The Bible tells us that God made man in His image. What is the significance of this for us?
A. Definitions of Image and Likeness
Gen 1:26-27 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 creepeth 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.
God made man in His image. Let us unpack these two verses to see what more we can learn. The word image in the Hebrew is ‘tselem’ it means:
- to shade; as in the shadow of a figure;
- hence a representative figure or idol.
Man was made in the resemblance or figure of God. The other word that is used is likeness. This word in Hebrew is ‘d’muth’ it means:
- adverbially like: fashion, like (-ness, as), manner, similitude.
So man was made in the model, shape or same fashion as God. Let us look through Scripture to see how these two words are used. The word image is used 15 times in the Old Testament.
- The first two (Gen 1:26,27) refer to man made in God’s image.
- The 3rd one (Gen 5:3) refers to Seth made in Adam’s image.
- The 4th text (Gen 9:6) points to man’s judicial authority being God’s image. The power to take life for life.
- The rest refer to idols.
With reference to the word likeness, it occurs 26 times in 23 verses.
- The first two (Gen 1:26, Gen 5:1) refer to man made in God’s likeness.
- The 3rd (Gen 5:3) one refers to Seth made in Adam’s likeness.
- The 4th (2 King 16:10) refers to an altar that Ahaz copied from Tiglathpileser. He made it in the same likeness.
- The next ( 2 Chron 4:3) refers to the brass oxen that held the laver in Solomon’s temple. They were in the likeness or similitude of oxen.
- David uses it (Ps 58:4) to compare the lies of the wicked to the poison of serpents.
I think by now we get a fairly good idea about what image and likeness mean, although I think the English is fairly straight forward.
B. “Our Likeness” – Father Speaking to Son
So when God said “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness,” who was talking and who was listening? Notice the following statements:
“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, ‘Let us make man in our image.’” 1SP 24
“God, in counsel with his Son, formed the plan of creating man in their own image.” RH 24 Feb 1874.
These statements clearly tell us that The Father was talking to His Son. So what do we know about the Father and the Son?
“I saw a throne and on it sat the Father and the Son. I gazed on Jesus’ countenance and admired his lovely person. The Father’s person I could not behold, for a cloud of glorious light covered him. I asked Jesus if his Father had a form like himself. He said he had, but I could not behold it, for said he if you should once behold the glory of his person you would cease to exist.” Broadside 1 – 04-06-46
So the Father and Son have a form. How does this relate to man?
“In the beginning man was created in the likeness of God not only in character but in form and feature”. GC 644
Notice in Gen 1:26 that when the Father said to His Son “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” He then says “Let them” indicating that the image involved plurality and that plurality was two. God did not say “Let him” but “let them” This is significant and is expanded in verse 27.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
This formula is telling us two things:
1. “In the image of God created he him”:
Adam was made in the same form or body type as God as well as in character and mind; the power to think, create, love and feel.
Notice what Ellen White includes in the description of the image:
“And now God says to his Son, "Let us make man in our image." “As Adam came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of noble height, and of beautiful symmetry. He was more than twice as tall as men now living upon the earth, and was well proportioned. His features were perfect and beautiful. His complexion was neither white, nor sallow, but ruddy, glowing with the rich tint of health.” 1SP 24
She describes his height, symmetry (form), complexion was ruddy glowing and healthy (features).
2. “Male and female created he them”:
Since in Gen 1:26 God was speaking to His Son, He was saying in effect, “Let Us (You and I) make man (Adam & Eve) in Our (Yours and Mine) image.” So we have two Divine Beings talking together and they agree to make two beings in their image.
Looking again at the statement in 1SP it goes on after saying that God speaks to His Son about making man in Their image, and describes both Adam AND Eve.
“And now God says to His Son, "Let us make man in our image."…[Description of Adam]. Eve was not quite as tall as Adam. Her head reached a little above his shoulders. She, too, was noble--perfect in symmetry, and very beautiful.” 1SP 24
C. Husband/Wife Relation made in the Image of Father/Son Relationship
So Genesis 1:27 tells us that man was made in God’s image in the singular (character, body type and thinking ability) as well as the image of both Father and Son. So Adam and Eve as a unit were made in the image of the Father and the Son. Notice carefully that the relationship between Adam and Eve was also part of what is the image of God.
So not only were Adam and Eve made in the image of God individually, their relationship was also a reflection, resemblance of the relationship between the Father and the Son. This being the case then indeed the relationship between Adam and Eve gives us a key to understanding the relationship between the Father and the Son.
Father and Son
Adam and Eve
Son comes forth from the Father (John 8:42; Prov 8:22-30).
Eve comes forth from Adam (Gen 2:21-23).
