I. Man and woman were Formed in God’s Image at Creation (See Part 1)
II. The Image of God was Deformed at the Fall of Man into Sin
As Ryrie states it, the image of God “was defaced though not erased” (Basic Theology, first edition, p. 192). The image of God was not totally erased or the following exhortations relevant to the image of God would be meaningless.
A. The image of God is the basis for the exhortation not to murder (Genesis 9:6).
B. The image of God is the basis for the exhortation for men to be heads of home (1 Corinthians 11:3-16).
C. The image of God is the basis for proper speech (James 3:7-9).
D. The result of the Fall was Total Depravity. Every dimension of man was tainted by sin. All of the above areas of the image of God were also corrupted so that we are not as much like God as we were before the Fall. “His moral purity has been lost and his sinful character certainly does not reflect God’s holiness. His intellect is corrupted by falsehood and misunderstanding; his speech no longer continually glorifies God; his relationships are often governed by selfishness rather than love, and so forth” (Grudem, page 444).
III. The Believer is being Transformed into the Image of God since Salvation
Though the sinner is totally depraved and the original image or likeness of God in us has been greatly distorted there is the hope that salvation can start restoring that likeness. This is the assurance of 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Since our conversion we are closer to the original image of God. There are two parallel passages that make this point. The first is Colossians 3:10 where image is mentioned. The next is the parallel to Colossians 3:10 which is Ephesians 4:24 which alludes to creation. “Charles Hodge contends that ‘knowledge’ refers to (true) knowledge of God, since the word has this sense in Colossians 1:6, 9, 27-28; 2:2-3, that ‘righteousnesss’ refers to moral rectitude toward one’s neighbor, that is, justice, and that ‘holiness’ refers to the Godward relation known as piety toward God….this means that these three’ renewed image virtues are indicative of right relationships with God and neighbor” (Reymond, p. 429).
The key is in Colossians 3:10 which says this restoration of the image of God takes place as we are “renewed in knowledge.”
According to Romans 12:1-2, this renewal and transformation are taking place by the renewing of our minds in Word of God.
IV. The Believer will be Perfectly Conformed to God’s Image in Heaven
The perfect image of God is Christ. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul promised that we are being changed more and more into the image of the Lord. A few verses later in 4:4, Paul says that Christ “is the image of God.”
A. This Image will include a physical likeness to Christ
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul describes the future resurrection body of the believer. In 15:49, Paul says “we have borne the image of the earthy” that is Adam. Because Adam sinned, God said, “This day you will surely die.” Because we bear the image of Adam, we physically are dying. Paul described how that physical likeness to Adam causes us to die in verses 42-45: Our physical body which is like Adam’s dies in corruption, dishonor, weakness, as a natural body.
But Paul also promises the believer that “we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (15:49b). Because we know Christ though buried in the image of Adam we will be raised in the physical image of Christ’s resurrection body or “in incorruption, in glory, and in power” (15:42-45).
Every person now has the physical image of Adam stamped on his person but eventually we will perfectly be like Christ physcially and morally.
B. This Image will include a moral and spiritual likeness to Christ
One day we will be like Christ morally and spiritually (1 John 3:2). According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:44, we will enjoy a “spiritual body” that is a physical body with spiritual significance just like the children of Israel ate real meat (called “spiritual meat”) and drank real water (called “spiritual drink”) that had a spiritual significance in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:3-4).
Paul in Romans 8:28-29 says we are being conformed to the image of Christ who according to Heb. 1:3 is the “express image of God.” In 2 Cor. 3:18, Paul writes that believers are being changed or transformed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord. The end of this process of “glory to glory” is gloryfication (intended misspell) or glorification or perfect likeness to Christ.
What are some important implications of the Image of God
1. Capital Punishment is Biblical because the murdered was in the image of God. A Connecticut jury has deliberated for days whether convicted murderer Steven Hayes gets the death penality. Steven Hayes raped and murdered Mrs. Petit and put the two girls of Dr. and Mrs. Petit in bed and then set the bed on fire. What is there to deliberate about?
2. Abortion is wrong because pre-born babies are in the image of God.
3. Euthanasia is also wrong. The elderly do not lose any of the image of God with age. Not only should we have programs and ministries for the children and youth but the elderly.
4. Racism is sin because all peoples are made in the image of God.
5. The deformed are important to God because they bear His image.
6. The comatose is still a person. The sanctity of life nor the image of God is not reduced when the quality of life is reduced.