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In Whose Image?

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by SueJLove, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 9:10 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Near the Cross.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jeremiah 2 (NIV).

    How You Loved Me

    When I read this passage of scripture concerning how the people of God were devoted to the Lord in their youth, and how, as a bride, they loved the Lord and followed him anywhere, and how they were holy to the Lord, yet how they strayed from the Lord, it reminded me of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation (See Rev. 2-3). Jesus told the church in Ephesus such things as were praiseworthy about them, but then he said that they had forsaken their “first love,” or the “love you had at first.” He asked them to consider how they had fallen, and he called upon them to repent and to do the things they did at first. And, then he warned them that if they did not repent, he would come to them and he would remove their church (lampstand) from its place. Yet, for those who are victorious, he said he would give them the right to partake in all the richest of blessings in heaven.

    When we come to true faith in Jesus Christ, forsaking our former lovers of sin and self, being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and being born of the Spirit of God to now walk in his righteousness and holiness, in the power of the Spirit within us, we are like a new bride completely in love with our Lord. He is the only one who satisfies the deep longings of our souls. None other will do! We have entered into a covenant marriage relationship with Jesus Christ and he is now to be our only husband and Lord (master). The desires of our hearts should now be for him, to live holy lives pleasing unto him, and to walk in all of his ways. And, yet, we still live in flesh bodies which have the propensity to sin and to rebel against God, and to forsake our Lord and to follow again the ways of our flesh.

    Broken Cisterns

    Sometimes, although we may begin our journey with the Lord with the enthusiasm, love, trust, excitement, devotion, commitment and faithfulness of a new bride, we begin to drift away or to be led astray from our pure devotion to the Lord by the things of this world or by the teachings of humans, which sound pleasing to the ear, but which are filled with all kinds of lies and deceptions of Satan. We get bogged down with the cares of this life and we begin to adopt the ways of the world and the philosophies of humans and their humanistic ways of thinking, and thus we forsake our Lord, his truths and his ways in order to follow after what is not of him; what is not founded in the truth of God’s word, and which will never satisfy the deep longings of our souls; and that which will only lead us back down the path of sin.

    The Lord Jesus has recently led me to examine the writings and teachings of one humanistic author-counselor-teacher, because his teachings and his books are sweeping across America’s evangelical church, and many are adopting this man’s teachings in place of the teachings of scripture, and some even strongly defend this man and his teachings without truly examining against the word of God what is really being taught by this man. His teachings and writings are a prime example of the “broken cisterns that cannot hold water” over which God’s people have forsaken their Lord in order to run after these “other gods.”

    What Are We Made Of?

    John Eldredge, in his book “Wild at Heart,” speaking of Adam (in Genesis), said that Adam was created outside the Garden, and it was only after he was created that God placed him within the Garden of Eden. Biblically speaking, that part appears to be accurate. God created Adam and then he placed him in the Garden. Yet, then Eldredge goes on to make a parallel between Adam and all of men, and to suggest that, ever since God placed Adam within the Garden of Eden, “boys have never been at home indoors” (in Eden), and “men have had an insatiable longing to explore” (outside the Garden), and that man longs to return from whence he came, i.e. to the natural state from which he was first created. He said that is where (or when) “most men come alive.” (Ref: chapter 1, pgs. 3-4 in W.a.H.)

    Then, in chapter 2 of his book, he said that “A man has to know where he comes from and what he’s made of” (pg. 21). “Who is this One we allegedly come from, whose image every man bears? What is he like? In a man’s search for his strength, telling him that he’s made in the image of God may not sound like a whole lot of encouragement at first” (pg. 22).

    It is true that Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. They were perfect in holiness, righteousness, immortality, love, truth, and purity. In the Garden of Eden, before their fall into sin, they lived in perfect fellowship and harmony with Almighty God. That is the state in which Adam and Eve were created. They had no sin. Yet, God had also given them a free will, and he gave them opportunity and a choice to obey him or to not obey him. They chose to disobey, and so God banished them from the Garden because of their sin. And, ever since then, man (i.e. all humans) has been born into sin, NOT created in nor bearing the image (likeness; character) of Almighty God. Only Adam (and Eve) and Jesus Christ came into this world without the curse of original sin (See Is. 53:6; Jn. 8:44; Ro. 3:10, 23; Ro. 5:12-21; Ro. 6:20; and 1 Co. 15:22).

    So, in essence, what John Eldredge is suggesting here is that Adam was always unsettled in the Garden of Eden, where he was in perfect fellowship and harmony with God, and that he longed to return to where he was outside the garden. For him, though, that was still in perfect harmony and fellowship with God until after he sinned, which is then when he would have gotten his wish, if we believe what Eldredge says. Yet, to parallel him with all of men, knowing that the “natural” state in which all of humankind since Adam and his fall is that of being born with a sin nature, is to suggest that ALL humans are born in the likeness of God, which they are not, and that all Christian men are unsettled with their pure fellowship with God, and with living in harmony with his divine character, and that they long to go back to their natural state of living in sin and separation from Almighty God and to wander there.

