God is Imaged

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And I’m going to invite you to turn to the book of Genesis because we have started a new series together called believe. And I just want you to know on the inside of me over this series, every time I step up on the stage to share this, it is practicing restraint not to just want to dive into everything that’s contained in these passages of scripture. Because for me, I said this last week, but if I had to pick maybe the most important passages of scripture for me, um, Genesis chapter one to three, if it isn’t, it’s pretty close, right? Every time I feel like I make a new chapter of the Bible, my favorite, I feel like, then I quickly switch it to something else cause it’s so, but Genesis chapter one to three in my faith, when I began to study what was happening in these passages of scripture and saw how these first three chapters painted, the rest of the Bible mean this, these passages were beautiful for me.

And, um, it should be for really any believer because what you find in these first three chapters set the pillar of the Christian faith for us. It lays it out. And we’re going to talk about this over the next, uh, this series will be seven weeks. So we have six weeks that we’ll be going into this from this point on. We talked about the beginning of this section last week, but we’re going to answer some very important questions as we go through the series together. Like next week we’re going to be talking about should you believe in talking snakes. What does that have to do with any S anything? And do snakes really talk? Did Adam and Eve eat an Apple? Um, what’s God’s plan for for evil? How can a great God or good God allow evil to exist? That’ll be the following week. We’ll, we’ll tap into some of those answers in scripture all the way down to now.

What do we do with, with the information that God’s given us as it paints itself in Genesis chapter one to three, Genesis three 15 will be the pinnacle of all of this, that that verse alone really identifies for us the way the rest of the Bible is going to lay itself out and so we’re going to be building the case to that. We’re going to saturate ourselves in that verse and then we’re going to look now in light of that verse, how do we respond to it? So this is important for us this morning we’re going to be in Genesis chapter one chapter two. We’re going to bounce back and forth between those two chapters because we’re going to, we’re going to focus on something particular in God’s creative hand. Just by way of review last week, just the theme, the idea that we wanted to set out is that God has revealed himself.

God has, has spoken in creation, the very reason that God has spoken to so that we could come to understand him as he has revealed himself to us. And we highlighted one important phrase in scripture as we looked at this together and it says, can you guys get the TV on? Sorry. It says in the beginning, God and this word for God, Moses elaborates on, he is the author of the book of Genesis. And he elaborates on this word as this passage just continue on. He combines this word God, which is a very generic name with a, with the word Lord, which is a very specific name, which means yacht way or Yehovah. And so this phrase together, Lord God literally means, um, uh, Lord is y’all way and God is Elohim. So it’s Lord God. And that phrase is very important. In Exodus chapter three, verse 14, that is the name God identified himself with to Moses, the Lord, Yahweh.

It literally translates as I am. If you follow that phrase throughout scripture, God continues to use in reference to himself. The Jews would not recite that phrase because it was considered so sacred. They would not say the word Yahweh and said they substituted it with the word add an I because of the reverence they held for that passage. But in your Bible, anytime you see the word Lord and capital letters next to the word God, it is y’all way Elohim, Lord God, the specific name of God. This is particularly important and the reason I want to share this is because we’re going to talk about the Trinity in weeks ahead and and the nice thing, greed, which for some reason some people believe that Christianity was perverted there and we’ll we’ll share with why that cannot be possible, but this phrase, Lord, God’s going to come up again when we talk about the word Trinity and the reason it’s important, I’m going to just share with us this morning why it’s important for us today and then we’ll build on it in the Trinity is because Jesus uses this phrase for himself.

He refers to himself in the book of John as the great. I am the book of John centers around eight phrases of the word I am. Seven of them are particularly pointed to because Jesus alliterates the phrase I am or illustrates it with a connection to him. He says, I am the shepherd. I am the door. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the vine. I am the living water. I am the light of the world. He takes this phrase y’all way the sprays I am and identifies himself as that I am probably the most important passage Jesus uses to identify himself as the I am is in John chapter eight because in this section, when Jesus refers to himself as the I am Yahweh or Yehovah the name for God in the old Testament, he also in this past we find the response of the Jews to Jesus using this phrase.

