The Image of God
By Joanne Highley
There is no question that in the people who have problems of homosexuality there is a fixation on image. How do I appear to others? In men it is particularly an obsession because of the burning addiction to being accepted on the basis of looks, clothes, muscles, hair, skin, sex organs, height, eye color and even cars, houses and other possessions. With women, the image could consist of masculine clothes or short hair or boots or sports clothes or tatoos or looking tough and capable of anything a man can do or a look of rebellion or one of an intense desire to feel with another woman. All of this has conspired to give a false concept of image as we read the Word of God. The word "image" is generally interpreted to be the external appearance.
When the world was created by God, He spoke and what was made was created by His Word. He spoke and there was light. He spoke and there was Day and Night. He spoke and there were waters and Heaven. He spoke and the dry land appeared and the Seas were made. He spoke and the Earth brought forth grass, herbs and trees with seeds in themselves. He spoke and the Sun and Moon were created to give light to the Earth. He spoke and the waters brought forth living creatures and birds were created to fly above the Earth. God blessed them to be fruitful and multiply. He spoke and the Earth brought forth livestock, creeping things and wild beasts. He saw everything that He had made and saw it was good.
When He came to the creation a man, it was a more immediate act of divine wisdom and power than that of the other creatures. In the creation of all other things before man was created, God gave the command and they came to be. But with man, the words of command became a word of consultation among the Persons of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Let Us make man, for whose sake the rest of the creatures were made. This is a work We must take into Our Own Hands. In the creation of all other forms of life and light, God spoke with authority. With man, He speaks with affection. As if He is saying, all the preliminaries are attended to, now Let Us make man. Man was to be different from all that had been made before. Flesh and spirit, heaven and earth must be put together in him. So Father, Son and Holy Spirit consult and concur in making man.
Man is a little world consisting of heaven and earth, soul and body. There were two distinct and separate creations within man: his body was formed out of the dust of the earth---not made like the animals, but formed which denotes a gradual process of great accuracy. For this reason we must present our bodies to God as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1 and I Corinthians 6:20) The Lord then breathed into man the breath of life and made him a living soul. This was immediate creation of the soul of man in the image of God. This was not having to do with the body because God does not possess a body like man. The soul of man is the clearest picture of the image of God that we have on earth. The body would be worthless, useless if the soul did not bring it to life. The image of God on man is still distant but distinct in that we can see the stamp of some of God's honor in that we are given of His nature and constitution. We are given the honor of having Jesus come in the flesh like ours ( and He will clothe us in a glory like His). We are given understanding, will and active power. It is what inspires man to greatness, valor, laying down one's life to save others, having a conscience and knowing when things are true. .
Secondly we are given authority and dominion over all created things. We are God's representatives on earth. Yet man's governing himself through the free act of his will is the greatest sign of God's image in this regard.
Lastly, in his purity and right living showing knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, man bears the image of God to show forth His qualities to the world.
In creating mankind in the image of God, there is in the physical body a difference from the animals. In I Corinthians 15:39-44 it tells us:
All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another,
birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are
earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind and the
splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor
the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
So it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perish-
able, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory, it is
sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised
a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written, "The first
Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving Spirit. The spiritual
did not come first but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man
was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly
man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also
are those of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man
so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
So we see man was not like animals. He was a very special creation, made in the image and likeness of God, who formed him out of the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of like and made him a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
There are two distinct creation experiences that were written about generally in Genesis 1:27:
So God created man in His own image
In the image of God He created him,
Male and female He created them.
Here we see the plan of God to create man (male) in His image and likeness and create both male and female. This does not mean only the male was made is His likeness and image because that image was in the soul of man. Also He gave dominion to both male and female alike. But there were definitely differences in the way that the male and the female were created and for very important reasons. The specifics of the creation of the man ( male) are found in Genesis 2:7.
---The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the earth and breathed into
his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.
Adam was placed in the garden of Eden and began to name the animals there. God told him he could eat from any of the fruit of the trees in the garden except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If he ate that fruit, he would die. God saw the first thing in creation that was not good. It was not good for man to be alone. So God made a suitable helper for him and that was woman.
