In Adam's Image
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We have begun a study of the book of Genesis, and we have reached the first division of the book after the introduction, beginning with chapter 2, verse 4:

Genesis 2:

4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

Preparing the Earth for Man

This first section goes through verse 26 of chapter 4. We have learned, according to verses 5 and 6, that the earth was prepared for the habitation of man by God's putting some of every kind of plant and every kind of herb in the ground. That is, God planted it ready to produce a harvest. It needed no rain, and it needed no man to till the ground. In all of this are the mercy and the grace of God revealed. For example, God did not put man on the earth and let him starve or be in want until it was time to reap a harvest. God planted it first Himself and arranged that man would have that which would nourish him until such time as he could till the ground, and dress the garden, and care for the plants.

Creating Man

Following the preparation God made in chapter 2, verse 4, we learn that:

Genesis 2:

7And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

This verse of Scripture emphasizes something that we took nearly one whole discussion to consider…that man is a tripartite being, body, soul, and spirit. We examined some Scripture by which we attempted to show that there is not always a distinction made between the soul and spirit. Though man is a tripartite being…body, soul, and spirit…the words for “soul” and “spirit” are used interchangeably.

We pointed out to you that the spirit has this unique function. It makes it possible for man to communicate with God. We pointed out to you that animals have a body, and in a sense they have a soul, but they have no spirit. The fact that man has a spirit makes it possible for him to be God-conscious. A soul makes a creature self-conscious. The body makes a creature world-conscious.

In the Spiritual Image of God

We went back to chapter 1, verse 27, where we read:

Genesis 1:

27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

We spent some time discussing in exactly what image God created man. We suggested to you that it was the spiritual and not the physical image.

I thought it might be well if we were to examine this word “image” in the Word of God. As we examine what the Scriptures have to say about this word, perhaps we will have a clearer understanding of what we mean when we say God created man in His own image. I would like to suggest that we re-read verse 27 of chapter 1 so that those words will be fresh in our minds during the discussion:

Genesis 1:

27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

I have one question…a rhetorical question…to ask you, and I would like for you to keep it in mind. If man was created in the image of God, are we in that image now?

In the Image of Adam

Turn with me, please, to the next place where we find the word “image” in the Word of God, Genesis, chapter 5, verse 1:

Genesis 5:

1This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
2Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

Notice verse 3:

Genesis 5:

3And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son [in the likeness of God, after the image of God;] and called his name Seth:

Is that the way your Bible reads? All right. That is not what the Bible says. Let's notice what the Bible says:

Genesis 5:

3And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

I ask you: Are we created today in the image of God? If you are thinking as we read, and I trust that it will be amplified before we are through, you will very logically say, “No. We are not created in the image of God. We are created in the image of Adam.” If that is true it may help us to understand why there is confusion in our thinking as to the kind of image in which man was originally created. We are definitely created in the image of Adam. Will you turn, please, to I Corinthians, chapter 15. Let us begin with verse 47:

I Corinthians 15:

47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

The first man is Adam, and this very definitely says that he is of the earth, earthy. You remember that he was made out of the dust of the ground. If you want to be very literal in your reading of this, (A reason it might not be such a good idea is because of the humor it might evoke in our thinking.) in the original language this would read:

I Corinthians 15:

47The first man is of the dust, dusty:…

That is exactly what it says.

I Corinthians 15:

47…the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

Notice verse 49 particularly:

I Corinthians 15:

49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

If you want that to be a little more clear, you might say, “Of the heavenly one,” because the heavenly one here is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is a very plain and simple statement that says that we do not bear the image of God as we are now. We bear the image of the first man, Adam. For when Adam begot children, he did not beget them after the image of God. He begat them after the image of Adam. You are probably saying, “Well, if Adam was created in the image of God, why are we not created in the image of God?” We have to anticipate ourselves a little to answer that question, and remind you that in chapter 3 of the book of Genesis, Adam lost his image of God because of sin. He lost his image of God. Everyone that was born in the flesh from that time forward was born in the image of Adam and not in the image of God.

If we take a little time to find out what kind of image the image of Adam is, perhaps it will be even more clear to us that in our present state we are not in the image of God. May I suggest that we turn to Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 1.

