Man in God’s Image and Likeness

In this creation, man had the capability of voluntary thought, which put him into a position of responsibility. He could therefore obey or disobey. We know that he disobeyed, and the motivation was not the fruit, but ‘self’. The fall was total: man gave up God. In new creation it is different, man now has the knowledge of what God is, having been created ‘in righteousness and holiness of truth’ (Eph 4:24). We have a powerful, intimate relationship in communion with God, by the Holy Spirit. We have been redeemed.

 

A summary of J N Darby’s note on ‘Image and Likeness’ – Notes & Comments vol 1 p 178.

In Genesis 1 God created man in His image.  The Greek word used, according to Strong (1503) is εἰκών/eikṓn – a mirror-like, high-definition representation, very close in resemblance.  The word is used for ‘statue’.  See 1 Cor 11:7 , ‘a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God’ and other scriptures.

This is different from chapter 2 which concerns man’s relationship to God – like offspring (γένος/genos – Strong 1085) – see Acts 17:29we are the offspring of God’.

In this creation, man had the capability of voluntary thought, which put him into a position of responsibility.  He could therefore obey or disobey.  We know that he disobeyed, and the motivation was not the fruit, but ‘self’.  The fall was total: man gave up God.

Christ, the second Adam, gave up any thought of His own will – He did not use His liberty or power for His will.  He came to obey ‘Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.’( Heb 10:7 and Ps 40:7-8).  He renounced self.  In the midst of ruin, He bound the strong man, whereas in the place of blessing, Adam succumbed.  He bore the abandonment, into which man had voluntarily run, to his eternal ruin.

In new creation it is different, man now has the knowledge of what God is, having been created ‘in righteousness and holiness of truth’ (Eph 4:24).  We have a powerful, intimate relationship in communion with God, by the Holy Spirit.  We have been redeemed.  Because of the Lord’s perfect work of grace, we have been brought back, restored and reconciled to God. What a wondrous thing is redemption!

 

Sosthenes

November 2016

 

 

 

The Irrationalism of Infidelity –Objections Dependent on “Science”

There is no inconsistency. As regards man, the science of physiology can only examine man as he is — in a state of mortality. This is not, according to scripture how God created him. To suppose that God could not have sustained man in an immortal condition, is to put limitations on God, who cannot be limited. We are taught that following the fall, man became a dying creature, subject to ‘wear and tear’

Although JND used the word ‘science’, this objection surrounds more the anthropological background to beliefs worldwide.

It is not related to technological developments about which JND could not have known. These are however irrelevant to this discussion. I do not believe anything of the bible has been disproved by the discoveries of the past 150 years.

Objection – The biblical account is inconsistent with modern knowledge.

The_Fall_of_Man-1616-Hendrik_GoltziusAnswer. There is no inconsistency. As regards man, the science of physiology can only examine man as he is — in a state of mortality. This is not, according to scripture how God created him. To suppose that God could not have sustained man in an immortal condition, is to put limitations on God, who cannot be limited. We are taught that following the fall, man became a dying creature, subject to ‘wear and tear’.

If we look into ancient texts we find various references consistent with the account in Genesis. For example Plato wrote, ‘They lived naked in a state of happiness, and had an abundance of fruits, which were produced without the labour of agriculture, and men and beasts could then converse together. But these things we must pass over, until there appear some one to interpret them to us.’ [I cannot locate Source – maybe the Republic]. Fragments of truth, amidst the mass of superstition, exist in Egyptian, Greek, Mexican and Hindu fables. However, none of the written accounts are older than about 700BC [National Geographic refers to Mycenaean writing around 1450BC, the time of the exodus, but that makes no difference].

The millions of years of Hindu chronology, or the more moderate thousands of Chinese dynasties, have disappeared before increased information. Indeed, we have some Chinese dynasties and some dark Hindu traditions, which tend to confirm the early Mosaic accounts.

God, however, has given us a concise, simple account of immense moral import, infinitely elevated above the whole range of the heathen fables which pervert its elements, placing the supreme God — man —  good — evil —  responsibility — grace —  law — promise —  the creatures — marriage, all in their place. The Mosaic account brings out the innocence at creation, the knowledge of good and evil, conscience, judgment, the closing of the way to the tree of life, and the promise in the woman’s seed.

In so many fables there is the conflict between good and evil, with good prevailing. However in scripture, the drama was a reality; all involving one man and his failing companion. Yet from her who failed recovery was to spring; grace was to be brought out and magnified.

