The Image of God

The goal of this study is to find out...

  • What does the Bible mean when it says people were created in God's image?
  • What is the Image of God in YOU?
  And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after our likeness. Gen 1.26a

Question- Which of the following Options best defines "the image of God?"

Option A: God's physical appearance

Option B: God's personality

Option C: God's attributes

  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created God him; male and female created God them. Gen 1.27
Discussion of Option A - Does God's Image mean His *physical appearance*?    
  • John 4.24 says that God is a spirit.
  God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
  • Moreover, the verse alongside makes it quite clear that God is invisible.
  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Tim 1.17
  • Thus, Option A is incorrect. The image of God cannot mean that you have God's physical appearance. Why? Because God is an invisible spirit.
Discussion of Option C - Does God's image mean His *attributes*?    
The Bible tells you many facts about God's nature. Those facts are often called "The Attributes of God."

The Bible identifies more than 30 attributes of Almighty God. I have listed just three examples in the panel alongside.

God's attributes include the facts that God is eternal, all-powerful, and holy. Those facts are NOT true of you. Accordingly, Option C is incorrect.
  [Eternal] Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God. Ps 90.2

[All-powerful] Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. Jer 32.17

[Holy] Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory! Isa 6.3b


  • Having eliminated Options A & C, it is Biblebell's OPINION that Option B is correct.
  • That is, I feel that there is strong support for concluding that God created people to have "personality traits" similar to His own.
  • If my OPINION is correct, then people bear the image of God's personality or character.
  • Thus, if you learn about God's personality, you shall also learn a lot about yourself.
  [Jesus is...] the brightness of His [God's] glory and the express image [Greek: charakter] of His person
Heb 1.3a
  Strong's #5481 charakter
from the same as 5482; a graver (the tool or the person), i.e. (by implication) engraving,
character, an exact copy

Homework Assignment

  • According to the verses alongside, you can learn a lot about God by studying the Universe and living creatures that God created.
  • Think carefully about the nature and design of the things you can observe in God's universe.
  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Ps 19.1

[Spoken to God...] When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained Ps 8.3

Since the creation of the world God's invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse
Rom 1.20
  • Also, you can tell a lot about an author by reading one of his books.
  • According to the verses alongside, people wrote the Bible, but God is the Author of every word that they wrote.
  • Think carefully about what you have read and heard and been taught from God's Bible.
  • Assignment- Write down 4 or 5 descriptions of God's personality, based on what you see in His creation, and read in His Bible.
  No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Pet 1.20-21

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness 2 Tim 3.16

Biblebell's answers

  • I did the same written assignment that I have asked you to do.
  • The following sections present you with FOUR aspects of God's personality that I discovered in what He wrote and created.
  • See how my answers compare with yours.


1- God is very *creative*

  • God enjoys making things. Moreover, His creative nature is present in every one of us.
  • I well remember the busy little hands of my three kids when they were toddlers. Oh how they loved to take things apart and put them back together!
  • My daughter Amanda's "Easy-Bake Oven" where she whipped up (uhhh) delicious little cookies.
  • My son Billy's Lego set that he played with by the hour.
  • My daughter Kris's pleasure in drawing with her Crayolas.
  • They were all three born with an inner joy of creating things. So was I. So were you. So was everyone. And that creative joy reflects the personality of your Heavenly Father.

2- God is wonderfully *artistic*

  • God relishes beauty, design, and variety.
  • Just like our God who created us, we love to decorate our environment.
  • We CARE about the color, shape, and style of our homes, our cars, our clothes.
  • We landscape our yards, put rings on our fingers, hang pictures on our walls.
  • In all this, we reflect God's personality for God is, indeed, an artist.
  • God painted the rampant colors of flowers, rainbows, butterflies, peacocks, sunsets.
  • God sculpted the beautifully shaped bodies of people, giraffes, and roses.
  • God conceived the geometric designs of snowflakes and crystals.
  • God crafted the translucent splendor of diamonds, rubies, emeralds.
  • God adorned His universe with galaxies of stars -- and did so with greater ease than we put ornaments on a Christmas tree. -->

3- God enjoys diversity

  • When God made things, God certainly did NOT standardize. God made myriads of colors and hues, aromas, textures, sizes, shapes, and sounds.
  • God made things hot and cold, sweet and sour, smooth and rough, big and small, and everything in between.
  • It was God who manufactured the sweet fragrance of carnations, the pungency of cedar, the musky aroma of a sweaty horse.
  • God concocted the luscious taste of honey, the burning tang of onions.
  • It was God who composed the canary's joyous trill, the mournful symphony of wind in the trees, the rhythmic boom of pounding surf.
  • We love variety and diversity. We don't want to eat always the same old food, or wear the same old clothes, or smell the same old smells. Why? Because we are our Father's kids, that's why!

