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October 14, 2020 7:00 pm
Dr. Dan Olinger of the BJU Seminary continues a doctrinal series entitled, “What Is Man?” from Genesis 1:26.
Welcome to The Daily Platform sponsored by Bob Jones University today. Dr. Dan Olinger of the BJ you Bible faculty continues our doctrinal series entitled what is man, who is that in the mirror.
I like it. Open your Bibles please to Genesis chapter 1 Genesis chapter 1. What's the first thing that God tells us about ourselves.
The very first thing the first thing God tells us about him is that he's the creator and that's important for a come back to that idea in a minute and he spends the first chapter of the Bible telling us how he created everything in a series of six days, and he ends that six day account on Friday telling us about how he made us, and in that account. He tells us the very first thing that he wants us to know about ourselves. Genesis chapter 1 verse 26 and 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creep with upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them. The first thing God tells us about himself is that we are made in the image of God.
Why raises a question doesn't by the way, it does not beg the question. Can we just stop misusing that expression will the English can I get an amen from the English faculty here if you don't know what begging the question is don't use the expression I am not begging any questions. Today, God willing, but it does raise the question doesn't.
What does it mean to be created in the image of God, and I suppose it raises another, what difference does it make so what is it mean to be made in the image of God. Well, I think it's really interesting that the Bible never tells us directly what God means by that expression in our image, there are some clues that you might find interesting.
It's very clear from the passage that this fact that were made in God's image distinguishes us from the animals were in contrast with the creation of the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and so it also is clear from the passage itself that it's true of both male and female.
It characterizes both the male and female and there's even some speculation among theologians that the image of God is most roundly displayed by male and female in cooperation with one another. There's 1/3 clue that's not in this passage it comes a little later in the book of Genesis in chapter 5 in the first few verses of chapter 5 were told that Adam and Eve had a son and that they begat a son, verse three in the likeness of Adam after his image, and called his name Seth, so 1/3 clue I think is that there's something about the image of God that is similar to the way a son resembles his father.
One of the great joys I have as a teacher here at the same institution where I went to school. Is that fairly frequently. A student shows up in my class who is the offspring of somebody I went to school with the other day I was eating lunch with one of my students and he told me you know my mom was born here on the campus. She grew up here and I I didn't recognize his last name as a faculty, staff, last name, and I thought well of course it's his mother. She changed her name after she started so I said well who were her parents and he told me and this was a faculty couple who are now with the Lord, with whom I had the pleasure of working over the years more with his grandmother than with his grandfather, but I knew them both and as soon Essie told me that I knew that he was telling me the truth. His grandfather's face was in his face and I was surprised that I hadn't seen it before, and now when I go in the class and that student is sitting looking at me. I must confess I don't see him. I see his grandfather. There is something about the image of God that resembles the way a son resembles his father. There been a lot of suggestions over the years guesses really about what specifically the image of God might be some have suggested well the very same verse talks about man taking dominion over the beasts of the field and so so maybe it's something we do. Maybe it's we hold dominion. God is the King and we under him hold dominion over a small portion of his creation. Maybe it's something we are. The New Testament uses the expression of the image of God. A couple of times in an Interesting Way in Colossians chapter 3, Paul describes it in a way that calls to mind the intelligence are reasoning capability renewed in knowledge, Paul says maybe it's the fact that we are intelligent in Ephesians chapter 4 Ephesians, of course, is a parallel book to Colossians in any way Paul talked in Ephesians chapter 4 about rent being renewed, created in righteousness and holiness. And so some of suggested maybe it's our moral sensibilities. Our sense of right and wrong.
Maybe it's our personality maybe is this, maybe it's that maybe it's something we have God as a creator, that's the first thing he tells us about himself. Maybe were supposed to be creators many years ago when I was in seminary I had a friend who was a GA in Arcuri taught art in the elementary school and he specialized in abstract art and I asked him about that one day I said Matt what's with the abstract art thing when ever do representational stuff and he gave me an answer that was so gracious, yet so wise that it made me feel stupid for having asked the question in the first place. He said God is a creator right this I'm in theology I know about that.
