The Image of God

The Image of God is a concept and theological doctrine in Christianity and Judaism which asserts that human beings are created in God‘s image and therefore have inherent value independent of their utility or function.

  • Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
    (Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)

Man in the image of God; what does this mean in practical terms? It cannot refer to bodily, biological form since God is a Spirit and man is earthly. But while it may be true that the body does not belong to the image, since God does not have a body, yet somehow we would like to see man’s body (which is a very real part of man) included in the image. Language and creativity,—two important parts of the image, are impossible without a body. And God the Almighty agreed to share with man dominion and authority over the animal kingdom (Genesis 1:28), an activity in which the whole man, body as well as mind, is involved. Furthermore the Son of God honored the human body by becoming flesh and dwelling among men (John 1:14) (Hebrews 2:14). C. S. Lewis suggests that before the Fall, the first man, Adam mirrored Christ the man of Galilee even more nearly than Christ would have resembled his own half-brothers. If this is so, it seems almost blasphemy to consider Adam sired by a shambling ape.

  • And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
    (Genesis 1:28 ESV)
  • And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
    (John 1:14 ESV)
  • Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.
    (Hebrews 2:14 ESV)
  • Answers in Genesis: Man – The Image of God

Humans in God’s image were intended at creation to bring glory to God as people who hadn’t sinned. Fallen humanity hasn’t lost the image of God, but the image is tarnished. “With Adam’s moral freedom to choose,” says Mark, “he rebelled against God, which has profoundly damaged the image of God in humanity and affects us in all areas of life. Through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection, God is now restoring his original image in humans as they are transformed by following Jesus Christ.” The writer of Hebrews says of Jesus that “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3-4). Jesus shows us who God is and what God is like.

  • He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
    (Hebrews 1:3-4 ESV)
  • Thinking Through Faith: What is the “Image of God”?

The Torah has additional references that indicate that mankind was created in the image of God.

  • .This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
    (Genesis 5:1-3 ESV)
  • “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
    (Genesis 9:6 ESV)

We are made in God’s image, but the potential value of this image will not be realized unless we become conformed to the image of Christ in our morality. To be living in God’s image, we must be in a right (i.e., moral) relationship with God and with other humans, using our minds and our authority to serve God and our fellow humans. This is what it means to be in the image of God and conformed to the perfect image, his Son.

The Holy Bible states that Jesus Christ is the visible image of God.

  • He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
    (Colossians 1:13-16 ESV)
  • In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
    (2 Corinthians 4:4-7 ESV)
  • GotQuestons: What does it mean that man is made in the “image of God”
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The Serpent’s Seed

Serpent seed, dual seed or two-seedline is a controversial doctrine according to which the serpent in the Garden of Eden mated with Eve, and the offspring of their union was Cain. This belief is still held among some scholars, theologians and members of the Corpus Christendom.

Unfortunately, this doctrine has been used by some adherents of the Christian Identity Movement, who claim that the Jews, as descendants of Cain, are also descended from the serpent. They have employed their twisted version of this doctrine to justify their racist and antisemitic agendas.

The Holy Bible describes the fall of man in Genesis when Moses wrote, “Now the serpent [H5175] was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:1-24 KJV).

Here we see the familiar narrative of the fall of Adam and Eve. Satan, disguised as a serpent confronts Eve as was she is in the garden. Satan convinces her that God is holding out on her because he does not want her to be like him. She eats the forbidden fruit and gives it to Adam. The result is a judgment from God, removal from the Garden of Eden and a fallen and depraved world. All of this came from one act of disobedience.

The foundational scripture for the serpent’s seed doctrine appears in Genesis 3:15, which in the King James Version says, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Advocates interpret this literally to mean that an offspring of the Serpent via Eve would eventually lose in a mortal conflict with one of “her seed”. Eve’s son by Adam would have presumably been called “Adam’s seed” so it has been suggested, since a woman does not naturally produce seed, that “her seed” is the first prophesy of an eventual human messiah produced by means of a virgin birth. Adherents believe this sets up the serpent’s seed as an antitype to Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus Christ).

The remainder of this article will provide a logical answer to a question I have heard many times over the years, that is, why was Eve not at all surprised that a “serpent” (nachash) was speaking to her. It will also provide a starting point for critical examination of the Scriptures, hopefully inspiring the reader to think more deeply about alternate interpretations to passages of Scripture in the Holy Bible. As with prophecy and parables, sometimes a passage of Scripture may have dual or even multiple interpretations. I make no claim that what this article will present is the biblically  correct interpretation as extra-biblical texts were referenced to illustrate and draw these conclusions. Nonetheless, the conclusions and interpretations do provide an interesting alternative aspect to Scriptures that many readers may have never considered.

In the third chapter of the Book of Genesis, the word used for “serpent” [H5175] is “nachash” in the original Hebrew manuscripts. Nachash means the “shining one” or “glistening one.” The root word (etymology) for “nachash” is also “nachash” [H5172] which means “to hiss or whisper” and specially used as the “whispering of soothsayers. Lucifer is a title ascribed to a chief fallen spiritual being in Isaiah chapter 14. Used in a modern context as a proper name for Satan though the title is neither a name nor describes Satan. Most applicably applied to a fallen Watcher, the Hebrew title is literally “heylel:, literally ” to shine or boast”.

