Biblical Theological Seminary
Dr. Robert C. Newman
IMAGING GOD IN HUMAN ACTIVITY*
Mankind was created in the image of God
Evidently this image was not destroyed by the Fall
Gen 9:6; Jas 3:9
Yet it was sufficiently distorted that it must be restored or renewed in regeneration and sanctification
Col 3:10; Eph 4:24
Though the explicit "image" passages in Scripture are only a handful, there are hundreds of passages in which God pictures himself as a human involved in some activity or relationship, thereby suggesting that we image God in various of our relationships and activities
God as Potter, Mankind as Clay
As potter makes clay pots, so God made us.
Isa 64:8; 29:15-16; 45:9
As clay pots are fragile, so are we.
Job 10:8-9; 33:6-7; Jer 19:1-13; Ps 2:9
As potter makes pots for various purposes, so God makes us.
Rom 9:19-24; Jer 18:1-12; Acts 9:15; 2 Tim 2:20-21
God as Farmer, Mankind as Plant
The righteous pictured as healthy tree.
Ps 1:3; 92:12-14; Jer 17:7-8
The wicked pictured as endangered plants.
Ps 1:4; Isa 5:1-7; Ezk 15:1-8; Lk 13:6-9; Mt 3:8-10
God's grace to Gentiles pictured as grafting.
Rom 11:17-24; cp Jn 15:1-9
God as Shepherd, Mankind as Sheep
Shepherd seeks/finds sheep.
Isa 53:6; Lk 15:4-7; Jer 50:6-7,17-20; Ezk 34:11-16
Shepherd leads his flock.
Ps 23:2-3; 80:1; 78:52-54; Jn 10:1-5
Shepherd feeds his sheep.
Ps 23:1-2; Ezk 34:12-15
Shepherd protects from predators.
Ps 23:4; Jer 50:18-19; Ezk 34:12-16
Shepherd will even die for his sheep.
Zec 13:7; Jn 10:11-12; Mt 26:31
Slaughter of sheep
Ezk 34:16-24; see also Mt 25:32-33
God as King, Mankind as Subjects
King has/deserves prestige.
Ps 29:1-11; Ps 47; Dan 4:17,25,37; 1 Tim 6:15
King protects his subjects.
Ps 10:12-18; 74:12; Isa 33:22
Insult against king is rebellion.
Lk 19:11-27; Mt 22:1-14
God as Master, Mankind as Slaves
So common a picture as to be a "dead" metaphor.
Master deserves honor/respect.
Reflected in human master/slave relationships.
Eph 6:5-9; Col 3:22-4:1
God as Father/Parent, Mankind as Children
Replacement for mother & father.
Ps 131:2; Dt 32:11; Mt 23:37
God's natural children
Jn 1:12-13; 1 Pet 1:3
God's adopted children
Gal 4:4-7; Rom 8:14-19
We have a family resemblance.
1 Jn 3:1-10; Mt 5:43-48; Jn 8:36-47
God provides as a good father does.
God loves and forgives.
God as Husband, Mankind as Wife
Is this the point of 1 Cor 11:7?
1Cor 11:7 (NIV) A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.
Marriage covenant parallel to that with God.
Jer 31:32; Isa 54:10; Ps 45:10; Eph 5:26-27; 2 Cor 11:2-3
Mutual love and joy
Ps 45:11,15; Isa 62:5; Eph 5:25
Ps 45:11; Eph 5:24
Bearing of children
Isa 54:1; Ps 45:16
Husband provides, protects.
Eph 5:23; Isa 54:14-17
Breaking of marriage cp to apostasy
Hos 1-3; Jer 3:1,8; Isa 54:6-8; 62:4
Rebellion and SatanŐs Image
Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:8,10; Mt 3:7
God despises this image.
Rebellion as a result of the Fall
Gen 3:16-17; Gen 9:2-3; Rom 8:19-22
Distortion introduced into imaging relations
From upper side:
mistreatment of environment
tyrrany by rulers, employers
abuse of children, wife
From lower side:
wife not subject
These images can help us understand God better, esp through experiencing what it feels like to act as God.
These images can help us understand how we should act as potters, farmers, parents, etc.
These images can help unsaved to see God for first time.
*for more detail, see Robert C. Newman, "Some Perspectives on the Image of God in Man from Biblical Theology," IBRI Research Report 21 (1984).