Christ was the express image of the Father. and inherited everything He possessed from Him. A co-worker who could appreciate the Father’s purposes (Heb 1:2-4).
Eve was a help-meet and companion to Adam comparable to him. All that she had she inherited from Adam. She was made from his bone not from the ground (Gen 2:20-24).
Father is the head of Christ (1 Cor 11:3).
Man is the head of the woman (1 Cor 11:3).
Christ received the Father’s Name. (Heb 1:4)
Eve received Adam’s name. (Gen 5:2)
Christ is equal with the Father through the relationship (John 5:18; Phil 2:6).
Eve was equal with Adam through the relationship. They were one flesh (Gen 2:24).
Father made all things through Christ. The Father’s life source was channeled (nurtured) by Christ and from Christ came the whole universe (1 Cor 8:6; Col1:17, Eph 3:9).
Adam’s seed (life) was nurtured by Eve and from Eve came the whole human race (Gen 4:1; Gen 5:3).
The creation sequence opens for us a flow of life:
- Christ comes forth from the Father and possesses His Life – the Father is His Head.
- Adam comes forth from Christ and receives His Life – Christ is the Head.
- Eve comes forth from Adam and receives his life – Adam is her Head.
This is exactly what Paul describes in 1 Cor 11:3.
1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Without the serpent’s lie of inherent power, the above text gives a beautiful flow of the life of God. It is not, I repeat NOT a list of who is superior to whom. This is serpent thinking.
D. The Godhead Can Be Understood.
The relationship between Father and Son is described by Paul in Romans 1:20:
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
This passage indicates that the Godhead CAN be understood by the THINGS THAT ARE MADE FROM THE CREATION. As opposed to finding God by trying to search him out, we can know the things of God by what is revealed to us. Paul indicates that the Godhead can be understood through the creation. Please note part of the purpose of God’s creation of Eden.
Adam had themes for contemplation in the works of God in Eden, which was Heaven in miniature. RH Feb 24 1874
The creation of Eden was heaven in miniature. It was to be a lesson book for the universe on how Heaven is ordered and organized. The most notable part of the creation that was “Heaven in miniature” was that which was made in God’s own image. Please note that this image is far more than character, it was a unique creation made in God’s image. Please note:
All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of the world and of man. Human beings were a new and distinct order. They were made "in the image of God," RH Feb 11, 1902
God created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God. RH April 21 1885.
The only means for accounting for this distinct order that “alone is formed in the image of God” is the pairing of Adam and Eve in a husband/wife oneness that reflects the Father/Son oneness relationship. The angels reflect God’s character and they are closer to God individually in that they are spirit beings like God. The only characteristic that makes us “alone” like God is the Husband/wife relationship, the dual authority – Man being a source authority and woman being a nurturing authority. No other creation has been made like this.
Further evidence of this thought is revealed in the following statement:
What his [Husband’s] influence will be in the home will be determined by his knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. AH 213
This statement indicates that the ability of a husband to function correctly depends directly on His knowledge of the Father and the Son.
E. Husband/Wife Relationship a Response to Satan’s Challenge to Christ
A close examination of inspiration reveals that Satan’s rebellion arose before the creation of this world.
Angels in Heaven mourned the fate of those who had been their companions in happiness and bliss. Their loss was felt in Heaven. The Father consulted Jesus in regard to at once carrying out their purpose to make man to inhabit the earth. 1SP 23
The Great Controversy centered on the relationship that the Son of God had to the Father. The creation of the human race would be a lesson book to the universe not only of God’s creativity but also better reveal important elements of the Godhead. Rom 1:20 states clearly that the Godhead was revealed in the creation.
We must ask the question of why God engaged in a curious method of creating man and woman. Why was Eve taken as a rib from Adam’s side? Why did Eve receive all of her substance from Adam and why was Eve the only one in the garden that could understand Adam. Does this not teach us something of the relationship of the Father to the Son?
Apart from this, the role of the help meet that Eve played and the nurturing role in relation to Adam’s leadership, was this not a lesson book to the universe? Does not the role of Eve teach everyone about the critical role of authority and submission structures? Notice carefully
1Co 11:7-10 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
These verses are intriguing to say the least. Paul uses not post-fall argumentation for the headship of the man, but rather a pre-fall position. The importance of a woman having power or authority on her head allows her to be the key agent for demonstrating how to respond to the source of authority – her husband. This illustration reveals to the angels and the universe the key role of Christ in establishing the authority of the Father by submitting to it. Thus the woman has a symbol of authority on her head – because of the angels. This adds significantly to our understanding of the family based government of God and Satan’s hatred of the family.
