Just What IS The Image of God?
Just what does it mean to be made in the image of God? If one believes the Mormon church, we find that God is literally a God in human form. Joseph Smith even said, “I say, if you were to see Him today, you would see Him like a man in form – like yourselves, in all the person, image, and very form of a man.” (Smith, History of the Church Vol 6, p. 305). Many of todays televised evangelists believe this same view of God. Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and Creflo Dollar all hold to the view that God’s image as portrayed in the Bible is a literal view.
In the Bible, however, the words “likeness” and “image” are used synonymously. In the Old Testament the words are used as quickly together as in Genesis 1:26-27 where both words are used together. Even the New Testament uses in 1 Corinthians 11:7 and James 3:9 use them interchangeably. If we are created in both His image and likeness, then how can we see that in our features?
According to John 4:24, God is spirit. This does not mean that God is physical with manly features. The Hebrew words show that our image likeness is in our eternal spirit. It would not make sense to say that our likeness is physical because that would mean God is of varying colors and sexes and that we should not have differences in our features or, God forbid, physical ailments. Romans 4:24 even helps us see that this likeness is spiritual in aspect and not physical.
With regard to the relationship of man to woman, Genesis 1:26-27 is a key verse. Remember, we were made in His likeness, a spiritual likeness. This is also a likeness of leadership, as was expressed in Genesis 1:26. When we get to 1:27, we see that God created us both male and female. This creation is giving us a relational likeness of God, whether male or female.
God created the man a helper. The words used, however, do not denote inferiority. This helper is more like a partner, a co-worker, equal in all aspects of this life.
As one reads through even more of the Bible, the Proverbs 31 woman is one that is praised. This woman is not a “barefoot and pregnant” subservient wife, but a wife that is just as accountable for the entire family as is the man. The man and the woman are partners in life.
Even in the New Testament, Jesus and Paul both show their appreciation for women in ministry. Jesus uses Mary to teach Martha about patience. Paul constantly thanks Priscilla and other women for being strong supporters of his ministry.
As a man who is seeking a Proverbs 31 woman to share my ministry with, I am constantly looking for what God expects of both myself and my future helpmeet. I believe wholeheartedly that we are called to be partners, not boss/employee.