3- God enjoys sharing

  • God loves to share. Everything that He is, and has, and does, He shares with everyone.
  • God gave us His own love of music, tempo, singing, poetry, paintings.
  • Best of all, God vested us with the ability to appreciate all that He has made for us.
  • Our bodies rejoice at the rough feel of sand between our toes at the beach, the silky smooth skin of a baby's cheek, the sleek coat of a kitten.
  • Our nostrils feast on the aroma of new mown grass, bacon frying, logs burning in the fireplace.
  • We are immersed in the sounds, flavors, colors, fragrances, and textures of God's creative artistry. And God made sure we could share and add to His enjoyment of all of them. -->

4- God is love

  • Finally, think about love, for love is a defining facet of God's amazing personality.
  • A baby who is never lovingly touched or held will wither and die. It's true!
  • Every mother's child of us NEEDS to love and be loved in order to live.
  • And friends. We all need friends.
  • We all love to have friends over for dinner -- to eat and gab and enjoy good times with people who love us. Why? Because we are like our God, who loves food and companionship.
  • Jesus says to you, and to everyone, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Rev 3.20
  • Fantastic! I think I shall take a brief recess and invite Lord Jesus to join me for lunch right now. brb! 

Next, let's look at some defining aspects of God's *moral character*...

  • As discussed above, you can see significant traces of God's personality in people -- His creativity, artistry, and love of diversity.
  • You do NOT, however, see very much of God's *moral character* in us.
  • In fact, when a person consistently demonstrates these Godly character traits to any significant degree, he or she earns a reputation that is honored throughout the world.
  • Examples are Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Florence Nightingale, the Apostle Paul, and Billy Graham. But even these exceptionally great humanitarians fell light-years short of God's perfections. -->
  • In the paragraphs that follow you will read EIGHT very short descriptions of God's moral character.
  • Following that, I'll ask your OPINION about how well God's moral character is reflected in YOU.
  • The ensuing discussion of your opinion will, hopefully, give you a better idea as to what went wrong with the holiness of the human race, and what God is doing to correct the problem.
8 aspects of God's moral character...
1- God is fair and impartial
God is absolutely and totally unbiased as to race, color, nationality, age, or gender.
  For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. Deu 10.17

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3.28 [see also Col 3.11]
2- God is gracious
God is kind and patient with people, even when they don't deserve it.
  In Jesus we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence Eph 1.7-8
3- God is faithful
God always keeps His promises.
  He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
1 Thes 5.24
4- God is holy
God is perfect and pure; absolutely separate from all sin or evil.
  Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory! Isa 6.3b
5- God is honest
God never lies.
  By two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we have strong consolation Heb 6.18a
6- God is consistent
God never changes or waivers.
  I am the LORD, I change not. Because of this you sons of Jacob are not destroyed. Mal 3.6
7- God is merciful
God is tenderhearted, showing infinite compassion for sinners.
  The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth" Ex 34.6
8- God is patient
God is longsuffering and patient in the face of human hatred and backsliding.
  The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth" Ex 34.6

Two questions...

  • 1- Do you *fully and consistently* manifest God's moral characteristics in your life? -->
  • 2- Do you WANT to *fully and consistently* manifest God's moral characteristics in your life?
I will ASSUME that you answered "No" to #1.

If you instead answered "Yes," then you and God have a *difference of opinion*, as per the Bible verses alongside.
  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Rom 3.23

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1.8

I will further ASSUME that you answered "Yes" to #2.

If you instead answered "No," then perhaps you are a bit of a *philosopher*. After all, ALWAYS telling the truth [given the present sinful state of the human race] might be a bit dangerous at times, right?

Philosophical issues aside, it is GENERALLY true that...

  • Nobody lives up to God's perfections all the time
  • BUT everybody wishes they did. -->

What went wrong?