F. Perversion of Godhead Reflected in Perversion of Male/Female Relationship Which Perverts Gospel.
As we have just noted, the Godhead is understood through the things that are made, namely the creation of Adam and Eve. Further evidence of this comes from the fact that the rest of the chapter describes a refusal to glorify God which in turn perverted relations between men and women which leads to abominable behaviour.
Rom 1:21-27 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Trace the above passage:
- They knew God – the relationship of Father and Son. (verse 21)
- Their imaginations became vain – they believed the serpent’s lie that individuals have an inherent power source and shifted their value system from relationalvalue to inherent power. Thus the relationship between husband and wife became to be understood as two separate beings with separate inherent power. This broke the understanding of the flow of life and in the changed relationship of man and woman was lost the true relationship between the Father and Son. (verse 21)
- Thus, they changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into the image of what man perceived – equal power Beings in their own right. Inherent power being the ruling principle, it was not long before many men worshipped powerful beasts and powerful birds and other animals that display powerful characteristics. (verses 22,23)
- This broke the right relations of men and women, which led men and women into gross sexual misconduct. The more the relationship between men and women were perverted, the greater the lie grew about God. (verses 24,25)
- With the image of God broken in the lives of men and women, they became open to homosexuality which completely destroys the image of God. (verses 26-28)
The sequence of Romans chapter one is extremely significant.
- A discussion on the gospel being the power of God unto salvation by faith (Rom 1:16-18)
- A reference to the suppression of truth by ungodly men. (Rom 1:19)
- Contrasted by the knowledge of truth about the true God revealed in the creation. The highest revelation being the creation of man in the image of God. (Rom 1:20)
- A discussion of the perversion of God reflected in the perversion of the male female relationship, which is a perversion of the image of God. (Rom 1:21-27)
- The resulting fruit being all manner of sinfulness and wickedness (Rom 1:28-31)
The above sequence supports the emphasis of the restoring of family relationships under the Elijah message of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers.
- A Restoration of true family relationships will lead to the correct roles of men and women in marriage
- The restoration of the image of God in the male/female relationship will lead to a correct understanding of the Father and Son relationship.
- The true understanding of the Father and Son relationship will restore the blessing channel as revealed in 1 Cor 11:1-3 and DA 21.
- The restoration will see the Father as the source “of whom are all things” and Christ as the actuator and nurturing authority “through whom are all things” 1 Cor 8:6
- The restoration of the Father as the source of all blessings will prepare the way for God’s people to have the Father’s name sealed in their foreheads. Rev 14:1
All of these truths place crucial importance upon the male and female relationship that supports a true understanding of righteousness by faith. Therefore:
- Whenever the relationship between a man and his wife is described in terms of power equality, skill equality, intelligence equality rather than relational equality, we destroy the image of God and the channel of blessing is broken
- Whenever a husband refuses to provide for and protect his wife and children, the image of God in man is broken and the channel of blessing is broken
- Whenever a women gives orders to or seeks to dominate her husband, the image of God in man is broken and the channel of blessing is broken.
These are extremely serious issues. How many families truly reflect the image of God in their homes?
Do you see why Paul gave the following instructions?
Tit 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Have you ever wondered how teaching young women to love and obey their husbands and love their children and make their homes a pleasant place can prevent blasphemy? If women do not learn to submit to their husband’s leadership but rather are taught to mother him and/or rule him, the flow of life is broken and the image of God in man is broken. The Father is never in a place of submission to the Son – He is the fountain, the seed which is nurtured in the womb of Christ – In Him[Christ] we live and move and have our being! (Acts 17:28) Can you see the seriousness of this issue?
G. Understanding Godhead Essential for True understanding of Equality, Authority and Basis of Relationships
When we contrast the Father/Son Godhead structure with the Trinity we see significant changes in how we understand authority, equality and the nature of relationships.
In the Trinity, the primary authority of the Father is an assumed authority. By Trinitarian standards, the Son could just as easily have assumed the position the Father holds. The Son assumes the role of secondary authority but he is not actually secondary because of his co-equal and co-eternal inherent power. This is contrasted to the absolute authority of the Father in the Father/Son model and the delegated authority of the Son. The authority structure is clear; is not assumed and establishes a direct channel of blessing structure. The Trinity model confuses authority and this confusion is evidenced in the image of God by the confusion experienced in the roles of men and women we see today.
In the Father/Son model, the nature of the relationship is very clear whereas in the Trinity, the nature of the oneness between the Father, Son and Spirit is a complete mystery. The Adventist church is in a difficult situation when it claims that one God exists in a unity of three co-eternal persons. A unity of persons creates a haze over the concept of oneness. Some scholars have already begun to embrace the one substance view to prevent the charge of tri-theism that we are subjected to, but the belief in one substance is even a greater mystery even though it would satisfy the demand for oneness more clearly than a unity of three co-eternal persons.