Ephesians 2:

1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Adam's Perfect Body Before Sin

Let us go back to verse 1 where we read:

Ephesians 2:

1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

That is the first characteristic of the image of Adam. You remember that when God put Adam in the Garden of Eden, He told him that he should not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He said in so many words, “If you eat of that tree, you will die.” A very literal rendering of that phrase, as you will see before we are through, is, “dying thou shalt die.” He did not mean that Adam would drop dead right there. He did mean that the process of death would set in…that Adam would begin a march to the grave as soon as he ate of that tree. Now you say, “Would Adam not have died had he not eaten of that tree?” He would not have, for in the Garden of Eden there was another tree. It was the tree of life, and it was placed there to sustain the life of Adam. Adam could have lived forever in the body which God had made for him had he not eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Sin Brings Death

When Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God expelled him from the Garden. And He put outside the gate of the Garden cherubim with flaming swords, that Adam might not go back into the Garden. He did that for one reason and one reason alone. Inside the Garden was the tree of life, and if Adam had eaten of the tree of life in his fallen state, he would have lived forever in his fallen body…in his body marked by the ravages of the fall. God did not want that to happen, because as unpleasant as death is to these physical bodies, unpleasant as it is to us to leave our loved ones, if you stop and consider it, death is a mercy. If we had to live forever in these sin-ravished bodies, it would be tragic. That is an illustration of the mercy of God. So the first characteristic of Adam's image is death. There is no death in Heaven. If we were created in our present state after the image of God, we could not die. But we are not created in the image of God. We are created in the image of Adam.

Other Characteristics of A Body Like Adam's

Will you turn to Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 18.

Ephesians 4:

18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Here again, we have several more characteristics of the image of Adam. Man who was created in the image of Adam has his understanding darkened. That is the reason it is difficult for him to understand the things that are related to the Spirit of God. That is the reason it is difficult for him to be interested in spiritual things. The blindness of his heart has caused him to enter into all manner of lascivious living, so that it is possible for a man whose ancestor was created in the image of God to be guilty of the most despicable things imaginable.

Full Portrait of the Image of Adam

Will you turn, please, to Romans, chapter 3, verse 10, and notice a full portrait of the image of Adam. I want you to think as we read: Is this the image of God that we are reading about? When we finish our reading, I am quite sure you will agree that it is not the image of God. It is the image of Adam. But the Word of God says that it is a perfect portrait of the natural man.

Romans 3:

10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13Their throat is an open sepulchre;…

That is a descriptive phrase, isn't it? It means they are bad on the inside.

Romans 3:

13…with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17And the way of peace have they not known:
18There is no fear of God before their eyes.

David In the Image of Adam

This is the man who was created in the image of Adam. It is a detailed explanation of what David had to say in Psalm 51, which is the confession of David after his sin with Bathsheba. God dealt with him strictly about it, and brought him to the place of repentance. David had hidden his sin away in his heart for two years. At last he could not stand it any longer, and he cried out:

Psalms 51:

1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou Judgest.

Notice this verse:

Psalms 51:

5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

This verse of Scripture has no reference to the act of conception that brings a child into the world. It is simply a reference to the fact that that child is marked by sin the moment he is conceived because he inherits the nature of Adam. He is created in the image of Adam, and when he is born into this world, he is born not in the image of God, but in the image of Adam. That is why there is such difficulty for many people in understanding what God meant when He said that man was created in the image of God.

Jesus…In the Image of Adam

Will you go back to I Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 49, for a moment, that I may re-emphasize a phrase there:

I Corinthians 15:

49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Or, “we shall also bear the image of the One from Heaven.” Who is this One from Heaven? And what is this promise…that we who are born in the image of Adam shall some day bear the image of the One from Heaven? Let us turn to Hebrews, chapter 1, as we examine this word “image” a bit farther in the Word of God:

Hebrews 1:

1God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Verse 3 speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ: “He was the brightness of God's glory, and the express image of his person,…” “His person”…is that a reference to the body of God? The Lord Jesus Christ said, “When you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Did he mean, “When you look upon this earthly body of Mine, you see the kind of body God has?” No, He did not say that, and He did not mean that. There is a definite reason. Will you turn to Psalms 40, verse 7, please. These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Psalms 40:

7Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
9I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest [it all together].

These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ prophesying His coming to the earth. He said that He would come to the earth for the express purpose of doing the will of God. If you will read further in the Psalm, you will find that in order for Him to carry out that purpose, God prepared for Him a body. “A body,” He said, “hast thou prepared for Me.” What kind of body was it? Was it a body like God's, this body that God prepared for Him? Let us turn to Philippians, chapter 2, verse 5:

Philippians 2:

5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Notice these words carefully:

Philippians 2:

6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

That is, He did not think it a thing to be held onto with a clenched fist…a determination, “I am not going to let it go.” He did not think it robbery to be equal with God.

Philippians 2:

7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

As God But In Human Form

In Heaven He was in the form of God. There was a need on the earth. He did not come down to this earth (notice carefully what I am saying) in the form of God. He came to this earth as God. Don't ever let anyone dissuade you from that. He came to this earth as God, but He took upon Him the form of a man. He took upon Him the body of Adam. He took upon Him this earthy body, this dusty body.

