Kingdom Nuggets: Image & Likeness by Lanny Swaim
By Lanny Swaim
Book and Commentar
By Jeremy Lopez
Available as books or ebooks.
And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:26-27
And the LORD God said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” Genesis 3:22
In Genesis 1:26 God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” There is much debate as to the literal meaning of image and likeness in this verse. My intention is not to look into that debate in this teaching, but instead to share revelation I have been given on the subject.
The Hebrew word for image is tselem and can mean to be a representative of something. God created man to be His representative on Earth. In our Republican form of government in the United States, we elect representatives to represent the general population in congress. We also have ambassadors we send to other countries to represent the United States.
God created man to represent Him on Earth.
The Hebrew word for likeness is demuth and has to do with character. To be made in God’s image has to do with representing Him on Earth while to be made in His likeness has to do with becoming like Him in character, having His nature.
In Genesis 1:27 we are told that God created man, both male and female in His own image. But there is no more mention of likeness.
As I was reading this one day, I suddenly realized that God created man in His image, but He did not create man in His likeness, right after He said, “Let us make man in our image after our likeness.” So I asked Him, “What’s the deal?” You created man in your image, but you didn’t create him in your likeness, right after you said, ‘Let us make man in our image after our likeness.’”
Immediately I realized, “Image can be created. Advertising agencies create image all the time. Hollywood is all about creating image. But likeness, or character, cannot be created. Character must be developed.”
This tells me that Adam was created sinless but not perfect. Perfection has to do with character, and since character cannot be created but must instead be developed, Adam was not created perfect. It actually took the fall of man, which necessitated the coming of Jesus as a man, to enable man to even begin to become like God in character.
God created Adam not only knowing he would disobey and fall, but knowing he had to disobey and fall, which is made clear in Genesis 3:22 where God says that man had become like God knowing good and evil.
It took man becoming like God in that respect (knowing good and evil) in order for Him to become like God in character.
Adam’s fall opened the door to sin and death, which has caused much suffering on planet Earth. But it is through suffering that we learn obedience and God’s character is developed in us. Even Jesus had to learn obedience through the things He suffered (see Hebrews 5:8).
We’ve blamed the serpent, we blamed Eve and we’ve even blamed Adam for the condition of mankind down through the centuries until the present time, but ultimately it was all part of God’s plan to have a people like Himself, which has been His intent since before the foundation of the world.