God has endowed man, more than the rest of His creatures, with good and Has created him after His own image.
We have now to turn our attention to the second part of our investigation (#. 141.), and to consider:
158. II. The creation of man more especially. In the whole range of creation, that of man was the last work; for it was the purpose of God to prepare the world for an habitation for man. God has created two human beings, a male and a female. Genes. 5, 2. “Male and female created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam”. God has created man out of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Genes. 2, 7. “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul“.
The female was created from one of the ribs of the male, Genes. 2, 22.
159. Man has not been created in a state of sin and misery, nor as being subject to death, as he now actually appears to us, — but after Gods image. This latter term comprises that state of man, as it was immediately after his creation. It will therefore be necessary for us to investigate more particularly the nature of this divine image.
160. The term “God’s image”, we find applied to Christ, 2 Cor. 4, 4; he is called the “image of the invisible God”, Col. 1, 15; and “the express image of his person”, Hebr. 1, 3. In this sense the term is only applicable to the Lord Jesus Christ, because he is the everlasting Son of the Father.
Otherwise also the husband is called the “image of God”, 1 Cor. 11, 7: “he (the husband) is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man;” that is, like as God governs the world, so also is the husband to rule the house. In this sense again, the term is applicable but to husbands; and in no way to females, children, unmarried persons or widows etc.
But, lastly, the term (image of God) is employed to express the state of innocence, perfection, in which God has originally created man, and which is was His purpose that man should transmit to his “progeny.
It is in this sense especially, that we are now to consider this term.
161. The divine image denotes a state of perfection in which God delights, and in which human nature has been originally created. This perfection consists in 1) a right perception of God and 2) His creation, 3) complete righteousness, 4) true holiness, 5) the liberty of the will, to do the good and to flee the evil, 6) in immortality, and 7) the domination over all the creatures. There are therefore seven different points to be considered as constituting the image of God.
162. 1. The perception of God. God alone is able to have a right perception of Himself. Nobody knows the Son but only the Father; and nobody knows the Father but only the Son, and he whom the Son is pleased to reveal the father, Matth. 11, 27. — 1 Cor. 2, 11: “the things of God knoweth no man but the spirit of God”. As soon therefore as man is able to arrive at a clear perception concerning God, he becomes like Him; and it is therefore such a perception part of the divine image, as it is described by St. Pam, Col. 3, 10: “Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”
163. 2. The perception of the whole creation; this also is in the power only of God, to whom alone every thing is known, (#. 57). As soon then as man can get at a clear perception of the creation, he will be also in this respect in the likeness of God. But that Adam was possessed of such a perfect knowledge can be proved from the following facts: Adam had a knowledge of all the beasts that were brought before him, and could name every one of them. Genes. 2, 19; he knew of Eve, as soon as he saw her, that she was to be for a companion to him, and that she had been taken from his flesh, Genes. 2, 23. But such a clear perception betrays great wisdom and deep understanding by means of which secret things may be comprehended, which are known to God alone. Man has therefore received the likeness of God also in this respect.
164 3. Complete righteousness; this is usually ascribed solely to God; Deutr. 32, 4: “His work is perfect, for all his ways are judgment; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” — But in that man has been created in righteousness, that is, without sin and unrighteousness, he has been made in the likeness of God. He was God’s image, because there was no evil and wickedness about him, Ephes. 4, 24, “Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
165. 4. True holiness; God is holy, 1. Sam. 2, 2: “There is none holy but the Lord.” And as the first man has been created holy (Ephes. 4, 24: the first man is created in true holiness”), it follows that he mast have been the image of God.
166. 5. The free will to choose the good, and to flee the evil. God is free in His works, Pslm. 115, 3. Pslm. 135, 6. “Whatsoever the Lord pleased that did he.” — Now in that man has been endued with free will, so as to be able to do and not do that which he pleases, he has been made in the image of God. God moreover has put before man the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in order that he might show his obedience, in not eating of the fruit of the tree. For this purpose he gave him the commandment “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat“, Genes, 2,17. Thus man had the free choice to do the good and to abstain from the evil; which is thus described by Jesus Sirach 15, 14, ff.: “He himself…. has left him in the hand of his counsel; if thou wilt, to keep the commandments, and to perform acceptable faithfulness. He hath set fire and water before thee: stretch forth thy hand unto whether thou wilt. Before men is life and death; and whether him liketh shall be given him.”
167. 6. Immortality. God alone is immortal, 1. Tim. 6, 16. But He has also made man to be immortal in such a manner that, provided he remains in his perfect state, death should have no power over him. God has therefore made man in the likeness of Himself. The holy scriptures also testify clearly, that man has been created immortal, and has become subject to death only in consequence of sin, Wisd. 2, 23. “God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity;” Genes. 2, 17: “Of,the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” God referred, after the fall of man to this latter sentence, when he says, Gen. 3, 19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return” Rom. 5, 12. “By, one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all man for that all have sinned.”
168. 7. Dominion over every living creature. God governs in heaven and upon earth according to His pleasure, Pslm. 24, 1: “the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein;” Pslm. 33, 9: “for he spoke and it was done, he commanded and it stood fast.” And as man has received power to rule over the living creature, he must be the image of God. That such powers have been committed to man, we read Genes. 1, 26. 27. 28: “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. And God blessed them and said unto them; be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea” etc.
Now as we find that men had originally been endowed with a right perception concerning God and His creatures, perfect righteousness, true holiness, free will, and immortality, and as he had received power to rule over every other creature, — we should be convinced of his having been created in the image of God.