    In The Image of God

    So, if a man needs to know where he comes from and what he is made of, he needs to read the whole Bible, not just the story of creation, and he needs to realize that he comes from Adam and that he is made of original sin, which thus separates him from Almighty God. And, if he wants to know whose image he bears outside of the Garden, i.e. outside of relationship with Jesus Christ/God, then he needs to read the whole of scripture, not John Eldredge, who is teaching what is false about the origins of man and what man, in the flesh, is made of. We are not born bearing the image of God, but we are born bearing the image of Adam (See 1 Co. 15:49) who sinned against God and thus was banished from God’s presence. John Eldredge would have you believe that all of mankind, saved or unsaved, bears the image (likeness) of Almighty God. And, many false beliefs have been built off of that lie.

    Yet, all is not hopeless! Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth in the likeness of human flesh so that he could become our perfect sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. When he died and was buried, our sins were put to death and were buried with him. When he arose from the dead, he conquered sin, death, hell and Satan so we could go free from eternal punishment and banishment from God; so we could be free from slavery to sin day-to-day, and so we could walk freely in his righteousness and holiness. And, when we enter into such faith with him, it is then that we can begin to bear the image of God, but not in absolute perfection until we reach heaven.

    So, the way in which we (only true followers of Jesus Christ and not all humans) can now bear the image (likeness) of God is through the cross of Christ. Col. 1:15 says: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 1 Co. 15:49 says: “And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.” We, the redeemed of the Lord, have been predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son (See Ro. 8:29). We, who are in Christ, “are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Co. 3:18). So, although we are not created (born) in God’s image, as was Adam originally, yet through Jesus Christ we are being transformed into his image (his likeness, character, holiness, and purity). It is a process, though.

    Yet, if you are among those who think you bear the image of God just because you are human, then you need to come to the cross of Christ. And, if you are among the “fallen” who have forsaken their first love, as did Adam and Eve, and you were once in sincere and unadulterated fellowship with your Lord, but you have since wandered off to follow after the gods of men, or after the teachings of those who give you the messages your itching ears long to hear, then I pray you would repent of your sin, and that you would return to your Lord, and that you would do the things you did at first. God is going to judge one day. He will bring judgment upon the unbelieving world, but he will also judge his idolatrous church (See Rev. 2-3), so don’t play with what is not of God and think you are ok. Be back in fellowship (in Eden) with him today while you still have today.

    Near the Cross / Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane

    Jesus, keep me near the cross;
    There a precious fountain,
    Free to all, a healing stream,
    Flows from Calvary's mountain.

    Near the cross, a trembling soul,
    Love and mercy found me;
    There the bright and morning star
    Sheds its beams around me.

    Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
    Bring its scenes before me;
    Help me walk from day to day
    With its shadow o'er me.

    Near the cross I'll watch and wait,
    Hoping, trusting ever,
    Till I reach the golden strand
    Just beyond the river.

    In the cross, in the cross,
    Be my glory ever,
    Till my raptured soul shall find
    Rest beyond the river.

  2. Addendum

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 3:53 p.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Only In Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart.

    The Lord Jesus led me to examine this subject a little more closely, so I did some further research in scripture concerning in whose image we are born. This is not an easy subject or one that all theologians agree upon, so I will do my best, as a clay vessel in the hands of the Potter, to share with you what I believe the word of God teaches on this subject, and how false teaching is terribly distorting and twisting the truth of scripture to the advantage of sinful and fallen man.

    First off, in Genesis 1:27 we read: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (cf. Gen. 9:6; Jas. 3:9).

    Then, we read in Genesis 5:1-2: “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.”

    Ok, this is interesting. When God originally created humankind, he created them in his own image, which, from what I can tell, included in the likeness of his holiness, righteousness and sinlessness, among other things related to his image (likeness; resemblance). This passage in Genesis 5 seems to suggest that it was in the day when God originally created man that he made man in his (their) own likeness. And, then it goes on to say that Adam became the father of a son (Seth) in his OWN likeness, according to HIS image, not according to the image of God, it appears.

    Then, in 1 Co. 15:45-49 (ESV) we read: “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”

    This passage of scripture is given in the context of teaching about the resurrection of the dead. It talks about how, when Christ returns, that our (the saints of God) perishable bodies will be raised as imperishable bodies. The first man, Adam, was created from the dust of the earth. The second man, Adam (Jesus Christ), is from heaven. Our natural bodies are conceived in sin; born of the flesh of man, and subject to the curse of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ” (vv. 21-23).

    Yet, this is not merely speaking of our physical bodies, nor does all of it apply to all of humanity. We, as humans, since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, have been born into sin, i.e. we are born with sin natures (sown in dishonor and weakness). We not only have perishable bodies, but outside of faith in Jesus Christ, we are also dead spiritually and are destined to perish for eternity in hell (See Is. 53:6; Jn. 8:44; Ro. 3:10, 23; 5:12-21; 6:20 & 1 Co. 15:22; 2 Co. 4:4). Unregenerate man bears (wears) the image of Adam, not the image of God until he is reborn of the Spirit of God, and in Christ we are made alive (See Ro 8:29; 13:14; 1 Co. 15:49; 2 Co. 3:18; Eph. 4:24; Col. 1:15; 3:10; 2 Pet. 1:3-4).