So if there’s any doubt how the Jews perceive this. When Jesus said this, all the doubt is released. When you see the response to the Jewish people, because it says on verse 56 your father Abraham, Jesus says this, your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day and saw it and was glad. And so now the Jews are confused because Jesus is not as old as Abraham. Abraham lived a long time ago. And so this is what they say. So the Jews said to him, you are not yet 50 years old. And have you seen Abraham? And Jesus said to them, truly, truly, I say to you before Abraham was born, I am the name of God and the old Testament, and this is the Jewish response. Therefore, they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

The reason they’re throwing stones, stones in him is because Jesus is committing blasphemy. The Jewish people are monotheistic. They only believed in one God. And so you see in this passage though is referring to himself as the I am Ja Yehovah way. And the the Jewish law was anyone that commits blast for me. There were to be stones. The Jews are going out to kill Jesus. You think about their old Testament scriptures. We quoted this last week, Deuteronomy six four hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord. This, this, this, this God Elohim. Yahuah is one God and Isaiah 43 in verse 10 it tells us, you are my witnesses declared the the Lord and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and declare that I am he before me. There was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. That’s Isaiah 43 10 God saying, I am the only God. There was nothing before me, nothing after me. I am the only God and now Jesus is calling himself that God and so they’re seeking to stone him.

Out of all of this phrasing of Elohim, um, Yahweh or Yahweh, Elohim, Lord God in the old Testament, the, the most important thing I just want us to recognize as we continue to dive into this passage of Genesis is the sacredness through which they, they treated that name Genesis. The story of God’s creation is very sacred. The Jews wouldn’t even have uttered the name of God as they read these pages and creation is it starts in Genesis two and verse four Lord God.

In fact, I would say when Moses talks about Lord God in Genesis chapter two verse four that’s when he first introduces the phrase in Genesis chapter two verse seven that’s when he talks about the creation of man and it’s safe to say to you what he’s about to do is very sacred. The sacred God is about to perform a very sacred work.

This is Lord God. Well, neat. You don’t even utter his name and yet in verse seven you find him creating man, which is most specifically what we’re going to talk about today, but it’s Genesis chapter one. If I just started in verse one and continued this thought with what’s about to take place in scripture, it tells us in the beginning God created which talk we talked about together, which literally means out of nothing.

Meaning before God made, there was nothing. There was no spiritual anything, there was no physical, anything out of nothing. Hebrew word brah. The way that we say often in Latin isX and a Hilo out of nothing. God forms this and it tells us in Colassians, which we just viewed together in one chapter, one in verse 15 that he formed all things. And by him all things consist both, both the physical and the spiritual world, a dominions, principalities and powers we shared with talked about that together, it’s the spiritual world, the physical world, everything God created out of nothing. And before that there was nothing. God brought all of things in to existence. And what you see is is as he’s creating it says this, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was formless and void. And so what Moses is saying as he explains this passage of scripture is the same.

God is now continuing, create intentionally. We’re going to see this as it builds throughout this case, but he starts off with God creates formless and void. So he’s saying as God is creating, it’s not serving its ultimate purpose, yet God is formulating these things and its purpose for its existence hasn’t been met yet. So as he’s creating these things, know that these things are designed for an ultimate purpose and you’re going to see these. This has God creates, he speaks, and as he speaks, these things coming to existence. In fact, it says in these verses in three six nine 14 2024 26 in chapter one it starts with this phrase, God said, then God said, God’s word has life. God speaks, life begins. And as God creates at the end of his creation, he says, it’s good. I said, the earth was formless without void. It wasn’t serving its purpose. Yet God creates, it’s good. God creates, it’s good. God creates, it’s good, but it’s not until he creates man and woman that God then says it is what? Very good. Right? And then got arrests.

So as God is noticing his or saying his creation is formless and void as he begins to design and he says, it’s good. It says it’s good. He said, this is good. He says, it’s good. He drives down to the spinal point of very good. And in that creation we find mankind as God created. He speaks.

This is really important to think about as you consider what the Bible says about scripture. Second Timothy chapter three in verse 16, it tells us that all scriptures given by inspiration and the Greek new Testament, when they’re using the word inspiration, that literally translates as God breathe. Meaning the same spoken word that brought things into existence that brought life on this earth has breathed into his scripture. And so when you really, when you literally read God’s word, it is the breath of life that can saturate into you. God speaks, life begins.

