Sep 23, 2015

The Image of God

Created In The Image Of Jesus

    For the sake of brevity let's get right to the point. All scripture used here is from the New World Translation of the bible and the English Standard Version as a backup. Where the NWT and ESV are different I may quote from both. It will be indicated by the abbreviations. I have underlined and bold the points of interest in each verse please pay special attention to it.

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen 1:1 NWT) 

"Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is moving on the earth.” And God went on to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them." (Gen 1:26-27 NWT)

We read that "God created" singular because there is only one God. As Christians we profess this belief in the ONE TRUE GOD. In verse 26 God says,  "let us make man in our image according to our likeness." Who is God talking to? Our is plural not singular. He then goes on in verse 27 creating man in his own image, singular. 

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (ESV)

After the fall of Adam and Eve we read...

"Jehovah God then said: “Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad. Now in order that he may not put his hand out and take fruit also from the tree of life and eat and live forever," (Gen 3:22 NWT)

There's that plural form again! So, who is God talking to? We know that God is singular, he is ONE. Yet he is clearly talking to someone. He is clearly referring to someone other than himself. One possible answer is that he is talking to the angels. After all they are with him at this point. Although I argue that he isn't talking to the angels because we aren't created in the image of the angels. The text says, "so God created man in his own image" not in the image of the angels. Sure the angelic beings are spiritual like God, but only man is created in the image and likeness of God! We will get back to this in a moment.

Another possible answer is that he is talking to other gods, but like the angels we aren't created in the image of any other God, or gods. We are created in the image and likeness of the ONE TRUE GOD!  “You are my witnesses,” declares Jehovah,“Yes, my servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and have faith in me And understand that I am the same One. Before me no God was formed, And after me there has been none. I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” “I am the One who declared and saved and made known When there was no foreign god among you. So you are my witnesses,” declares Jehovah, “and I am God. Also, I am always the same One;" (Isaiah 43:10-12 NWT)

All Things From God Through Christ...

Saint Paul explains..

"there is actually to us one God, the Father, from whom all things are and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and we through him." (1 Cor 8:6 NWT)

We are told here that from God all things exist. And through Jesus Christ all things exist. Yet in Gen 1:1 we are told that God (in the singular) created. Not deviating from the fact that there is only ONE God, but considering the evidence so far Jesus and God are the ONE God, yet each with his own creative function. God however is not limited to himself and his Son, but also The Holy Spirit. God created all things from himself, his Holy Spirit, and through his Eternal Word, his Son! 

Let's continue...

The Image of The Invisible God!

Remember Gen 1:26? “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness" here is where we get closer to the answer of the question. So, who was God talking to?

"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. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwelland through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." (Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)

I have only included the full ESV text here because the NWT wording can be a little tricky and actually tries to take away attention from the fact that Jesus is God, it really doesn't if you take all of the other Scripture into consideration. But I will include some of it for the sake of proving Jesus' divinity using the NWT. Plus the ESV is a more readable text in my opinion.

In Colossians we read that "He is the image of the invisible God" (NWT) The "he" being spoken of here is none other than Jesus. But unlike 1 Corinthians 8:6 We are told that "by him all things were created" the him being Jesus. This isn't a contradiction in fact both instances are true. All things are created by Jesus in the sense that he is God, and through Jesus in the sense that he is The Word of God, and The Son of God. "Because God was pleased to have all fullness to dwell in him," (Col 1:19 NWT) all fullness of God that is, see ESV. Either way they are saying the same thing.

Further we read in (2 Corinthians 4:4) again that Jesus Christ is the image of God! "among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through." (NWT)

It is clear that Jesus is the "image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15 NWT) 

In The Beginning

At last we conclude this study where we began. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:1-3 ESV) 

Here is another situation where the NWT tries to take the focus off of Jesus being God. I have only included fully the ESV text here since it is more readable and is in line with most modern translations like the KJV, and NIV. The NWT text for Jn 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." But I think it's pretty evident here that Jesus isn't merely a god, or one of many gods. Not only that we know that Jesus is either God or a false god since there is only ONE TRUE GOD! But John 1:1 NWT is for another study altogether.

We can compare John 1:1-3 with this next verse. "and he is clothed with an outer garment stained with blood, and he is called by the name The Word of God." (Rev 19:13 NWT)

Further in John...

"So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of divine favor and truth."  (Jn 1:14 NWT)

"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." (Jn 1:14 ESV)

I  love this last verse so much I had to give it to you again.

So, Beautiful!

Who's The Author of Life?

The next verse that I want to show you is in Acts. Speaking to the Jews Peter says,  "and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses" (Acts 3:15 ESV) The NWT has it rendered "Chief Agent of Life" which is "kinda" the same thing. 

We can look to the Latin Vulgate text (which is the first complete bible) "auctorem vero vitae" When translated literally meas "true author of life." When we look to the Greek text we see "Ἀρχηγὸν ζωῆς." The transliteration is, "Archēgon zōēs" which literally means "the Author of life."

In Conclusion...

Not only is Jesus "the image of God", whom all things were created by, through and for. We are also told that Jesus "was in the beginning with God." In fact "without him was not anything made that was made!" The fullness of God dwells in him, and he is the beginning of all things. Further we are told that he is The Word of God. Also, Jesus is the "Author of life" only someone who is God can have that title.  It is in him our Lord and Savior that we are created in the image and likeness! The Son of God our Lord is the prototype of all humanity! 

The answer to our question is, God was talking to Jesus!  More specifically the second person of the Blessed Trinity! But, that's another post.

"Christ, . . . in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, makes man fully manifest to himself and brings to light his exalted vocation." It is in Christ, "the image of the invisible God," that man has been created "in the image and likeness" of the Creator. It is in Christ, Redeemer and Savior, that the divine image, disfigured in man by the first sin, has been restored to its original beauty and ennobled by the grace of God." (Catechism of The Catholic Church 1701 Article 1)

There are so many more beautiful scripture verses that I could show you about the divinity of Jesus. This article is just one way to show Christ's Unique and mysterious relationship with his Father. For another good read with a lot of scripture that I did not touch on in this article please read The Divinity of Christ.

I hope you enjoyed this.

By Joanne Utke

Additional comments

In Genesis we read, "and God said." Everything God created was created by his Word! God's Word proceeds out from God himself. His Word is powerful, and mysterious! God's Word is both God and his Son. God never stopped being God when "the Word became flesh." God didn't change either since God doesn't change. And it doesn't mean that there is more than one God. As we can see his Eternal Word (his Son) was there with him from the beginning creating all things and is together with his Father ONE!

Below is something I put together using the New World Translation of the Scriptures. Also on Pinterest Joanne Utke.

This is a good talk about Jehovah's Witnesses and Catholicism and the Divinity of Christ.

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