That is why He got hungry. He would never have needed to eat anything if He had kept the body of God or the form of God. But He took upon Himself a human body which was created not after the image of God, but after the image of Adam, so He got hungry. You remember He was tempted 40 days in the wilderness, and one of the temptations was related to the hunger of that human body.

He got tired. Why do you think He fell asleep when they were crossing the sea in the midst of a storm? Why do you think He slept so soundly that He did not hear the wind and the waves? There was not anything strange about that. He was tired. He had on Him the form of man.

I suggest this passage of Scripture to help you see that when He who bore the image of God came to this earth, He clothed that image in a body like Adam's body. When He said, “You who have seen Me, have seen the Father,” He was not talking about this human body. He did not mean that God had a body like His body. There was not anything different about the body of the Lord Jesus Christ from any boy's who was ever born in Bethlehem. His body was exactly like anyone else's.

Of course the painters have painted Him with a halo around His head, but He did not have one. No one would have noticed any difference in Him from anyone else in just looking at Him from a human standpoint.

Why did He not come to this earth in the image of God? Why did He take upon Himself a body that was made in the form and the image of Adam? So that He could fulfill the promise that is made in I Corinthians 15:49, where we are told that we shall bear the image of the One from Heaven. And how shall that be brought to pass? Let's look at this word “image” a bit further. Let us turn, please, to Colossians, chapter 1, verse 9:

Colossians 1:

9For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Notice this verse particularly, for it is the one we want:

Colossians 1:

14In whom [that is, in Christ] we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

We are told in this passage of Scripture that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, came to this earth to provide redemption for us. He became the firstfruits of every creature in that He was the first of the new creation to be raised from the dead.

Redemption Found Only In Jesus

How are we to be made into this image of the invisible God? The basic fact: through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

You can straighten up and fly right all you want to, but even if that is possible…I doubt seriously that it is…you will be flying right in the image of Adam, not in the image of God. Without redemption there can be no change in the image of Adam. You might powder its nose and curl its hair, but it is still the image of Adam until redemption occurs.

But when you have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior, immediately you become a new creature in Christ Jesus. That new creature is created not in the image of Adam, but in the image of God.

Returning to God's Image Through Redemption

Will you turn, please, to Colossians, chapter 3, verse 10:

Colossians 3:

10And [you] have put on the new man [if you have been born again, you have put on the new man], which is renewed in knowledge [after Adam's image]:

Is that what your Bible says? No. It says:

Colossians 3:

10And [if you] have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Here you find how man is created in the image of God. It is the new man, the born-again man, the new creation in Christ Jesus, who is created in the image of God.

Sometimes we look into our lives, and we do not find as much change as we would like to find. We still find some of the characteristics of the image of Adam shining through. Sometimes we give up in despair and say, “I guess I am not created after the new image at all.”

Process of Return to God's Image

But the thing we forget is that God formed man out of the dust of the earth. The Hebrew word for “formed” is not the same as the word which is related to creation. It is the word which means formed slowly with a great deal of care, as a potter takes clay and makes a vessel. Though the new man is created at once, instantaneously, as soon as a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, the image is not visible fully to our eyes.

Here is a good illustration. You remember Peter and the testimony the Lord Jesus Christ gave to him. His name was Simon. He was a vaccilating, weak individual. The Lord Jesus Christ said to him, “Thou art Petros; you are a stone.” (Matthew 16:18). Everyone around laughed, “Peter a stone! That fellow? Why, he is this thing one day and something else tomorrow. How could the Lord Jesus Christ speak like that?” Do you know how He could? Because He saw the finished product, and all they saw was what there was up to that point.

We who are born again are created after the image of Him that created us. We are created after the image of God, and God begins at once to chisel out the form, to knock off the rough edges, that He may present us someday complete in His image.

Will you turn with me, please, to Romans, chapter 8, verse 28:

Romans 8:

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

That is a wonderful promise, isn't it? Many of us have rested on it a great many times, and by the grace of God we have found it to be true. But listen carefully to what I say. You should never read verse 28 without reading verse 29 with it. The two go together. They are inseparably related. Originally they were not two verses, but one. Notice again:

Romans 8:

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [there is our word again] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Notice the phrase, “to be conformed to the image of his Son.” We read that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. If you lose all your money, you say, “Well, that is all right. It is going to work out. God is going to get me $2,000, $4,000, $10,000, or $2,000,000 more than He gave me to begin with. It is going to work out! I don't mind!” Wait just a minute. That is not what the verse means. He may have taken not only the $2,000,000, or the $1,000,000, or the $1,000 away from you. He may decide to take more. It does not mean that when you have disappointment, God is going to work it out where everything will be all right and there will be no more suffereing.

