Even though it is not necessary to understand what “Made in God’s Image” means to become a Christian, it is vital to grasp the concept in order to truly be equipped to explain Christianity in a way people will want to accept Christ’s death and resurrection for themselves.
Examine Geneses 1: 26. God said, Let Us make mankind in our image, Our Likeness and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts, and over all the earth, and over everything that creeps on the earth.
The key to this verse is the word “Us”.
In 1968 a man named Erich Von Daniken wrote a book Chariots of the Gods. He used the “Us” in God’s statement to suggest ancient aliens started mankind on earth, rather than a singular God.
When the Bible states God is “One” (singular), but refers to Himself as “Us” (plural) in Genesis, we encounter an antinomy. Antinomies occur when two reasonable conclusions cannot be true at the same time. To our finite minds, the statements “God is One”, yet “God is Three”, is impossible to conceive as being simultaneously true.
Yet, Jesus tells us God has three parts (John 14: 7-18, 20).
In Genesis, God was saying the meaning of “Us” is God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son. God’s design for humans was the same as Himself (i.e., in His image); a soul (made in the image of God the Father), a body (made in the image of God the Son) and a spirit (made in the image Of the Holy Spirit).
The realization we are each made up of those three parts, is vital when we are describing our faith to one we hope to convert to Christianity. It allows us to effectively use two key Bible verses to provide the essence of our faith.
The first is God directly told Adam if he eats the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he would die (Gen 2:17). After being deceived by Satan, Eve took the fruit from the tree, ate it, and gave some to Adam who also ate it (Gen 3:6). The expectation for the words in the next verse (Gen 3:7) would be for it to state “and they died”. But that is not what is presented. The story continues with them realizing their nudity and then encountering God.
Are we to conclude God lied to Adam about eating the fruit and dying? Of course He didn’t. The way God was connected to Adam and Eve was through His Holy Spirit and their spirit. When they disobeyed, their spirits immediately died and God was no longer in them. In addition to that instant spiritual death, Adam and Eve’s human bodies began the gradual death process we all currently experience.
Mankind’s dilemma was (and is) there was no way to regain their fellowship with God because their disobedience resulted in their spirits dying and they had no way to “pay” for their rebellion in order to bring their dead spirits back to life.
The second key Biblical verses provide the solution to man’s predicament and is found when Nicodemus came to question Jesus at night (John 3:2-8). Jesus knew exactly why he came, so immediately told him, without being born anew; Nicodemus could never experience the kingdom of God. What Jesus was teaching is that mankind’s dead spirit must come to life (i.e., be born again).
Every person born after the sin of Adam was his descendant. This means their soul and mortal body followed in his lineage. But, unfortunately, since Adam’s spirit was dead, mankind inherited a dead spirit.
Jesus was the exception because His Father was not human (of Adam), but God. Since Jesus’ spirit was alive, He was in perfect fellowship with God the Father, through God the Holy Spirit. This truth allowed Him to be the only substitute for mankind to satisfy God’s perfect justice (i.e., man disobeyed, so someone had to pay). Jesus’ death and resurrection allowed every person to have their sprits born when they accept His undeserved gift.
The belief His death offsets (pays/atones) our disobedience results in our gaining a spirit. That makes us whole once again; soul, mortal body, and spirit. His resurrection demonstrates we also will ultimately be given an immortal body. We will end like God originally designed the human race … a soul, a spirit, and a glorified body. The result is we will have a never ending existence in fellowship with God.
In conclusion, our witness should be a person’s spirit is dead, but by believing Jesus died to blot out our inherited disobedience, our spirit is reborn. And, by believing He was resurrected, our mortal body will one day be replaced by an immortal (glorified) one. The result is we will obtain eternal life.