Another thing is evident, that Mesopotamia, and the country north of it, is the area from which the world was peopled.   Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, all are grouped round it. Indeed the Phoenicians even went to Ireland. [Skeptics might argue nowadays that early man came from Africa, but this is not the subject here].

No creature can subsist per se, that is, independently of God.

The Irrationalism of Infidelity – The Sentence on the Serpent: Serpent Worship

Going on its belly and eating dust (Genesis 3:15) shows the complete humiliation of the serpent. In its fullest extent it is a symbol of death. The whole thing is scorned but it gives the source, explanation and judgment of what has characterised the human race, everywhere and at all time.

serpent-worshipThe Sentence on the Serpent: Serpent Worship

Objection: The sentence of the serpent is just a fable

Answer: Going on its belly and eating dust (Genesis 3:15)  shows the complete humiliation of the serpent.  In its fullest extent it is a symbol of death.   The whole thing is scorned but it gives the source, explanation and judgment of what has characterised the human race, everywhere and at all time.

Man has worshipped the serpent, perhaps more than anything else, with the possible exception of the Sun in Greece and Rome.  Ophiolatry, or serpent worship, is found in China, Egypt, Babylon, England (Stonehenge), Ireland, France, North and South America, Russia, Scandinavia, India and Africa.  People kept serpents as household gods, wore ornaments as talismans, and tattooed images of the serpent and the sun on their skin.  It is often portrayed erect, being fed with sweet cakes, with a naked woman as priestess in attendance.    The Hivites who were driven out of Palestine by Joshua were serpent worshippers. Scripture presents that old serpent as the one who elevated himself as god of all the world.   Yet the serpent is a venomous prostrate reptile.   So when we see the whole world of these traditions of the serpent, of the worship of the serpent (erect), a sober mind must deduce the immense moral importance of this phenomenon, as exposing, the terrible and real secret of it all – the ruined condition of rebellious and disobedient man.  Scripture has not invented these facts.

Also, the notion of gaining wisdom from serpents is universal.  Satan seized upon the idea of God in men’s minds, and, where possible has connected man’s obscure traditions with himself.  The sun is seen as the benefactor; the serpent the one giving intelligence, and both became associated with the idea of the unity of deity and the universe.  Moreover, in Egypt above the serpent-worshipping temple of Isis there were the words  ‘I am all that hath been, and is, and shall be; and my veil no mortal hath ever removed’.   All wisdom was purported to be there.

Sometimes the worship of the sun drove out serpent worship, yet it was always remained connected with it.   Apollo (the sun), established his worship at Delphi by slaying Typhon, an immense serpent, who was also said to have been cast down from heaven by Jupiter.  He then gave oracles in his place, Delphi.  Scandinavian mythology is similar, the great serpent being Loke.  Hercules, Thor and Krishna kill serpents. (or dragons). 

 It would appear that idolatry came in after the flood.  There is a vague tradition of a reign of bliss under Saturn, his three sons, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, becoming the supreme gods of heaven, earth, and sea.   In some way these correspond to Shem, Ham and Japeth.  They carried a statue about in a kind of ship.  Indeed they used the same word for ‘temple’ and ‘ship’. 

There is the pain of childbirth, a pain borne by the woman, the man being exempt.  But faith can lay hold of the real meaning of the statement that the woman’s seed will crush the head of the serpent.

Summary by Sosthenes of J.N. Darby’s original article.  For the source please click here.

The Irrationalism of Infidelity – The Fall of Man and its Effect

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

The_Fall_of_Man-1616-Hendrik_GoltziusObjection:  The thought of the fall of man, or original sin, is totally irrational.  Evolution shows that people die, just like the animals.  And there is good in everybody.

Answer:  Paul wrote, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12).

We are taught, and accept by faith, that when man was created, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, a thing never said of animals.  Death was to be the result of failure to obey God’s word.   Beasts are described as perishing beings — “The beasts that perish.” (Ps. 49:20) Peter says, “Natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed.” (2 Peter 2:12).

Darby makes an interesting observation:  God does not answer our curiosity as to the condition of the animals prior to the fall or man.  We are told that the creature has got into misery and ruin by our fall, and will not be restored till we are manifested in glory; and this is true even of our bodies.  This is morally important for us to know, so that we might be humbled by the way in which man has dragged the animal creation with him.  Things will be restored; our glory would be the occasion of the restoration of blessing for all creation.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Rom. 8:22