What this verse of Scripture means is that all of these things are going to work together for good, that you may be conformed to the image of Christ. That is the good: that you may be conformed to the image of Christ. Don't misunderstand me. Sometimes we get the idea that the only way we can be conformed is through hardship, because most of us are so stubborn. But, you know, it takes the gentle movement of the polishing cloth to make the finished product, just as much as it takes the hammer and the chisel. It is not all hammer and chisel. It is not all bad. It is both the bad things and the good things that conform us to the image of Christ.

So you see that in the new man made after the image of God, there is a process going on which is conforming us bit by bit to the image of Christ. Do not jump to conclusions. Do not say about some Christian you know, “I do not think he is much of a Christian. He does not act much like Christ.” Maybe the process of conformation has not gone as deep in his life as it has in someone else's. He is being conformed. If he is a child of God, he is being conformed to the image of Christ, because there is no way to escape it.

Source of Power Which Creates God's Image

Will you turn, please, to II Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 18:

II Corinthians 3:

18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

This is one of the most encouraging verses, I think, in all of God's Word. The glass in this verse of Scripture is the Word of God. What does it say? As you behold with an open face (that is, sincerely and earnestly) the glory of the Lord in the Word of God, the Holy Spirit performs a work. He changes you from glory to glory (it is a process) into the very image of the Son of God, into the very image of God Himself. You do not get to be more like Jesus by praying. Do not misunderstand me. Praying is like breathing. You cannot live without it. But you do not get to be more like Jesus by praying. You do not get to be more like Jesus by working.

You get to be more like Jesus by the terms of our text. You become more conformed to the image of the Son of God by your exposure to the Word of God. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to change you from glory to glory into this same image of the Lord.

I am not surprised, then, that it is possible for a person to be a Christian and not be very much like the Lord. If he has not spent very much time looking into the mirror, and the Holy Spirit has not had much of an opportunity to change him in the process from glory to glory, how could you expect him to be like the Lord?

That Which Makes One A Christian

Let me remind you again. We must not jump to conclusions. We must not say, “So-and-so could not be a Christian. He does not act like a Christian.” You are not a Christian because you act like a Christian. You are a Christian because Christ died for you, and you have received Him as your own personal Savior.

You will never bear the image of the Heavenly One where men can see it until you let the Holy Spirit do His office work of changing you from glory to glory into that same image. Every individual Christian is obligated before the Lord to expose himself to the ministry of the Word of God so that he can be changed from glory to glory into the same image of the Lord.

The Glorified Body of Jesus

I want to say one last thing to you. In our discussion, we were talking about whether it is the spirit or the body or both that are created in the image of God. I want to say that it is not only the inner man, but it is the outer man also, that someday will be changed into that image. We have every evidence in the Word of God to believe this. Will you turn, please, to I John, chapter 3:

I John 3:

1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Let us stop and look back at this verse. How are we to know whether both spirit and body are creatd in the image of God? In what form is the Lord Jesus Christ now at the right hand of the throne of God? There are many passages of Scripture at which we might look, but let us go to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1, because I believe that this one passage of Scripture will pretty well cover the subject. The Lord Jesus Christ had taken His disciples, you will remember, out to the Mount of Olives. He told them about their responsibility in witnessing:

Acts 1:

9And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

This same Jesus. How did He go away? He went away with a body, a body that every one of them recognized when He appeared to them after His resurrection. He went away in what we may call a spiritual body, a glorified body, a body that was not subject to the laws of nature, a body which was subject only to the laws of the spirit. That is why as they stood looking He could mount up into the heavens. His body was not subject to the natural laws of gravity.

Our Glorified Body

This passage of Scripture says that this same Jesus is coming back. The One who went away is coming back, which would require that He remain in the same body all this time. Two thousand years ago, He went away in a body, and soon, I believe, He is coming back in that same body. But where is He now? He is in a body, and what did we read in I John, chapter 3, verse 7? That when we see Him, when He comes back, we shall be like Him. We shall see Him as He is. There is ample confirmation of that in the Word of God. Turn with me to Philippians, chapter 3, verse 20:

Philippians 3:

20For our conversation is in heaven [that means that our citizenship is in heaven]; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Notice:

Philippians 3:

21Who shall change our vile body,…

That is, the body we have now. The word “vile” did not then have the connotation that it has now. It simply means that it is a body subject to natural laws.

Philippians 3:

21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Through the ministry of the Word of God in our hearts and in our lives, the new man within us can be formed into the image of God so that men will be conscious of it. That is why you hear people say about an invididual that he is a godly man. What do they mean? They mean that he is a God-like man.

What do they mean by that? They mean that that new man is being formed in the image of God, not in the image of Adam. One of these days, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns in the air, we will be caught up in the air with Him, and the work will be complete. The body that is now existing in the image of Adam will be changed and revolutionized and made in the image of God.

Adam was made in the image of God. Had he not fallen, man would now be in the image of God. He fell, so man today is in the image of Adam, not in the image of God until he is born again.


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