Monday, June 5, 2017

Genesis 1: Human Dignity Derived from God

KEY TEXT: Genesis 1:26-28 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." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 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." 

KEY THOT: Atheistic materialism (the predominant secular worldview) demeans human life by attributing its origin to a lower animal life (bios). But biblical view of man dignifies human life by elevating its origin in the divine life (zoe). The atheist sees humans as just one step higher than the animals. The creationist sees humans as just one step lower than God. The atheistic view of man creates egoistic pride, seeing itself as the peak of evolutionary progress--sitting at the top of the food chain through natural selection. The creationist view of man creates a sense of gratitude and humility as it sees life as a gift from God who has made him: "what is man that you are mindful of him,and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor" (Psalms 8:4-5).

Scripture tells us that God created man in His image: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:26-27). When the serpent tempted Eve by claiming that she would be "like God" after eating the fruit of the Tree of knowledge, he lied to her. The serpent deceived her to think she was not already like God when in actual fact, both she and Adam, were already like God. The serpent's temptation was to make her think that god-likeness is attained through the self-effort of knowledge acquisition rather than received as a gift of divine grace. Every human is already like God because God has created everyone in his image. We don't need any religion of self-efforts to become god-like--we already are. 

But in what sense is man created in God's image? There are three aspects to this divine likeness in every human, male or female:
  1. "In our image, after our likeness": Firstly, God created us like him to be a moral being with a free-will. We have the power of free-choice which animals are denied. Animals live and work through their instincts, not through free-will thoughts. Though we may occasionally witness some amazing feats of intelligence in even lower life forms like birds, but they operate within the limits of instincts set by the Creator. For example, they don't need to learn many of the life-skills like humans. Humans need to learn everything--nothing comes to us by instinct. We need to learn how to eat, defecate, walk and talk. Language is not given to us by instinct. And unlike animals, we have a conscience that dictates what attitude and action are right and wrong.
  2. "In our image, after our likeness"Secondly, like God, we are created not singular but plural: we are a composite of spirit, soul and body--a trinitarian being just like God who is also a plurality of beings--Father, Son and the Spirit: "our image... our likeness". Some people think that the Trinity is an impossible concept, but we live it everyday within our ourselves: our body is different from our soul (mind) and our soul is different from our spirit (intuitive being that connects us with the non-rational reality). While the three are inextricably linked as one, they are distinct entities. For example, the body of a person in coma is "dead" but his soul/mind is still alive and active. Similarly, humans have spiritual perception that we call "intuition" that enables us to communicate beyond words and thoughts. Some of us have more developed spiritual perceptions (mediums, sorcerers, prophets, etc) that can "see" beyond the rational world of thoughts and ideas. But each of the three entities are distinct yet one.
  3. "male and female he created them": Thirdly, God's image is neither male nor female but both, for both masculinity and femininity are derived from His image. It takes both the man and the woman together to reflect God's image completely. That is why marriage and family is the best representation of God, for in a marriage, the man and woman are in a "one-flesh" relationship and it is in their unity that we see the divine image more fully. So the male-female rivalry promoted by feminism is anti-biblical and ungodly for it fails to accept that neither female nor male alone can fully reflect God's image but only in the unity of mutual submission do we see the glory of God.
We are grateful that we are created not evolved, for it dignifies us and not demeans us as humans. Thanks be to God for the great gift of life!

Abba-Father, what a great God You are! For You have made us lower than heavenly beings to be like You in our being. We are of great worth to You for You care for us! Amen.

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