I’m going to tell you, I’m not going to dive into all of this creative work of goddess as he speaks in the day and the night of the seven days of his creation. Because I want to tell you, when you study this passage of scripture, it is all over the gamut as to what people, uh, people suggest. These, these words literally are, are, are saying to the point that even when you come to the creation of, of man, that, um, that people don’t see Adam and Eve as literal historical figures. Um, even though in the new Testament, Jesus speaks of him that way, right?

Well what I, what I really want to do rather than get lost in the trees this morning is I want to drive too, to the point of God’s creation in saying it was very good in creating mankind. And the reason is is because when you read this text in the Hebrew language, it’s written poetically. And what I mean is one of the reasons people approach this so confusingly and try to, to, to dialogue of what happens in these seven days of creation is because they’re taking this poetic statement that Moses is making and trying to infer for them some, some literal statements about, uh, about God’s creation. Now, no doubt. I think scripture speaks to those. But the main point that he’s driving at is the end of what God’s creating here, which is mankind. And that’s what I want to use this text this morning just to talk about as it relates to us as individuals and light of God and the sacredness of who he is.

Genesis chapter two in verse seven and talking about our creation, it says this as human beings that says, then the Lord God formed man of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. You think now and what Moses is portraying these passages, Israel has gone on the Exodus out of Egypt. They’d been treated as slaves. They’re discovering their identity. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why do I exist? Right Moses and sharing the story. He shares creation poetically talks about things coming into existence. Day after day. God creates something new and then when he gets to man, it’s as if he stops here and he explains it in a little more detail to say to you now, this is unique from other things that have been created because the other thing is that God made it says, God spoken. They existed, but here the Lord God formed God’s paying, intricate, detailed to the way he shapes us, which is saying, when you look at his creation, God’s doing this intentionally. God’s doing this purposefully. God’s, God’s got an ultimate design into the way and, and the reason for which he has created things. And when you get to man, mankind, God stops here. And he says, the Lord God formed man.

This word for formed in Hebrew is this idea of, of a Potter shaping his, his clay. It’s the masterpiece of an artist working over his art. God. God is shaping us. And then he talks about in that shaping, there are two ways in which mankind is created. The first he says is that man is formed from the dust of the ground, from the dust of the ground. God forms us and then he breathes into us the breath of life. So when God forms us out of the dust of the ground, what he’s doing here, and he’s making us artistically in his ultimate design, which he desires, there is no accident. It’s God’s intended purpose for our existence. And, and then he forms us from the dust of the ground. And this is to signify a difference between created and create. Or when you read the story again, uh, something similar to dirt happens in the story of Exodus chapter three, which we already talked about. When Moses gets God’s name, when he says, God, who do I say sent me? And he says, I am. Tell them I am sent you. [inaudible] has sent you in that story. As it begins, Moses shares his encounter with God and it tells us in this passage that one Xs chapter three verse five, when Moses comes before the burning Bush to talk to God, God says this to him, do not come near here. Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is Holy ground.

Moses who’s writing Genesis, no doubt has a picture of this already as he’s explaining an Exodus about this thought of ground us as creatures coming from the ground, the difference between the created and create tour. I think the reason is Moses approaches this light as Moses comes before this burning Bush to talk to God. The reason God requests for him to take off his sandals are God tells him to take off his sandals isn’t because God doesn’t want us to wear shoes in church.

All right? The reason God’s telling him to take off his shoes and then he’s standing on Holy ground is that he wants Moses to recognize that although he has the opportunity to come before that which is sacred in that way, which is Holy, he’s still creature. There is a distinction between he and God. While that moment of interaction with God is sacred, Moses, you’re still made from the dirt. You’re still created from this ground. So God forms man intentionally, uniquely, purposefully out of the dust and then breathes into us. Excuse me, the breath of life and man became a living being this idea of breath and this forming that God does with man is just illustrating this, this thought of intimacy. God closely forming us and God closely breathing into us, creature connected to creator.

And this shows us as we consider the way that God has made us what it means in Genesis one when when God said, let us make man in our image. So there’s a distinction from us and our creator and that we’re made from dirt. But there is also this image of us placed in us by our creator because he’s shaped us for his purpose and he’s breathed in the us and the breath of life.