Eve was not talking to a snake. She was speaking to a bright, shining, upright being who was serpentine in appearance, and who was trying to bewitch her with lies. She was in the presence of one of the sons of God [B’nai Elohim], a created angelic beings who had free will, who were much more powerful than mere angels. She was speaking to a member of the divine council who did not share God’s enthusiasm for His new creation, mankind, to whom He had just given rule over the planet (Genesis 1:26-27). Many scholars and theologians believe that the Nachash’s motive for seducing Eve was jealousy at humanity’s appointment as supreme authority under God on earth, as opposed to the sons of God being appointed to that role on Earth.

  • The Real Mother of All Humanity
  • And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
    (Genesis 4:1 KJV)

There are many possible ways to translate the above phrase from Hebrew (the language of the original manuscript) to English. The Targum Yonasan ben Uziel offers a unique translation of the verse in the following manner:

“And Adam knew that Eve, his wife, lusted with an Angel and she conceived and she gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a man with the Angel of God.”
(Targum Yonasan, Bereishis 4:1)

Targum Yonasan ben Uziel says that Cain was not Adam’s son at all; Cain was a product of the union of Eve and an angel. The Peirush Yonason, a commentary on Targum Yonasan further elucidates:

  • “Adam understood that Cain’s appearance was not that of the lower regions [Earth], but rather from the upper regions [Heaven]. Therefore he knew that the Angel Samael in his lust for Eve had come upon her, and this is the meaning of “a man with Hashem” — with an Angel of God.”

It is clear that Samael, who also happens to be the Yeitzer Hara, Satan, The Angel of Death (Malach Ha’Mavet) and the Guardian Angel of Esau, is, according to this extraordinary Midrash, the true father of Cain the murderer, the first “naturally born” human being.

The Yalkut Shimoni, a compendium of Midrashic material, (Bereishis 4:35) elaborates, in the name of Rabban Yishmael: The rider of the snake came upon her, and she conceived Cain, after which Adam came upon her and she conceived Abel, as it is written, “And the man knew Eve his wife.” What did he know? He knew she conceived, and she saw that her son’s demeanor was not from the earth, but rather, from the upper regions. And she understood and said, “I have gotten a man from [an Angel of] G-d.”

Before Adam was created, a natural rival to Adam existed, capable of challenging him for supremacy. That being was apparently capable of speech, and was cunning and passionate, to the extent that it identified itself as a replacement for Adam. That creature was the Nachash Kadmoni — “Primordial Snake.” This view is evidenced by the Gemara (Sotah 9:) which describes the “original snake” as:King of the animals…walking erect on two feet…eating the same food as man…and plotting to kill Adam, so that it could marry Eve.

The obvious purpose of the snake was to shake Adam out of a state of complacency, forcing him to achieve his potential. Adam would have to recognize his own greatness, and define the distinctions between himself and the serpent. Unfortunately, Adam failed. The Maharal (Chidushei Aggados Sotah 9•) explains that the snake was far from being an equal of Adam. It was merely a creation, programmed by Hashem, designed to challenge Adam in
certain specific areas. In order to compete in these limited areas, Hashem endowed it with qualities of greatness, as man obviously would not be challenged by a creature whose stature is far below his. Hence it was imperative that the snake possess great attributes.As a creature, however, it only approached, but it did not really rival Adam. It was endowed with limited greatness in order to serve as a test for Man. Man failed this test.

We find a similar thesis in Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer (13). The angels were jealous of the superior qualities of Adam, and plotted his downfall. The Malach Samael volunteered to sabotage Adam, by seeking out the most clever of the animals, the snake (Bereishis3:1), and investing it with great powers. This enhanced being was now poised to challenge Adam. This explains the language of the Yalkut Shimoni (Bereishis 4:35):    — “rider of the snake.”

It was actually Samael controlling the snake. Thus, when Rashi (Sotah 9:) declares that the snake had marital relations with Eve, he means that Samael, controlling the actions of the snake, actually had relations with Eve. Samael’s actions resulted in Adam’s sin, and Adam’s subsequent decline to the status of mere mortal (see Rambam, Moreh Nevuchim 2:30). Samael’s relations with Eve produced Cain, and with Cain came the introduction of evil into
the “genome” of mankind (see Shabbos 146; see Rashi (ibid.)).

Sacred Cows Make The Best Hamburger

The term sacred cow is an idiom, a figurative reference to sacred cows in some religions. This idiom is thought to originate in American English, although similar or even identical idioms occur in many other languages.

The idiom is based on the popular understanding of the elevated place of cows in Hinduism. A literal sacred cow or sacred bull is an actual cow or bull that is treated with sincere reverence. A figurative sacred cow is something else that is considered unreasonably immune from question or criticism.

There in no topic, doctrine or person that is above question or criticism. Any topic, doctrine, or person is subject to question and criticism, regardless if it is considered orthodox or not. This is indeed scriptural. The Scriptures are our highest authority and our guide to examine and test everything else in this world.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1 John 4:1 ESV)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
(Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)

No sacred cows should be considered safe, it’s open season and there are no bag limits. After all, sacred cows make the best hamburger.