The Image of God | Daily Devotional by John MacArthur
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
What is the image of God? The Hebrew word for “image,” tselem, comes from a root that speaks of carving. It is the same word used to speak of graven images (Ex. 20:4). It almost seems to convey the idea that man was carved into the shape of God.
It suggests that God was, in essence, the pattern for the personhood of man. That is not true of anything else in the space-time universe.
Clearly, because the image of God is unique to humanity, it must describe some aspect of human nature that is not shared by animals.
It isn’t talking about biology or physiology. It certainly isn’t a reference to the way that we look as creatures made of flesh and bone. After all, “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). And “a spirit does not have flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39).
Clearly this deals primarily with man’s spiritual attributes—our self-consciousness, our moral consciousness, and our consciousness of others—especially our consciousness of God Himself. (Animals are conscious, but they are not self-conscious, morally aware, or able to have a truly personal relationship.)
But above all, the image of God can be summed up by the word personhood. We are persons. Our lives involve relationships.
We are capable of fellowship. We are able to love other persons in a Godlike sense. We understand communion. We have an amazing capacity for language.
The image of God is personhood, and personhood can function only in the context of relationships.
How can you reflect God’s qualities today in your relationships?