The creation of woman was quite different from the creation of man. God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam and took one of his ribs and made woman from the rib. Thus she had the qualities that had been given to man to have dominion over all the created things and was made in the image of God in the aspects of her soul. All of these great qualities that God had breathed into Adam now were to be in all mankind to demonstrate that it was the Father's will that man is destined to know, love and dwell with his Maker for eternity.
Woman was not made from Adam's head to rule over him nor of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected and near his heart to be beloved by him. By the same symbolism, the church was made when Jesus was pierced for our iniquities in His side and water and blood gushed out.
On of the most perplexing aspects of doing this work of helping people become free of homosexuality is the conflicting teachings of some major recognized experts in this field. One of the most glaring examples is the account of the creation in Leanne Payne's book, "Crisis in Masculinity" (Crossway Books, 1985)
Unity arises out of polarity. The highest expression of this is the idea that man
is androgynous (male-female) in his origin and final destination. The most
famous presentation of this idea is found in Genesis when God created man in
his image "male and female"---before the separation of Eve out of the body of
Adam. This according to Christian tradition, indicates the androgynous nature
of the Godhead Himself---meaning again,that here polarity in union is the
expression of fullness of being. (Flight From Woman, Karl Stern, Paragon
House, 1985, Page 10)
Miss Payne goes on to give her approval of Karl Stern's quote by writing "Masculinity and femininity are attributes of God and we, in His image, are most surely---bipolar creatures. Our Creator, holding all that is true and real within Himself, reflects both the masculine and the feminine. (Crisis in Masculinity, Page 98)
This book, "Crisis in Masculinity" is the best-selling book of Regeneration Books, the supplier of literature on freedom from homosexuality of Exodus International, the coalition of many ministries to help people to freedom from homosexuality. Can this be a case of blindness to unbiblical teaching or a case of "itching ears", wanting these false teachings to be true?
We believe it is obvious in the Scriptures that the creation of Eve was a separate and distinct creation, not done concurrently inside Adam. This is an ancient rabbinic heresy coming from the time of Jesus, interpreting the original Adam as androgynous and believing the original created being was both man and woman together.
There is no biblical basis for believing Eve was in the body of Adam at creation. We also do not see any sign of biblical agreement with polarity of the Godhead. ( masculinity and femininity). The Godhead includes identification as Father, Son, Husband, Bridegroom, Protector, Provider, Priest and Seed-Planter (I Peter 1:23, I John 3:9) Leanne Payne in "Crisis in Masculinity" characterized God as "Mother, pregnant with creativity, ready to give birth. The creativity within the womb of the being in the vision was electric with energy, ready to burst forward, seeming to affect the universal scene of God's handiwork. It was the Mother in God---mothering His flock---ready to breathe upon us as in the beginning of all creation." Her prayer team of women had prayed to receive from God a message about the transcendent nature of gender and this vision had come which portrayed God as Mother. They believed it was most surely from God but did not have any biblical substantiation of this view.
We must always check to see if the Word of God agrees with what we receive as revelation. God does not send messages or revelation that goes against His Word.
As we look to God for the truth about His character, His image and His plan for man and woman, we must be very careful to cling to His revealed Word and Truth so Satan cannot take any wounded emotions about the opposite sex and cause us to misinterpret His divine plan for the relationship of man and woman. The roles of man and woman have been seriously warped and distorted by the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. Today we are dealing with the backlash of that revolution of illicit sex which caused many women to be wounded by men and finally to choose to rise up to compete with men rather than complete them. Men have become emasculated by the strong stance of women and the demands of having to be always sexually potent. This has caused much alienation of the sexes and has led to more turning toward homosexuality. This is not what God planned when He created male and female and sent them forth to the world to be fruitful and multiply and bring forth godly offspring.
The only true joy in life is walking in the image of God that He has breathed into us and the great glory of asking Jesus to come into our hearts to make us new creations in Christ. We then become temples of the One True Living God.