GEN: 1: 26-28 The Glory and the Misery of Man
ESSENTIAL TRUTH : We are Spirits dwelling oin bodies. Fundamentally, Man is an invisible spirit. He possesses the faculties of the Spirit, incl., Creativity, Communication, and Moral Consciousness. The Image of Man = Spirit of God, and the Likeness of Man = Functioning of the Spirit. (Gen. 1: 26-28) - The difference between what man COULD be versus what man IS. Following the Kantian model of inquiry, this section of Genesis addresses four main questions: What can I KNOW?; What can I DO?; What may I HOPE?; What IS Man? The last question reminds me of a fragment of Edwin Markam’s poem, “The Man with the Hoe”:
Is this the thing the Lord God made, and gave
To have dominion over sea and land?
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power
And feel the passion of eternity?
Perhaps, G. K. Chesterton says it best (whom I consider a 19th century C. S. Lewis) when he aptly observed, “What ever else is true of man, it is certainly true that man is not what he was meant to be.” (Gen. 1: 27) - What is this image of God in man? Body? Soul? No. This he shares with the animal kingdom. To be created “in His own image” connotes that there is a source of glory and dignity in mankind. This was NEVER said of any other creature! What are the functions of the soul? Rationality - Feeling - Thinking - Choice? No. Animals also function this this way. What is it that man has which gives him distinction from the animals? To explore this question further, I looked to the NT and found the answer in John 4 in Christ’s interaction with the woman at the well and revealed to her that “God is Spirit and must be worshipped in Spirit and Truth.” God is a Spirit without a Body - until Christ. From here, I started to focus on the faculties of the Spirit which animals DO NOT possess and, therefore makes Man “Special” among all creation. I was able to isolate 3 main faculties of the Spirit of God which man inherited in both image and likeness: (i) Creativity = imagination, abstract thinking, seeing with the “eye” of the mind, fashioning and making things , composing a symphony. (ii) Communication = speaking, conveying ideas, discussion of matters. God’s “speak” conveyed power in creation in the same way that words affect us and change us . Words can wreck lives, injure, restore, heal, etc.
(iii) Moral Consciousness = To declare things “Good” or “Evil”. A consciousness of moral values. Whether the post-modernists admit tot it or not, we all feel the gnawing of a moral consciousness. What did God want man to DO with Spiritual faculties? (Gen. 1: 28) - Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth. Also, subdue it and have dominion over God’s creation. Man has never forgotten this commandment and has been failing in trying to accomplish this all throughout history. Instead, man has filled the earth to the point of overpopulation. In the mid - 20th century, Stanford Univ. Professors predicted that there would be no 21st century. Gebser’s Stages of the evolution of human consciousness have only illustrated stagnant patterns of man’s consciousness oscillating between prolonged adolescence into a premature senility. In spite of this, God made man after His “likeness” (functioning). Man has made a perversion of exercising his ability to be God-like. The Key for reversing this lies in man’s conscious willingness to undergo the repudiation of self-confidence resting on the work of another who dwells within. Even Jesus declared that without God, “The Son can do nothing of himself”.