblical concept of the imago Dei truly is “crucial for understanding the flow of redemptive history.”1
Indeed, this concept is foundational for understanding nearly every conceivable doctrine in the Bible. Charles Feinberg wrote:
The concept of the image of God, implied or expressed, underlies all revelation. Thus, it is not too much to maintain that a correct understanding of the image of God in man can hardly be
JODT 16:48 (August 2012) p. 14
overemphasized. The position taken here determines every area of doctrinal declaration. Not only is theology involved, but reason, law, and civilization as a whole, whether it views regenerate or unsaved humanity from its origin to eternity.2
The image of God explains ho...
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