  • I think you will agree that, when it comes to moral character, the image of God in the human race is BADLY smudged.
  • The image of God in us is smudged, but NOT totally absent. The truth of this statement is proven by the fact that we still admire qualities such as honesty, patience, mercy, and justice.
  • Most of us strive to achieve these qualities, but we all recognize that we fall miserably short.
  • But WHY are we incapable of attaining perfection? Read on and see. 

What happened to *smudge* the image of God in mankind? ...

  • Adam and Eve were created in God's own image.
  God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gen 1.27
  • God commanded Adam NOT to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
  • Further, God warned Adam that eating the fruit would cause death.
  God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Gen 2.16-17
  • It was important for Adam to obey God's command concerning the fruit, and to believe God's warning concerning death.
  • WHY was it important? Because obedience manifests trust and love toward God.
  • On the other hand, disobedience manifests mistrust and enmity toward God.

[God the Son said...]

  • You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
  • He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.

Mt 22.37, John 14.21a [see also John 14.23]

Later, God's enemy said that God's warning about death was a lie, and accused God of wanting to deny good things to Adam and Eve...

  • Rather than loving and trusting God, Adam and Eve desired to become gods in their own right.
  • Therefore, they CHOSE to believe God's enemy instead of believing God.
  The serpent said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"

The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that
in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Gen 3.1a-5

Adam and Eve rebelled against God, disregarded His warning, and disobeyed His command...

  • Eve was deceived by God's enemy,
  • But Adam sinned willfully!
  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Gen 3.6

Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 1 Tim 2.14
In result the death principle entered the men of the human race...   Through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men... Rom 5.12a
  • Whereas God created Adam in His own image, the children of Adam were procreated in Adam's image.
  • Adam's descendants all inherited the sin nature and death principle that ensued from Adam's willful disobedience, mistrust, and enmity toward God.
  This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him [Adam] in the likeness of God. ...And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his [Adam's] own likeness, after his [Adam's] image, and named him Seth. Gen 5.1, 5.3

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and
in sin my mother conceived me. Ps 51.5

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Rom 3.23

One of God's main goals in saving you is to restore a pristine, unsmudged image of Himself in you.

To understand WHY it is important to God that you bear His image, consider carefully the verses quoted alongside...

  • Jesus said that the image of Caesar on the coin denoted that the coin belonged to Caesar.
  • Do you see His point? The image you bear identifies who you belong to, and where your allegiance is invested.
  • That is at least one reason why restoring God's *unsmudged image* in you is VERY important to your heavenly Father.
  [To test Jesus, some men asked Him...] "Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"

Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money." So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?"

They said to Him, "Caesar's."

And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
Mt 22.17-21

Next, please consider the verses quoted alongside...

  • EXPLICIT fact - Jesus bears the express [perfect] image of God.
  • IMPLICIT fact - If you are conformed to the image of Jesus, then you will likewise be conformed to the express [perfect] image of God!
  [Jesus is...] the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Col 1.15

[Jesus is...] the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His person Heb 1.3a

Now then, mediate AT LENGTH on the verses quoted alongside. Do you see what God is doing in your life?

  • The Goal God's purpose is to build the image of Jesus within you. Rom 8.29
  • The Process God uses the events in your life to produce the image of Jesus in you. Rom 5.3 & 8.18
  • The End Result When you stand some day before Jesus, the perfected, glorious image of God will shine forth in you. You SHALL be like Him! 1 John 3.2
  For whom God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Rom 8.29

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that
tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Rom 5.3

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Rom 8.18

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He
[Lord Jesus] is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3.2


Summary and Conclusions

  • What a wonderful God is your God!
  • Creative beyond comprehension.
  • Maker and lover of beauty and diversity.
  • Infinitely kind, forgiving, merciful, and patient.
  • Loves to listen to you when you talk to Him.
  • Relishes your companionship. You can NEVER wear out your welcome at the Throne of God.
  • Ever present with you: helping and comforting you when you hurt, rejoicing with you when you rejoice.
  • Honest. Pure. HOLY!
  • Best of all, God never changes, never dies, never sleeps, never gets too busy.
  • God alone really knows who you are, deep down inside your secret heart, unknown to anyone else but Him.
  • And, even though God knows each and every one of your faults and weaknesses, God loves you!

I don't know about you but when I grow up (spiritually, that is), I long to be just like our Dad -- our beloved heavenly Father!


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