Investiture With The Image Of God -- By: Meredith G. Kline

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 40:1 (Fall 1977)
Article: Investiture With The Image Of God
Author: Meredith G. Kline

Investiture With The Image Of God

Meredith G. Kline

Re-creation in the image of God is, according to one biblical metaphor, an act of investiture. Those who are renewed in the divine likeness are said to “put on” the new man or Christ or resurrection glory.1 Mixing the metaphor, Paul speaks of the perfecting of the divine image at the resurrection as a being clothed upon with a heavenly tabernacle-house (2 Cor. 5:1–4). This curious combination of sartorial and architectural imagery provides a clue to the source of the investiture figure in the symbolism of the Old Testament cult.

I. The Tabernacle—A Replica of the Glory-Spirit

The earth-cosmos was made after the archetypal pattern of the Glory-Spirit referred to in Genesis 1:2 and accordingly is viewed in Scripture as a cosmic royal residence or temple.2 Heaven and earth were established as a holy palace of the Creator-King, with the heaven of heavens in particular corresponding to the Glory-cloud as the seat of his sovereignty.

Then, preparing a place for the man-priest who was to be created, the Lord God produced in Eden a microcosmic version of his cosmic sanctuary. The garden planted there was holy ground with guardianship of its sanctity committed in turn to men and to cherubim.3 It was the temple-garden of God,4 the place chosen by the Glory-Spirit who hovered over creation from

the beginning to be the focal site of his throne-presence among men.

Such was evidently Ezekiel’s reading of Genesis 2. In the passage where he compares the Prince of Tyre to a figure in the original paradise scene (Ezek. 28:14, 16), he speaks of a covering5 cherub as present there on the holy mountain of God. The Glory theophany thus located by Ezekiel in Eden is prominent in his apocalyptic vision of paradise restored and consummated.6 The same is true of the Johannine treatment of this theme.7 And particularly interesting for its backward illumination of the Edenic prototype is Isaiah’s picture of the eschatological kingdom as a paradise created anew under the heavenly tent-covering of divine Glory:

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