Friday, December 12, 2003

JI Packer on the Image of God

I thought this was a bunch of good stuff at another CT article by JI Packer.

Image means representative likeness?which tells us at once that we should be reflecting, at our creaturely level, what Genesis 1 shows God is and does. Therefore we should always act with resourceful rationality and wise love, making and executing praiseworthy plans just as God did in creation. He generated value by producing what was truly good; so should we. We should be showing love and goodwill toward all other persons, as God did when he blessed Adam and Eve (1:28). And in fellowship with God, we should directly honor and obey him by the way we manage and care for that bit of the created order that he gives us to look after, according to his dominion mandate (26, 28).


So a distinction has to be drawn. We still bear the image of God formally—that is, we still have in us the abilities that, if rightly harnessed, would achieve a fully righteous, Godlike life—and so the unique dignity of each human being must still be recognized and respected (Gen. 9:6; James 3:9), as a gesture of honor to our maker. But we have lost the image substantially, and it takes God's grace-gift of union with Christ to restore it fully. Through this gift we share his resurrection life in regeneration, sanctification, and glorification.


God's work of restoring the image starts in the heart, with inward illumination, our embrace of Christ, and motivational change at the core of our being (2 Cor. 4:4, 6, 5:17). Born-again believers want God more than they want anything else. In daily life our strongest desire is to love and worship and serve and please and honor and glorify the Father and the Son, who saved us.


Two humans, living in God's image, were the crown of God's creation. Our fallen race, acting out the image of Satan, ruins his creation. A new humanity, the company of believers recreated in Christ's image, will adorn and enjoy the new heaven and earth that are promised. Praise God!

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