So it says in verse 26 in Genesis chapter one is God goes through all of this, all of this creation. God said, one more time, let us make man in our image according to our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And God created man in his own image, in the image of God, he created them, male and female. He created them. So what does it mean to be made in God’s image? What doesn’t it mean to be made in God’s image? And some of the answer we find in Genesis chapter two verse seven some of the answers we find in Genesis chapter one verse 26 and ruling over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air.

This idea of dominion, but let me just answer the question. What? What doesn’t it mean to be made in the image of God? Because I don’t want us to skew the identity of who we are. Remember we’re made from the dust. There is a distinction between create or and creation. Being made in God’s image doesn’t mean we’re made in God’s image in every way. The first reason I think we can point to that is because of what’s contained in verse 27 God created man in his own image. He created them male and female, right? So to suggest that God made us in every way as he is, that would, that would then go on to suggest that God would have both genders within himself. But the Bible tells us in John four 24 that God is spirit. And so when he talks about us being made exactly as God, he’s not referring to us physically in the sense that or physically really at all or in the sense of genders that God being made in his image. God doesn’t possess both genders. And in fact the Bible tells us in numbers 23 verse 19 and Hosea 11 verse nine that God is not a man on the New Testament. It does refer to Jesus has God and tells us that Jesus became a man. But the reason it tells us Jesus became a man was to pay for the sin debt of mankind being made in our likeness. But God is his spirit. And so when he creates Adam and Eve in his image, it’s not after his image. Physically, it’s after his image spiritually being able to connect to him. And, and the way we think about it is this. There are some ways you can connect to God and some ways you can’t connect to God. What we call communicable attributes and incommunicable attributes in communical. Attributes are things of God that you may be able to apprehend but not fully comprehend. Things like his omniscience, omniscience, his omnipotence, his omnipresence, which means he’s all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present. We can’t even conceive what it means to live eternity past.

Do we turn into the future to know everything, to have dominion and power and control over everything? We may be able to apprehend those things or just know that that is a characteristic of God, but we cannot comprehend those things. Those are incommunicable attributes, but we also have communicable attributes which we can connect to our creator. What is love and justice and grace and peace. These attributes that that we can demonstrate within our lives because we have been made in the image of God connecting to him spiritually because he has breathed his spirit into us being made in his image doesn’t mean in every way. In fact, when you read the new Testament, the only one that’s described to be exactly as the father is Jesus Colassians two nine for in him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form. Hebrews one three he is the radiance of his glory and the exact representation of his nature. John 14 nine he who has seen me has seen the father. The only reason Jesus could say that is because the nature of God is found in Christ himself. The only one who has been described exactly as the father is Jesus because there is a distinction between us as creatures. We’ve already laid out the fact that Jesus and John eight refers to himself as the I am and so when we talk about what it means to be made in the image of God, doesn’t mean we’re exactly like God, but what it means is that we have characteristics that reflect our maker and therefore because of those characteristics, because God breathes his spirit into us because God shaped us intentionally and purposefully in creation, we have opportunity to connect to our creator. In fact, when you read the rest of Genesis chapter one talks about the creation of man, says in verse 28 God blessed them and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And God saw all that he made. And behold, at this point, God says, it is very good. God has made you meaningfully, purposefully and now being designed in the image of your creator. You have opportunity to reflect the glory of that creator in this world, in the way that you, according to verse 28 subdue it.

God made us in his image, one to know him intimately and to, to reflect his glory throughout this world. As you read Genesis chapter one and you see the creation of mankind, this passage of scripture is represented to us as a place to stop in these moments and appreciate the value of human life.

Okay, so we talked last week about why God exists or how we know God exists. But let me just ask this question as it relates to the value of human life, apart from God, how could you even begin to attribute value to life without him?

