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The IMAGE and LIKENESS of GOD
The Relationship between GOD, JESUS CHRIST and MAN
1. Words related to eikōn
[1A] G1504 - εἰκών (eikōn)
A. Thayer Definition
1) an image, figure, likeness
1a) an image of the things (the heavenly things)
1a1) used of the moral likeness of renewed men to God
1a2) the image of the Son of God, into which true Christians are transformed, is likeness not only to the heavenly body, but also to the most holy and blessed state of mind, which Christ possesses
1b) the image of one
1b1) one in whom the likeness of any one is seen
1b2) applied to man on account of his power of command
1b3) to Christ on account of his divine nature and absolute moral excellence
B. Verses with this word
Matthew 22:20; Mark 12:16; Luke 20:24; Romans 1:23; 8:29; 1 Corinthians 11:7; 15:49 (2x); 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:4; Colossians 1:15; 3:10; Hebrews 10:1; Revelation 13:14-15 (3x); 14:9; 14:11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4
1. Used of objects.
a. A coin - with Caesar's image on it.
i. Matthew 22:20 - Whose image / likeness and inscription is on this coin?
ii. Mark 12:16 - Whose image / likeness and inscription is on this coin?
iii. Luke 20:24 - Whose image / likeness and inscription is on this coin?
b. The Law - a "shadow," not the thing itself.
i. Hebrews 10:1 - The Law is a "shadow" of the good things to come, not the image / form / reality itself.
ii. CONTRASTING WORDS - image and shadow.
2. Used of things that are set up in place of God.
a. Created images chosen in place of God.
i. Romans 1:23 - They abandoned the glory of the immortal God, and went after images made to look like mortal creatures.
b. The "Image of the Beast" in the book of Revelation.
i. The false prophet - deceives the people; gets them to worship the beast's image; is punished.
(1) Revelation 13:14-15 - He ordered those he deceived to set up an image in honor of the first beast. He gave breath to the image, so the image could speak and could cause those who refused to worship the image to be killed.
(2) Revelation 19:20 - He deceived those who worshiped the image... He and the beast were thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
ii. Those who worship the image - punishment in their present life, and punishment in eternity.
(1) Revelation 16:2 - The first "bowl of wrath" - painful and ugly sores on those who... worshiped the image...
(2) Revelation 14:9, 11 - Anyone who worships the beast and his image (etc.) - eternal torment in the lake of fire. This applies to all who worship the beast and his image (etc.).
iii. Those who did not worship the image - may have persecution in their present life, but will have reward in eternity.
(1) Revelation 15:2 - Those who had been victorious over the beast and his image (etc.) - singing a song of praise in God's presence...
(2) Revelation 20:4 - Those who had been beheaded because they refused to worship the beast or its image (etc.) - they reigned with Christ 1000 years.
3. Being in the "Image of God."
a. Man - He is [came into being as] the "image of God."
i. 1 Corinthians 11:7 - Man is the image and glory of God.
[1A-1] Note on 1 Corinthians 11:7 - man came into being as the image of God.
G5225 - ὑπάρχω (huparchō)
1) to begin below, to make a beginning
1a) to begin
2) to come forth, hence to be there, be ready, be at hand
3) to be
b. Jesus Christ - He is the "image of God."
i. 2 Corinthians 4:4 - Christ is the image of God.
ii. Colossians 1:15 - [Christ] the Son is the image of the invisible God.
[1A-2] Note on 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Colossians 1:15 - Christ is the image of God.
G2076 - ἐστί (esti)
1) third person singular of “to be”
4. The saved man's "Image"
a. We bore Adam's "earthly" image; we shall bear Christ's (the "second Adam's") "heavenly" image.
i. 1 Corinthians 15:49 - Just as we bore the image / likeness of the "earthly" man [Adam], so also will we bear the image / likeness of the "heavenly" one [Christ].
b. Some of the changes that are (or will be) occurring.
i. Romans 8:29 - God predestined us to become conformed to the image of his Son.
ii. 2 Corinthians 3:18 - We, who are being exposed to the Lord's glory (like seeing it through a mirror) are being transformed into that image of glory that we are viewing. [Note the contrast - When Moses saw God's glory, its effects were temporary and fading; when we see God's glory (through Christ), it is permanent and increasing.]
iii. Colossians 3:10 - We have taken off the "old self" and put on the "new self." This "new self" is being made new in the image of the Creator. (This results in a change in our perspective and conduct.)
The nature of physical images, described above, can teach us much about the nature of non-physical images. The image is not the full expression of the object itself, but (hopefully) an accurate representation of it. [In contrast, the "shadow" would be even further removed from identity with the object itself - though bearing some resemblance of it.]
Even as humans, we may be an "image" of our parents, but we are not our parents.
In the created world, no expression of uncreated deity could ever be a full expression of God. This is because the Creator is infinite, and creation is finite. Therefore, the "image" of the invisible, uncreated God is not a full expression of deity itself, but an accurate representation of it. God is so much greater than the creation, that the greatest "fullness of deity" that could be expressed in creation would only be a finite manifestation of God. It could only be an image or reflection of the greatness of his being.
There is an interesting difference between humans, as the image of God, and Jesus Christ, as the image of God. There are two Greek words for "is." The one focuses on a state of ongoing existence; the other focuses on an existence that came into being, or is owned or possessed. Whereas man "came to possess" the image of God when he was created (Genesis 1 and 2), Jesus, by nature, "is" that image.
Because of sin, man's "image" has undergone change. There is now a need for restoration and change. Through Christ Jesus, that change is not only possible, but (for his followers) it is guaranteed. We are becoming more like the One who made us (God) and the One who saved us (Jesus Christ) - not physically, but in non-physical ways: in moral and "heavenly" ways. A glorious expression of God's character is, once again, capable of being seen in us - and increasingly so, as the work of restoration goes on toward its completion. [In contrast, this expression of glory is not something Jesus needs to get, but something he, by nature, has.]
[1B] G1503 - εἴκω (eikō) - Perhaps a related word
A. Thayer Definition
1) to be like
Note: the NAS concordance lists this word as: G1858a - ἔοικα (eoika); with the definition "to be like."
B. Verses with this word
James 1:6, 23
1. Something that is similar / like something else.
a. James 1:6 - A doubter is like / similar to a wave of the sea.
b. James 1:23 - A person who hears God's Word but doesn't do what it says is like / similar to a person who looks in a mirror and then forgets what he looks like.
Though not really significant for our present study, there are two important warnings we can learn from these passages. Because we can see what these two types of people are "like," we can see the reason for not becoming them, ourselves.
Dennis Hinks © 1983, 2006
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