Discussing God’s Image in Man
By Philip Nation
The second session of this quarter, we will dive into Genesis 2:4-18 to discuss the creation of man in God’s image. Let me give you some additional thoughts are you prepare to lead your group.
The image of God is not just a theological concept to discuss. It is a reality for all people on the planet who have lived, are alive now, and will ever live. Theologians and pastors have debated back and forth the exact meaning of having God’s image implanted in people. As you decide the exact understanding that your group will discuss, there is another layer that I encourage you to consider. It is the application it has to the mission of God.
The mission of God is to save people and thereby also redeem His own image that is implanted in each one of us. Having the image of God speaks to the worthwhile nature of people in the sight of God. He did not give His image to the mountains, oceans, lions, eagles, trees, or diamonds. It is only given to people. We are—as some have put it—the crown jewel of creation. Certainly, people are of a higher order than the rest of creation.
As you discuss God’s image in people, continually point your group to the worthwhile endeavor of God’s mission to evangelize and make disciples of all people. The conversation will likely take two paths. First, it will be easy to think about and discuss ministry to people who are like us. People who live in the same community, are of the same ethnicity, and the same culture present few barriers to disciple-making work. But we must press our group members to think about those who are “not like us.” The image of God is in the men and women from different religions, continents, ethnicities, and cultures. Recognizing that God’s image is planted in every person should drive us all the more in the work of seeing others redeemed by Christ.
Your preparation throughout the studies in Genesis 1-24 can lean toward the intellectual and academic. Ensure that you help your group members keep their eyes focused on how God desires to use them in helping others to become a new creation in Christ.
Dr. Philip Nation is the Content Development Director for Lifeway Christian Resources and the Teaching Pastor for The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville, TN.