Meaning if what you believe is is everything just sort of happened. That chaos became order, which we talked about that as well. If you, if you conceive of that in your mind that nothing created this but out of nothing came something and out of chaos became, became order. Why would humanity have any more value than anything else in this life? Meconium, that way of thinking. We’re just start us bumping into startups and so regardless of whatever happens to mankind, whether someone in some foreign land loses their life or whatnot, to us in the grand scheme of things, that shouldn’t matter because there’s no value over humanity versus something else because all of it just happened to come together by some random chance and so to, to, to look at mankind and even say there is value in that above anything else makes no sense. Apart from a value that’s attributed to us from a creator who’s created us first purpose, which we see in Genesis chapter one in verse 31 that God calls very good the reason that if, if a baby falls out of a boat and begins to drown and a dog falls out of the boat and begins to drown, the reason that you’re first inclined to rescue the child before you rescue the dog is because in you God has created you to recognize there is worth and value in human life.

Rescue the dog too if you can. Okay. In these moments, this passage is written to appreciate the value of life. Answer the question, where did we come from and why do we exist? Not that we are to be praised, but simply recognize that the sacred heart, Holy Yahweh Elohim has made you a crown to his divine creation. That worth of humanity is not based on what you do, but in who you are. And if we as human beings don’t understand the significance of a creator forming us, we’re always at risk for devaluing and dehumanizing people.

None of us should ever undermine any human being that is made because every human being is sacred, being created by the one who is sacred himself. God formed all of us, w which says to us as people before you’re a citizen of any country or any religion, you are a human being made in the image of God and this should cause us to, to treat everyone with respect. Regardless if it’s an infant in a womb, a person of another religion, a person from another land, all are created in his image and all are sacred. All of us being created by God have the ability to state what is right and wrong by our creator. None of us have the right to dehumanize or devalue another person, the talk of people in such ways.

So this passage is written for us that God may help us to appreciate life and talk about any life with dignity and the respect it deserves to care about our neighbors, even if I disagree with them and to love as Jesus loves because they’ve been made in the image of their God. Psalms reflect this thought throughout scripture. Talking about creator God forming man. Just just listen to these verses. I think these, these Samas relate well to what’s what’s written in Genesis chapter one it says this in Psalm eight in verse three when I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you set in place, what are mere mortals that you should think about them? Human beings, that you should care for them. Yet you made them only a little lower than God and you crown them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made. Putting all the things under their authority, the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds and the sky, the fish in the sea and everything that swims in the ocean. Currents, Oh Lord our Lord. How majestic your name is, fills the earth.

And Psalm one 39 talking about our creation. It says this in verse one Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me. You, you know when sit down and when I rise up, you understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there was a word on my tongue. Behold Lord, you know, and all you have enclosed me behind and before and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It’s too high. I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from your spirit or where can I flee from your presence for you, for my inward parts you wove me in my mother’s womb. I give thanks to you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works and my soul knows it very well. Verse 16 and in your book were written all were all written the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are your thoughts to meal God? How vast is the sum of them? If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand and when I awake I am still with you. Genesis one verse 26 27 Genesis two verse seven answers this question, why did God make you?

Why do you exist? Maybe even, why are you here this morning? The answer is this. God has created you for an intimate, wonderful God breathing relationship with him. God desires for you to to know him and to display his glory in this world through that relationship with him that we should consider sacred, that God, y’all way Elohim, Holy and other and that sacred position would think enough of creation to form mankind, man and woman, and in his image that even though he is sacred, Holy and other, we have opportunity to connect to the one who has good being made in his image as that’s the very reason our church exists. Our desire this morning is for you to connect with your creator and through that relationship, through your creator as he transforms you, it transforms your relationship with others in this world because as you come to know the one who is glorious, you display his glory in the way that you live your life. It’s the reason Jesus said the greatest two commandments are to love God and love others. Now on the back end of all of that and to let the cat out of the back tomorrow or tomorrow. Next week, we’re going to talk about the problem with that, how sin was introduced, how man responded poorly to that, but then we’re going to begin to begin to build how Jesus sat us free from the sin that separates us from God only through him.

That relationship, that relationship with God, that we have only continues because of Jesus. It’s only available to us because of Jesus. When we were separated from our creator, Christ has reconciled us to him, but today for us, this, this message is particularly important in culture because when we look at things that happen around us and the way that other people may treat mankind, we should respond in that it is wrong. It is against God because humankind is sacred and all of it. We don’t devalue anyone because all of us have been made in the created image of God.

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