    So, what this is saying, I believe, is that we, as humans, are not born bearing the image of God; not born participating in God’s divine nature, but rather we are born into sin, bearing the image of Adam. Rom. 3:23 says: “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” So, what does that mean? It means we no longer bear the image of God as we (humankind) did when mankind was first created. Man fell, and since then all of mankind has come up short - i.e. to fall short of the goal, defeated, failure to meet a standard; deprived – of God’s glory – his beauty, majesty, and splendor; divine nature, character and deeds – the essence of who he is and what he does. And, that is why Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins so that we could be restored to God, and so we could be renewed in the knowledge of him and transformed into his image.

    The Lie

    Ok, so John Eldredge (and I am quite sure he is not the only one) leads people astray, because what he teaches is in direct opposition to what the word of God teaches with regard to the origins of man and the image of God within man.

    In his book “Wild at Heart” Eldredge parallels all men, saved and unsaved, with Adam in the Garden of Eden - created in God’s image, bearing his likeness - suggesting we are all born into such a perfect state as Adam was created. Not only that, but he also suggests that all of men, including Adam, long(ed) to escape Eden (indoors) and to return to the natural state from which they were created (or born) – see pgs. 3-4.

    Adam was created in God’s image. All of mankind since Adam have been born into sin and bear the image of Adam, and only in Christ Jesus can we be restored to God and be “being” (a process) transformed into Christ’s (God’s) image. So, for man to long to leave Eden and to return to their natural state, would suggest that all Christian men long to leave their close intimate walks with the Lord Jesus, provided by his death on the cross, and that they long to return to their natural state of sin and separation from God.

    And, then Eldredge states in his book, “Wild at Heart,” that men ask themselves these questions: “Who am I? What am I made of? What am I destined for?” (pg. 5) “A man has to know where he comes from and what he’s made of,” (pg. 21) he says. And, then he says, “Who is this One we allegedly come from, whose image every man bears? What is he like? In a man’s search for his strength, telling him that he’s made in the image of God may not sound like a whole lot of encouragement at first” (pg. 22).

    I find it interesting that he uses the term “allegedly.” That may be very telling. Certainly we are among God’s created works, and we (mankind) are the only ones originally created in his image; and the only of his created works with a soul – i.e. with the ability to sin and to be saved; to accept or to reject God. And, yet, what Eldredge fails miserably to do in helping men discover who they are, and what they are made of, is to tell them the truth about the fall of man, the sin nature we are born with, and the image of (fallen) Adam that we bear. He completely leaves out the fall of man from this parallel of man to Adam, and from his description of who man is and how he can find who he is supposed to become. In other words, he completely leaves out the gospel of salvation, he puts all men on the same playing level, whether saved or unsaved, and he tries to make all men as bearing the image of God, which he then distorts in order, I believe, to bring God down to man’s level.

    And not only that, but he leads men on a ‘safari’ to discover their own hearts, which are not all renewed in the power of the regenerating work of the Spirit of God within them. He asks men to look within their own hearts and to discover their own passions and desires, and to get their own hearts back (from the natural state in which they were born) so that they can follow the passions, desires and longings of their own hearts. He said that men need “permission to live from the heart and not from a list of ‘should’ and ‘ought’ that has left so many of us tired and bored…” (See book introduction & pgs. 3-4.)

    What he thus suggests here is that men should follow their own natural inclinations, i.e. their wild, untamed and undomesticated hearts, which he states is God’s heart, too, and that they should reject the “should” and “ought” of God’s holy word and of Christ’s commandments. And, again, he speaks to all men, whether saved or unsaved, yet not all men have God’s heart or bear his image. So, he can’t lead all men to be like their creator, because not all men know God. Only in Christ Jesus, by God’s grace, through faith, can we begin to know God and to bear his TRUE likeness.

    ONLY IN HIM / An Original Work / February 19, 2014

    Based off Isaiah 30

    Woe to those who look to man’s help;
    Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
    Forming an alliance not in step with God;
    Making their own plans, and praying not.

    Willing not to listen to truth,
    They close their ears to what is right.
    Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
    Feel good messages that bring cheer.

    Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
    Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
    Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
    Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.

    Your Lord will be gracious to you.
    He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
    He forgives you all of your sin
    When you give your life up to Him.

    Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
    When you bow to Him on your knees;
    Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
    He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.

    Now you will sing praises to Him.
    He delivered you from your sin.
    You’ll tell others now of His grace,
    So they may see Christ face-to-face.


    Additional Resources: “Insults to God” - http://originalworks.info/insults-to-god/; “Emergency” - http://originalworks.info/emergency/; and “In Whose Image?” (original) - http://originalworks.info/in-whose-image/
  3. On further examination of this verse found in Jas. 3:9, I believe now that this is not speaking of man who was made in the image of God in creation, but rather this is speaking of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit of God in transforming followers of Christ into the image (likeness) of Christ, for the verb translated "made" is actually “being made,” which denotes continuous action. This also is consistent with other teachings in the NT on the image (likeness) of God/Christ – only believers in Christ are being made into his likeness.


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