Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Image Of God

Describing the image of God is not an easy task.  Wayne Grudem defines the image of God as such “The fact that man is in the image of God means that man is like God and represents God.” (Grudem 1994)
Many theologians have attempted to specify one characteristic of man or few that can be seen as the image of God.  “Some have thought that the image of God consists in man’s intellectual ability, others in his power to make moral decisions and willing choices. Others have thought that the image of God referred to man’s original moral purity, or his creation as male and female (see Gen. 1:27), or his dominion over the earth.” (Grudem 1994)
The Hebrew word selem is translated “image” while demut is translated “likeness.”  These two words can be seen as synonyms of each other.  “When found together, as in Genesis 1:26; 5:1, 3, selem and demut make a theological statement about human nature, affirming that we bear a “likeness-image” to God. Like God we are persons, with an emotional, moral, and intellectual resemblance to our Creator.” (Richards and Richards 1987)  John J. Davis says “It is this image and likeness that completely distinguishes man from the animal kingdom.  He alone has the capacity for self-consciousness, speech, and moral discernment.” (Davis 1975)
The image of God cannot be pinpointed to one characteristic, but to several that reflect the God.  It is that image that separates man from the animals.  It is because of this image that we can love, think, and make good moral decisions.  It is from God that man has creativity and a spiritual nature.  The image of God is not a physical reflection of God, but it is a reflection of the characteristics that cannot be seen.  It is the similarities between God and man that should be considered the image of God.

Bibliography

Davis, John J. Paradise to Prison. Salem: Sheffield Publishing Company, 1975.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.
Richards, Larry, and Lawrence O. Richards. The Teacher's Commentary. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1987.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Does “day" mean a 24 hour period or ages?

Wycliffe Bible Commentary states that it is not correct to think of a day as a 24 hour period of time.  It is the premise of the author that because the sun and moon are not created until later, that the measurement of time has not begun.  He believes that a day is referring to a day of God and not to a day measured in hours and minutes.
Stephen Schrader in the KJV Commentary tells us that the word day has been used in three different ways in Genesis.  In Genesis 1:5, 14, 16, and 18 it is used as a twelve hour period of light.  The other two ways are a twenty-four hour period and in Genesis 2:4 the entire creative week.  The phrase “And the evening and the morning were the first day” indicates to the author that the word used here is a twenty-four hour period of time.
Kurt Strassner in Opening Up Genesis ponders the questions “What is God like? Where did we come from?  What are we here for?”  He believes the answers come from the first two chapters of the Bible which span just seven twenty-four hour days.  He solidifies his stance on the twenty-four hour days, by discussing evolution.  One reason he gives for his stance against evolution is that the Bible gives us no reason to believe that the day in question is anything other than a twenty-four hour period.  He notes that while it is true that Peter says in 2 Peter 3:8 that a “day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day,” Genesis 1 says over and over that “there was evening and morning,” which is indicative of one day as opposed to a millennium.
There really has been no question for me as to whether the day in Genesis refers to a 24 hour period of time or not.  I agree with Strassner and Schrader that it does refer to a 24 hour period of time.  I don’t think the Lord God needed an entire day to create all of creation.  As far as the argument that we cannot call it a day because the sun, moon, and stars had not been created yet; if God calls it a day then who are we to argue.  Ultimately it seems a bit ludicrous as well but if it took God six thousand years to make the earth and then He rested as an example to us, do we then rest for a thousand years?