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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Marijuana and the Holy Bible

Much speculation and conjecture has been spoken of Marijuana (cannabis) and the Holy Bible. This topic has covered “every herb bearing seed” in Genesis, the “holy anointing oil” used in the Holy Temple, to modern speculation that Yeshua used cannabis to heal and that He and His disciples were stoners.

In the Garden of Eden, God blessed Adam and Eve and told them, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat” (Genesis 1:29 KJV). Cannabis is certainly an herb that indeed bears seed. The Hebrew word used for “meat” in Genesis 1:29 is “oklah” (אָכְלָה), which  translates into English as “food” (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H402).

The holy anointing oil to be used in the Holy Temple contained pure myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus (an aromatic reed), cassia (another variety of cinnamon) and olive oil. Those who advocate marijuana was used in the holy anointing oil are struggling with the translation of the word for sweet calamus. The Hebrew word for “calamus” is “qaneh” (קָנֶה), which translates into English as “calamus” (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7070&t=KJV). The Hebrew word for cannabis is “kineboisin” (חשיש).

Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.
(Exodus 30:22-33 KJV)

Those who advocate that the holy anointing oil contained cannabis vehemently claim that cannabis was intentionally mistranslated as calamus in order to conceal the fact that God approved of drugs. This claim is invalid, as cannabis was an important plant for medicine and textiles when the Scriptures were translated into English. Cannabis was legal until the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively criminalized the plant as a drug.

Even if there had been a conspiracy to intentionally translate cannabis to calamus, it still would not advance the cause of marijuana advocates as an ingredient of the holy anointing oil or make any difference in any speculation. The holy anointing oil was used to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark of the testimony, the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand. The only people who would have been anointed with the oil would have been Aaron and his sons (the priests). So even if the holy anointing oil did contain cannabis (which I do not believe it did), there weren’t a bunch of Hebrews using drugs while camping in the desert.

Then God placed further restrictions on the holy anointing oil when He said, “And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people” (Exodus 30:31-33 KJV).

To suggest that Yeshua used cannabis to heal is blasphemy. Yeshua was the only begotten Son of God. He did not require any drugs, medications or chemical compounds to heal the sick or raise the dead. If Yeshua had been anointing the sick with this holy anointing oil and thereby possibly using cannabis to heal, He would have violated the Torah and then would not be righteous and without sin. Therefore, His crucifixion could not have been an atonement and propitiation for our sins.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
(1 John 2:1-2 KJV)

Marijuana and other drugs do have legitimate medical uses. The Holy Bible does not restrict us from using it or other drugs for these purposes (Genesis 1:29). There are legal considerations to consider before we can determine if using a particular drug for medical purposes is sinful or not.. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (Romans 13:1-2 KJV). The Apostle Peter wrote, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God” (1 Peter 2:13-16 KJV).

What about the “recreational use” of drugs, whether they are legal or not?  King Solomon said, “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things; Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 23:29-33; Proverbs 20:1 KJV). The Apostle Paul said, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19-21 KJV).

For anyone who can’t get past the fact that Yeshua did not use cannabis (“weed”) to heal the sick and raise the dead, I must admit that He did speak of weed at least once in the Scriptures. Yeshua said, “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares [weeds] among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares [weeds] also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares [weeds]? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares [weeds], ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares [weeds], and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:24-30 KJV).

The Apostle Peter also warned us about “twisting the scriptures” when he wrote, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [twist], as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:14-16 KJV).

Walking on Water

Chassidic discourse teaches that the Spirit of Messiah is more exalted than that of Moses. Whereas Moses is depicted being drawn out from the water and dividing the sea, walking through the water, Messiah is depicted above the water. In the beginning of Genesis it says, “and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water.” The Sages teach, “This is the Spirit of Messiah.” In the gospels, Messiah walks over the surface of the water.

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
(Matthew 14:22-33 ESV)

Fishers of Men

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
(Mark 1:16-18 ESV)

How often God chooses the most improbable people to move forward his purposes. A cowardly Jonah fled from God’s commission to preach to the Ninevites (Jonah 1:1-3). Israel’s great King David committed adultery and eventually murdered the husband of the woman he committed adultery with (2 Samuel 11:2-5). God does not call theose who are worthy (I myself am that example personified), He chooses those that He calls to serve Him.

Yeshua called His disciples to be “fishers of men” (Mark 1:16-18). Where does this metaphor come from? Again, we must look to the Tanakh, as the Tanakh and and Brit Chadashah almost always have shadows of each other to proclaim that which has been or that which will be.

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “”Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers. “Behold, I am sending for many fishers, declares the LORD, and they shall catch them. And afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks. For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes. But first I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations” ( Jeremiah ESV).

Therefore,  it is through the apostles that Yeshua the Messiah, the seed of David and the only begotten Son of God, will restore Israel. They are the “fishers” spoken of by Jeremiah. However, the disciples primary purpose is not to lead people back to the land, but leading people to Messiah. In Him, God’s promises of restoration will be fulfilled.