Seven Minutes with The International Director Dec/Jan 1978/1979

AND GOD SAID, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion. . . ” (Gen.1:26).

The image and likeness in which man was created was threefold – God gave to man a mind with which he could think God’s thoughts after Him; He gave to man a heart with which he could respond to God’s love; and He gave to man a will with which he could do God’s bidding. Mind, heart, will – intellectual capability, emotional capability, volitional capability – this was the image and likeness in which man was created. It set him apart from, and infinitely higher than, the animal creation which possessed no God consciousness and, therefore, no capability of interaction with the Creator.

Man is created in the image and likeness of God and thereby has the capability of an intimate and eternal relationship with the Creator. It is in this singularly important fact that the dignity and worth of man is to be found.

Adam and Eve were placed in a perfect environment – the garden of Eden. They were to govern God’s earth as king and queen – they were to give names to the animals, to rule, to have dominion. Everything was provided to occupy their time (tending the garden) and to satisfy their hearts (fellowship with God). There was only one prohibition, only one thing they were forbidden to do. There was one tree in the midst of the garden – they were not to eat of it lest they surely die.

Since Adam and Eve had been created in the image of God with such glorious potentiality – since they possessed the capability of choice – they had to be given opportunity to choose.

God said, “THOU SHALT NOT EAT” – did they understand with their minds?

God said, “THOU SHALT NOT EAT” – did they love with their hearts?

God said, “THOU SHALT NOT EAT” – would they obey with their wills?

Adam and Eve, the federal heads and therefore official representatives of humanity, tempted by Satan, chose to disobey. They partook of the forbidden tree, and the image and likeness in which they were created was marred. As a direct result, disease, rust, pollution, weed, cancer and sin entered front and center onto the stage of human history.

When Adam and Eve lost the image in which they had been created, they also lost the scepter of kingship, and Satan usurped man’s right as king of the earth. Their minds became darkened so that, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22). Their hearts became degraded so that instead of a beautiful, pure, holy relationship with God, man became vile, corrupt and immoral (Rom. 1:26, 27). And their wills became deadened so that not only did man not want to do the will of God, they didn’t even want to maintain God’s thoughts in their minds (Rom. 1:28).

Created in the likeness of God, man’s mind was now darkened, his heart degraded and his will deadened. A chasm appeared between a righteous God, whose holiness was as a consuming fire, and fallen, sinful humanity. Adam and Eve had been created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), but after they fell, they bore children in their own fallen image (Gen. 5:3).

As a result, man is born separated from God. And for mankind, it is not a question of, what must I do to be lost (Psalm 51:5), but, “. . . what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30).

But, between the fall and the expulsion from the garden, there was given by God – during the darkness of that hour, when everything appeared lost – a glimmer of hope that would light the pathway, through the centuries, back to God. This hope was etched in the promise of God that one day the “seed of the woman” would overcome the effects of sin which Adam and Eve, in disobeying God and yielding to Satan, brought upon the earth (Gen. 3:15).

Here was the unchanging promise that one day a personality would appear on the stage of history to: (1) make it possible for humanity to be restored to the image and likeness of God; (2) recapture man’s lost destiny as king of the earth; and (3) destroy Satan.

The overriding emphasis of the Old Testament was to call out a nation through which this seed would come, prefigure His redemptive career through the prophets, priests and kings of Israel, and give road signs so that this One who could meet every need of the human heart would be unmistakenly identified when He appeared on the stage of human history.

Accordingly, He was to come through the loins of Abraham (Gen. 12:2-3); through Isaac not Ishmael (Gen. 17:19); through Jacob not Esau (Gen. 28:3-4); through the tribe of Judah not the other eleven tribes of Israel (Gen. 49:10); and finally, He would come through the family and lineage of David (2 Sam 7:12).

The first book, the first chapter, the first verse of the New Testament opens with the declaration, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). The inspired penman was crying out, “Here He is, the One toward whom all of history was moving, the One who alone could meet every need of the human heart.”

In the “fullness of the time”, the preincarnate promised seed stepped across the stars to be born in the village of Bethlehem. His birth was miraculous, His life sinless and His death vicarious. The bodily resurrection was an integral part of the atonement and the Father’s seal of approval upon the Son’s redemptive work. And, it is through faith in that work alone that man is given a new mind, a new heart and a new will – restoration to the image and likeness of God.

What the first man, Adam, lost, the second man, Christ, restored. “For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Christ) shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 12:19).

But, Jesus Christ is coming again, this very same Jesus rejected of men. He came the first time as a lamb; He’s coming the second time as a lion. He came the first time in humility; He’s coming the second time in glory. He came the first time to die; He’s coming the second time to judge. He came the first time with the silence of a lamb who “opened not his mouth”; He’s coming the second time with the roaring of a lion. And, when He returns, He will recapture man’s lost destiny as king by establishing a thousand-year (millennial) reign upon the earth, and the true message of Christmas – Peace on earth to men of good will (Luke 2:14) – shall become a living reality. But more, at the end of that reign and before the eternal state is ushered in, Christ will consign Satan, the one who tempted man in the garden, to the lake of fire forever.

Through the sin of Adam and Eve, man lost the image of God, lost his position as king of the earth, and allowed Satan to usurp his position as king. Through the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, humanity can be restored to the image of God, man’s lost destiny as king shall be recaptured, and Satan will be defeated. Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

Marv RosenthaI

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