I'm in seminary and were supposed to be like him right right well then why shouldn't we create new kinds of beauty rather than just copying the kinds of beauty that already exist and I thought what wisdom was and that question he asked me and and as I said I felt it was so obvious to me once he said it, but I felt stupid for having asked that I can't believe it and think about myself.
Maybe it's our creativity. Maybe it's our immortality. God's immortal will live forever.
Maybe it's all of the above.
That's what I suspect and that's not a copout. I think I see evidence in the Scripture that the image of God is multifaceted like a diamond, it reflects light from different angles. I would like to suggest that the image of God is as much a verb as it is a noun you were created to radiate who God is, to people all around you, just as my student radiates the image of his grandfather.
I can't avoid seeing it now, even when he's not trying to just because of who he is. So were called to image God. Well, something happened to that image.
My colleagues are gonna talk about this a little more detail if you weeks down the road, but I'll observe the image has clearly been damaged. It's clearly been marred, but it has not been destroyed. You are still in the image of God. Even though you're a sinner your lost friends are in the image of God. You, you do have lost friends right if you don't, you need to change your lifestyle, your lost friends are in the image of God, even though that image is damaged. How do we know that well. God tells Noah when he emerges from the ark after the flood that from now on. The penalty for murder will be capital punishment.
Why because the murder victim is in the image of God. This is after the fall. You know why murder is wrong not because you have an inherent right to life.
Murder is wrong because murder is an attack on somebody who looks like God and God will not tolerate attacks on him. Paul ~James tells us in chapter 3 that we curse human beings with our tongues and those human beings are made in the image of God and his brethren, these things ought not so to be, so it's still there, no matter how rotten you are and no matter how disappointed you are with yourself.
You are still in the image of God.
So what does that mean what difference does it make. Let me suggest a few things for you to think about how does being in the image of God change the way I live on a Wednesday in September. What difference does it make number one. Remember, it distinguishes us from the animals, you are not an animal.
Now I need to be very careful about what I say here because I'm aware that where fallen and there are things we cannot do in our fallen state.
Most notably, we cannot create spiritual life in ourselves. We cannot please God and ourselves, but we are still in the image of God, you are fundamentally different from amoebas and from snakes and slugs and rainbow trout and even chimpanzees. You are different from them. You are not an animal you are not controlled by your impulses. You do not have to do everything you are tempted to do and listen. That is true of a lost person just as certainly as it's true a safe read your theology books and even reformed theologians and I say even reforms because they believe in total depravity right even reformed theologians will say the fact that you are broken and depraved does not mean that everyone is as evil as he could possibly be. It means that every part of you is tainted by sin. But we all know, lost people who can control urges and so can you. You don't have to do everything that you're tempted to do.
You can make choices.
You can rise above the evil that screams in your ear every day. You can be a man you can be a woman you can win.
You don't have to be a victim.
Why because you whether born again or not, whether regenerate or not, are made in the image of God, you are not an animal second your something your valuable human beings are valuable in a couple minutes a few minutes here. I'm going to pray and were to be dismissed and were all gonna head out of here to our next thing and it's going to be crowded and people are to be trying to get outdoors and down sidewalks and around corners and a lot of you will be going to the dining common and you're hungry and that means everybody around you has become an obstacle to your personal satisfaction and every so often you can see somebody occasionally. I'm one of those people worming his way through the crowd doing the crowd surfing thing on the weight of the dining common the people you're in the middle of are not obstacles to be maneuvered around and avoided. They are not things that God has placed in your way. They are images of God, you are privileged to be surrounded today by hundreds of them recognize who it is that you're dealing with, you know, they're worth more than that text message on your phone lookup. Say hello treat them with grace and respect your worth something and the corollary to that, I suppose, is that so is everybody else.
All humans are valuable. That means people who are not like you people who look different people who act differently from you.
People who think differently from you people you know and people you don't.
People who take the name of God in vain, people who are arrogant people who voted for Bush and people who voted for Obama, people who voted for somebody crazy and people who didn't vote for anybody at all. People who have no money, people have no home. People who live in a cardboard box under an overpass.
People who smell bad people who have disabilities. People were dying of AIDS Muslim refugees Muslim terrorist people who make you really, really uncomfortable. And yes, people who are still in the womb, and who can't speak for themselves.