The conclusion of this matter though is that that nature of the relationship is a mystery and is not understood by the things that are made. Since the nature of the relationship is a complete mystery is it any wonder that human relations become so distorted and confused, resulting in a complete mystery?
The only thing that is quite clear in the Trinity model is the issue of equality; equality based on power and inherent characteristics. Issues of Authority and the nature of the relationship are confused and mysterious.
Clear and Absolute
Assumed and Confused
Nature of Relationship
Once again we raise the question, why is it the Father of the Lamb’s name that is in the foreheads of the 144000? The clarity that God’s people receive concerning God leads to a view of the Father as the source of all things and the source of blessing which is then channeled and magnified through the Son. The woman riding the beast clings to power based equality and maintains a confused authority structure and mysterious relationship base, both of which will not fully release the power of God (the life source) unto salvation.
H. Protection of Life Source Depends on Correct Family Structure
Notice again the law of life for the Universe.
“In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father's life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life.” DA 21
The Father’s life flows through the Son and out to the universe. In that life is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. It is the Spirit of God that flows out to us and gives us life both spiritual and physical; a continual flow of blessings for which we must return joy and thanks for all God does for us. The absence of thanks and praise to God breaks the law of life in the universe. The protection of this life flow depends on a right understanding of the structure of the Godhead and the structure of the family unit which was made in God’s image.
If we hold a view that Christ possesses self-originated life apart from the Father, then the family unit is susceptible to gravitating towards the same understanding that men and women are co-equal based on their abilities. This view was recently expressed in the Record where the letter writer stated that the equality of a man and women is based on the equality we see in the Godhead. He stated:
“Prior to the Fall, Adam and Eve were co-equals and complementary to each other. (See Gen 1:26-30) Neither “ruled” over the other; their God-ordained role was to co-rule in their care of the natural world and to reflect within their marriage a taste of the unity and equality that exists within the Godhead.”
This statement is most certainly reflecting a Trinitarian view with the terms co-equal. Can you see how the Trinitarian view of co-equality based on performance measures destroys the life flow of God’s blessing? Can you see how the Trinity is affecting marriages everywhere in Christian homes? Is it a coincidence that Adventist marriage (under confused authority and a mysterious understanding of relationships) breakdown statistics are almost the same as those in the world? There are certainly a number of influences that affect this statistic but when the flow of blessing as described in 1 Cor 11:3 is halted due to notions of performanceco-equality, marriage can be a very desolate place.
The diagram on the left protects the life flow by maintaining that man was made in the image of God. On the right we see that the life flow is broken and the relationship between man and woman is changed. If man was indeed made in the image of God in FORM and FEATURE then a Trinitarian view is rendered impossible. A third being of some description would need to have been created with man and woman to keep man in the image of God. Another point worth noting is that the diagram on the right shifts the emphasis of life creation as coming from the mother. This system allows the possibility of all kinds of feminine style worship.
My prayer is that we will reclaim the image of God in our marriage relationships and restore the channel of blessing, the life flow of God. One of the central keys to doing this is restoring Father and Son to their true positions which in turn with restore true authority, true equality and true relationship systems.
In this chapter we have begun to see the importance of family structure and Godhead structure in securing the blessings of God. In the next chapter we will see how family, church and community structures can preserve the flow of God’s blessing and safeguard the sense of self-worth in our children.
For more information on this watch these presentations by Pr Stephen Bohr (Added to article Feb 2015)
 F.M Wilcox, RH May 27, 1915. Misrepresenting the Father, “God said to his Son at that time ‘let us make man in our image.’ They were then in the same image”
 “God has bound our hearts to Him by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth. Through the things of nature, and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He has sought to reveal Himself to us.” SC 10
 Job 11:7-9
 Deut 29:29
 This is opposed to the concept of temporary subordination advanced by some Adventist scholars. See Ministry Magazine November 1964, What Can We Know About the Holy Trinity, “We must allow, however, that Christ voluntarily and temporarily subordinated Himself at His incarnation” Apart from the fact that this suggests Christ gave himself rather than the Father giving Him to the human race it also provides the basis for the temporary subordination of wives to their husbands until the sin problem was dealt with. If Christ’s subordination to the Father was due only to sin, then the same can be said for wives in respect of their husbands. This idea is extremely popular with Adventists today (See A Woman’s Place published by he Review and Herald 1992 page 20 as one example) and is quite logical if you follow that line of reasoning, but of course it is not Biblical.
 Dr Roy Adams expresses this view in the Sabbath School Lesson of April 10, 2008
The Record, April 14, page 29. “A Post Grace Rectification.”