Psalm 8 is a reflective exposition based on the Genesis 1:26-31 account. The key question that the Psalmist raises, as he reflects at the entire creation, is . . . "What is it about man that makes him so special and the object of divine interest and attention?"
We might expect the answer to be . . . because God; you have created him in your image! But, instead the Psalmist describes what it means to be "the image":
- First, man is assigned to a status slightly lower than God (Auth. reads "angels").
- Man is crowned (by God) with his own attributes of "glory" and "majesty".
- Man is assigned responsibility for governing all creation.
- Man is to specifically rule over the entire animal kingdom.
For the present, man's dominion over the earth is an intellectual one. Man is master because he has superior intelligence. He can fly higher than birds, run faster than a cheetah, lift greater loads than an elephant, and swim further than the fishes of the sea.
But, the one central issue that the Old Testament teaches, from the beginning and consistently throughout the Bible, is that God is supremely interested in moral issues, and it would appear that this is the kind of dominion appointed to Adam.
All of the long Old Testament narratives show that God is consistently judging men. God demands righteousness and punishes sin, and He treats man as a moral being with the intellect, ability and responsibility to make moral choices. Throughout the Old Testament God shows Himself as pleading, forgiving, pleading and forgiving again. He chastens and finally, after long and patient waiting, finally brings judgment.
The same patience that bore so long with a rebellious nation of Israel is now what is prolonging the gospel age that we now live in. Yet God cannot leave the guilty unpunished and one day there will be a final Judgment Day.
God had placed Adam in an idyllic garden where all of his needs would be met (physical, aesthetic, social, personal, and spiritual) all symbolized by the Tree of Life. Adam was given freedom of choice to accept or reject divine "image" status symbolized by giving him the opportunity to make a choice between blessing (Tree of Life), and between Cursing (Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil).
God even created Eve to be Adam's helper who was to complement and be Adam's counterpart in the governance of God's creation. The earth belonged to God and Adam was given charge of it. Adam was to walk with God and obey God as His representative on earth. However, by Adam's deliberate act of rebellion, he repudiated his status of the "image of God". He, in essence, told God: "I want to do it my way".
Satan's lie to every person on earth is that he or she can become like gods on deciding what is good and what is evil. Because of Adam's rebellion, God became displaced and Satan became the God of this world.
In Adam's rebellion, he not only repudiated the "image of God", but also ruined the "super good" harmony in the universe. All relationships in the universe were disturbed:
- Between God and Adam;
- Between the Man and the Woman;
- Between Adam and the universe;
- Between God and the universe.
It was this dysfunction created by the sin of our first parents which resulted in the fundamental depravity of all humanity. Adam as the head of mankind lost the "image of God". Mankind today bears the "image of a fallen Adam'.
Adam's rebellion caused him to be expelled from the garden. He had disconnected himself from God. God removed His blessing from the land, and now man would have to work by the sweat of his brow in order to live.
Even though sin continued to abound, God still provided grace. The only problem was that the world then and also now does not understand that the only reason why God has not completely obliterated mankind is because of God's grace.
God had given Adam understanding of His will and the freedom of choice, to do His will; to act "As His Image" and govern all His creation . . . as He would govern. In return God would provide for all of Adam's needs as represented in the garden, and in the cool of the evening He would walk with Him.
Despite the Fall, man is and always will be the crowning point of creation. He is God's splendid masterpiece possessing moral and intellectual powers. The theory of evolution breaks down every time it is applied to man. There is absolutely not one scientific fact which can sustain the theory that intellectual man resembles the ape. It takes a whole lot of imagination to believe that theory.
In Israel's failure to act as God's image, God would eventually send His own Son. Jesus would fulfill the role of Israel as God's representative on earth. Colossians 1:15 tells us that Jesus is the "image of the invisible God". Hebrews 1:3 tells us that the "Son is the exact representation of God's being". In fact the majority of the New Testament epistles are all about how we are to live our renewed lives . . . in Christ . . . as the "image of God".
The mystery of God, hidden in ages past, now is becoming known to the rulers of this world that, through the Church, God is building His kingdom here on earth. When we receive Jesus as Lord, we become the children of God.
John 1:12: "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."
Our moral nature is changed from that of the world to that of Christ. 1 John 3:2: "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is."
This hope is not limited to the New Testament but also declared in the Old Testament. Psalm 17:15: David says: "And I - in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness."
For this very reason, God deliberately created a world peculiarly suited for man, over which man could have dominion. Man's duty was to extend the boundaries of the original Garden of Eden until the earth became a paradise.
As God's image the first Adam, who was head of the human race, failed to keep God's image and God's likeness, and the only reason that God did not destroy His creation then and now is because of His grace and mercy.
God in His foreknowledge had already prepared a plan of restoration for all of His creation. The very seed of woman would become the Son of man and Son of God, as God's Image to bring a distorted world and universe back into harmony with God.
One day Jesus, "The Last Adam" and express image of God, will come again to complete the purposes and plan of God where the first Adam failed. In the meantime, our prayer is for God's Kingdom to come, here on earth as it is in heaven.
Beloved in Christ: Despite what is happening in the world today, we know that Jesus is coming again to take His lawful throne as Lord and King of all the earth.
Thank you for your faithful giving to help us carry a message of hope to the needy children of this world! Pastor Roman & Pat Kozak