All of them, all of them are in the image of God and all of them are worth infinitely more than all of the bank accounts of all of the really rich people in all of the world for all time. All humans are valuable and that means that you and I need to change fundamentally the way we interact with and even think about the people around us because we're always comparing people aren't doing Bible says were not wise when we do we are always thinking what can this guy do for me. Does this person appealed to me or does he irritate me. All of them are infinitely valuable because all of them are in the image of God hears something else to think about. Perhaps you haven't thought of it quite this way before.
Everything that you love about the people you love is a reason to worship God. Why because the things you love about the people you love are the image of God in them. You are surrounded right now with thousands of reasons to worship and not to worship the image God doesn't like it when we worship images worship the original the one who created all of the one after whom all of this is pattern all day every day you should be driven to your knees in ecstatic adoration of the creator who did all of this and you know what I have a hunch I have a hunch that we were to live that way the sin that so easily, but sets us would be less attractive. It would had have less gravitational pull on us. We be living for something worth far more than the shiny little track trinkets that constantly grab our attention. Like the mobile over the crib and perhaps would start to see victory instead of regular and frustrating defeat. One last thought.
The Bible says that Christ perfectly images God.
Paul says in Colossians chapter 1 that he is the image of the invisible God. One writer says incarnation means that Jesus is truly a man and because he is truly a man. He shows us what being made in the image of God should know that means that since God is making us like him. We don't have to remain frustrated with the degree to which we fall short of his image in us and the degree to which we distort his image. I was flying home from India a few weeks ago been teaching over there for a couple weeks had to fly out through the city of Chennai which is the old city of Madras's were all that fabric comes from and the Chennai airport is so constructed that if you fly in on a domestic flight and fly out on an international flight. You have to change terminals and they don't have a shuttle system between the terminals and that means that you break security when you go from a domestic flight to an international flight.
So I flew in from Coimbatore and I walked down the sidewalk to the next terminal because I felt like a little exercise and they would let me in the next terminal. Why will your flights not for 10 hours. Not till 1 o'clock in the morning. Yeah, I noticed that what you can't come in here until midnight.
It's 3 o'clock in the afternoon right you can't come in here till midnight. So what am I supposed to do and sit on the sidewalk.
If you want to real customer orientation and that operation I am sorry to tell you that I did not respond to that in the way I should have. I don't reflect the image of God very well. It's broken, but Christ is the image of the invisible God and God is making us like him. He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of his son, says Paul in Romans eight and he will certainly take us all the way there, because John tells us that when we shall see him, Christ, we shall be like him, no matter how badly you're doing it that no matter how much you fail and or how slowly you grow. I didn't save for more than 50 years. I should be better at it than what I saw of myself on the sidewalk in front of the Chennai airport international terminal. No matter how badly you're doing as sure as the sun came up this morning God will finish his work in you and in the he will conform us to the perfect image of his son in this life you will never image God the way you should you will never image him the way that he deserves. But your Savior, the God man has walked on our earth and he has imaged the father perfectly.
I wonder I wonder if the vicarious nature of Christ's work is substitutionary work for us extends beyond his perfect keeping of the law in our place extends beyond his dying infinitely in our place and extends to perfectly radiating the image of the father in our place. You know, God has been represented.
The way that he deserves and your failure does not get in the way of that and the day will come.
It will certainly come when you image God the way you can. And in that day with a numberless throng of people who don't look like me who don't think like me who don't act like me or you with that numberless throng you and I will join in a hymn of praise to the one who perfectly radiates the image of God, and we will say worth the worthy is the Lamb that was slain so as you leave this place. This morning, take his hand follow them through the trials and the difficulties through which he is conforming you to look more like the image of his son and trust him all along the way he promises you that you will love where he's taking you (father what a privilege it is to know that you have placed your image in us. What an astonishing truth.
It is to know that you have done that fully knowing how we would deface it fully knowing what a disappointment.
We would be. We thank you for placing your son in human form and for the example he has laid for us and for the assurance he gives us that by your work and not our own. One day all of the smudges and all of the graffiti and all of the distortion of the image of God in us will be removed and we will shine like the stars forever and ever.
May we walk with you until that day. We pray in Jesus name, amen. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thank you for listening to The Daily Platform.
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