In His Image

by Patrick Gray
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In Gen 1:26 “God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” The idea of being made in the image and likeness of God has captivated the attention of men since it was first announced by Moses. What does it mean exactly? Did we lose that image and likeness with the entrance of sin?

The answer to the second question is easy enough when we consider such passages as, James 3:8-10 where we read of the wrong use of the tongue, “It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.” God told Noah and his family when they left the ark, “"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man” (Gen 9:6).

Clearly the entrance of sin into the human family did not cause of to lose the stamp of God’s image. While we do not have space to explore all it means there are certain conclusions to be drawn from the fact that we are in God’s likeness….

1. We have intrinsic value that far surpasses any of the lower creatures. This helps explain God’s placing us as custodians over the other creatures. He said, “…let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Gen 1:26-27). It is indeed troubling to hear modern man speaking of man as just another animal and even conferring the “rights” and privileges on animals. It is the loss of this profound truth that has contributed to the disintegration of our culture. After all, if we think of ourselves as a mere animal then we will likely behave like one.

2. Being made in God’s image means that we have the ability to reason and decide for ourselves. It is this freedom of will that explains why God will one day call us to account for our lives. The Bible is clear on this, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10-11).

3. Being made in God’s image does not mean that we are God. The New Age movement seeks to advance the outrageous view that men are God. Mormonism asserts that we will one day be a god over our own planet. While these views are extreme the truth is many behave as though they were God. When we reason to ourselves that our will and ideas determine right and wrong we are essentially setting ourselves on God’s throne. We must always bear in mind that we are the creature and God is the Creator (Romans 1:25).

It is indeed a comforting and sobering thought to contemplate that the great God of all creation would confer on us His own image. May we seek to live our lives accordingly!

We Must Not "Twist" the Scripture

by R.W. Gray
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Properly used, the Bible is a lamp to our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). When misused, abused, perverted, wrested or twisted, same word may be to our destruction (cf. 2 Pet. 3:16). In Galatians 3:28 we find, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NKJV). This beautiful text informs us that, in Christ, there is not a little “I”, nor a big “you,” for we are all belong to the same Lord, each one enjoying all spiritual blessings found only in Christ (see Eph. 1:3).

This does not teach that all slaves are set free by their masters. It does not mean that physically speaking Jews cease to be Hebrews, or that Greeks lose all their ethnic identity. It does not mean that males cease to be masculine or that females cease to be feminine. In short, it does not mean that gender roles are prescribed in scripture for the home and church have been obliterated. A husband is still the head of his wife, and women are still required to “keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but are to be submissive, as the law also says” (I Cor. 14:34 NKJV). In I Timothy 2:12, Paul wrote, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to HAVE AUTHORITY over a man, but to be in silence.”

Those who use Galatians 3:28 as a would-be proof text that women may serve as preachers, elders, deacons, or teachers over a class of men in the congregation, have made it nothing more than a pre-text. Such is “wresting” and not “teaching” the Scriptures. Their duplicity is exposed when they say of I Cor. 14:34 and I Tim. 2:12 that Paul was speaking only to his first century culture, then quote the same Paul in Galatians 3:28 for their authority for obliterating all distinctions between males and females in the area of church leadership. Consistency demands that if Paul’s words in I Corinthians and I Timothy are not applicable to us, neither are his words in Galatians. The truth is they all apply to our generation.

The Blue Donkey Speaks

by Super User
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I have a friend who reminds me of Eeyore. Remember him? Eeyore's the donkey from the Winnie the Pooh stories. Poor Eeyore is always gloomy about something. He's always losing his tail or rebuilding his house after it's collapsed. When he talks, he's always sad and sluggish-sounding, and you just can't cheer him up. Sounds like a fun guy to sit next to at a party, right?

So what is it about my friend that reminds me of Eeyore? Well, whenever we talk, something is wrong. Even when something good is going on, there's something wrong with that. That's not always a problem because I have a slightly off-kilter sense of humor and don't mind dry, ironic humor. I think it's good to share the ups and downs of life with friends. But lately, I leave our conversations wondering if it's good for us to talk about our troubles so often. As we wallow in mucky sadness, our conversations often end with one or both of us feeling kind of down.

The truth is, sometimes I'm Eeyore. In fact, I'm sure a recent conversation with my mom left her wondering whether she'd given birth to a daughter or a gloomy little blue-gray donkey. I wailed and moaned and sputtered and snarled, and I could not be comforted. My tail had fallen off. My house had collapsed.

My Eeyore-ish tendencies remind me of a sermon I once heard that was based on John 5. Here Jesus healed a paralyzed man who has been lying by a pool that was supposed to have special healing powers. When Jesus asked the man if he'd like to be healed, the man said something like this: I have no one to help me to the pool to be healed. Then, Jesus told the man to get up! Pick up your bed and walk.

Think about what Jesus said to the man. Why would He ask a paralyzed man if he'd like to get well? And why would he tell a paralyzed man to just get up and get going? That sounds almost mean, doesn't it?

But according to the preacher, Jesus was challenging the way the man thought about himself. Being well would require a whole new way of thinking and living. He couldn't just depend on others anymore; he'd have to take responsibility for himself. If he wasn't paralyzed anymore, he couldn't lie by the pool. This man had to decide if he was ready to take the new life that Jesus was offering.

That sermon really challenged me to be responsible for the things I spend my time thinking about and talking about. It challenged me to do what I can to get beyond my Eeyore-ish thinking. When I'm upset, I can put on some good music and get moving. Maybe I can do an extra workout and enjoy the good kind of tired I'll feel when I'm done. I can read my Bible or pull out my journal and make a list of the things that are going well. And yes, I can talk to my friends - if I'm doing that to feel better instead of just spreading my bad mood like a germ-filled sneeze. I can take up my bed and walk.

I don't think that means if you're depressed for a long time, you should just expect yourself to snap out of it. If this happens, you should ask your parents or a school counselor to help you figure out if you just have the blues or if you're struggling with something deeper.

But if you simply have a case of the blues, then I would encourage you to try and look at the bright side more often. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm going to try my best to do things that help me to feel cheerful. I should probably start by reattaching this tail and building up this collapsing house.

LaTonya Taylor