Tag Archives: human being

God’s Mark of Excellence – His Image

The soul is precisely the one that was sealed with the mark of excellence of our Triune Creator God, because it was made in His image:

“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27).

Wernher von Braun, in fact, recognized the human soul as God’s masterpiece. And it is in the human soul that God has impregnated the image of Him:

“Scientists now believe that in nature, matter is never destroyed. Not even the smallest particle can disappear without a trace. Nature knows no extinction, only transformation. Would God have less respect for His masterpiece of creation, the human soul? Every person receives the gift of life on this earth…The knowledge that man can choose between good, and evil should bring him closer to his Creator…” (Federer 2016)

As true as Von Braun’s analysis is, great theologians and scholars throughout history have seriously and deeply studied what concerns the “image of God.” And the Word itself gives us some portions in both the Old and New Testaments.

We have previously quoted Genesis 1: 26-27, which fundamentally have to do with God’s intention to create the human being and, in fact, with His concrete action.

Also, in Genesis 9 we find another verse where the “image of God” is alluded to, thus:

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God is man made.” (Genesis 9:6)

Erickson comments that in Genesis 9 murder is prohibited on the grounds that the human being was created in the image of God. Although this passage does not mention that humans still bear the image of God, it is clear that what God has done before is still in effect, even after the fall.[1]

TongueLet us now quote a passage from the New Testament where the subject in question is also referred to; and through which the Scriptures evidence that the human being is created in the image of God, even after the fall.

“[The tongue] with it we bless the God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God.” (James 3:9)

Erickson in his book “Christian Theology” presents some views about the nature of the image of God. However, he concludes by indicating that, since there are various interpretations, this is an indication that there is no direct statement in the Scriptures on the subject. Therefore, reasonable inferences must be drawn from what little the Bible says on this subject. And here we share the most relevant, according to Erickson’s analysis:[2]

  • The image of God is universal within the human race. If the passages Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9-10 are analyzed; we observe bans on killing and cursing, respectively. And these prohibitions apply without limitation to all mankind, on the basis that mankind was created in the image of God.
  • The image of God has not been lost as a result of sin or specifically the fall. Thus, returning to the analysis of the prohibitions on murder and the curse, they apply to both sinners and pious believers. Thus, the presence of the image and likeness in non-believers is assumed. If this is the case, it means that the image of God is something that is inseparably connected with humanity.
  • There are no indications that the image is present in one person to a greater degree than in another. Superior natural endowments such as a high level of intelligence; it is not evidence of the presence or of a certain degree of the image.
  • The image refers to the elements in the human composition that allow the fulfillment of human destiny. It is about the powers of the personality that somehow make humans like God, that is, beings capable of interacting with other people, of thinking, reflecting and having a will. God’s creation had a definite purpose: Humans were destined to know, love, and obey God, and to live in harmony with other human beings. And Erickson emphasizes that humans are most fully human when they are active in these relationships, fulfilling God’s purpose. He mentions here also that the attributes of God which are sometimes referred to as the communicable attributes constitute the image of God. And he points out:

“Humanity as humanity has a nature that encompasses everything that constitutes the personality or the self: intelligence, will, emotions. This is the image in which humans were created, allowing them to have the divinely intended relationship with God and with other humans, and exercise dominion. (Erickson 2003)

  • It is interesting that Erickson also mentions the thought of Karl Barth, who says that the image is present in the human as long as it is human. And he looks at the image of God not only consisting of the vertical relationship between the human and God, but also horizontally between human beings. The image is related to the fact that God created a being who, like Himself, can be a partner.
Mischievous boy covered with paints

As this boy is dirty, covered with paints; so does sin in us, the image of God. 

It is good to highlight here a synthesis of the study by Miguel Núñez, who states that the image of God has not been lost. Yes upset, disfigured, trampled, distorted; but it definitely has not been lost. By definition, he says, the image of God cannot be lost because God exists permanently. What distorted it is sin. As human beings we have a mind with which we think, just like God; emotions we feel; one intelligence, one spirit, existence, all this just like God. And in terms of soul destruction, we are not going to die, just like God. The human being will go to hell or to the presence of God, depending on whether he is a believer or not; but he will continue to exist, just like God. So, what distorts the image of God is the sin that entered man. The sinful nature affected as long as the mind was darkened, it distorts the perception of the reality of what the human being sees. Likewise, the feelings were affected, the human being has become egocentric, tries to satisfy his own needs selfishly. Before the fall, we would have lived in the presence of God, and we would not have had the deviations that we now have.

Dr. Núñez refers to two biblical passages that were also mentioned earlier in this chapter, Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9. Both passages, he says, occur after the fall. And God continues to affirm through them about the existence of the image of God in man. The image of God remains in us, and the seriousness of a crime, domestic violence or abortion basically lies in the fact that human beings are bearers of the image of God; if it were not in us, we could die just like the animals and nothing would have any consequence, he concludes.[3]

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 519.

[2] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 519-533.

[3] Miguel Núñez, “¿Es el hombre pecador aun la imagen de Dios?” Edificando,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaKE_9n-G_M

The Creator Prepares Home for His Masterpiece – The Human Being

“God created all things in order to prepare a house and an inn … then after everything that belongs to the essence of a house is ready, man is brought …”

[The Works of Luther]

Creation certainly reveals its Creator. His power, majesty, wisdom, wit, and care.

The Creator puts together a beautiful and incomparable composition with an extraordinary and endless range of elements: Visible light in the splendor of the day and dense darkness in the calm of the night. The sky with its stars, the immensity of the waters and the deep seas, the land of beautiful landscapes. Birds that incredibly fly high in the sky against the wind; sea ​​monsters and an infinity of creatures that dwell at the bottom of the sea; beasts and animals galloping in the field. Dense and exuberant vegetation, infinity of fruit trees.

A world full of color and delicacy. Harmonically designed, whose sounds surpass the most brilliant symphony: from the delicate chirping of the birds to the imposing roar of the lion. From the soft and imperceptible sea breeze to the crash and roar of its majestic waves. From refreshing rain to intimidating thunder.

And this wonderful symphony reaches its climax with even more spectacular, sublime, and peaceful sound; the sweet and loving words of the Creator God towards the highest of His creation, Adam and Eve; who certainly enjoyed splendid intimacy with their Creator, in the delight of the Garden of Eden.

“And God saw that it was good,” “and behold, it was very good.” God saw that His creation was very good! Through His creation, we touch the immensity of God’s love for the masterpiece of His creation – humanity. So great is the love of God, that step by step, detail by detail, precision after precision, He was designing and creating home for humanity.

a-laughing-baby-sitting-in-a-crib-and-playing-with-2021-11-15-17-02-01-utcThis leads us to compare in some way with millions of episodes in the world, when married couples prepare to receive their little baby. How much joy, how much delight, how much expectation! Nine months of so much love, great enthusiasm and of course, a lot of work to properly prepare the baby’s room, its trousseau, colorful and warm clothes, his / her first toys, even specialized preparation to know how to breastfeed him / her, how to prepare baby food as he grows, how to clean and bathe him, how to protect him from diseases, how to interact day by day with the little one so that the environment in which he develops is safe, pleasant, healthy and full of life.

In the same way, the Creator of the universe, took the necessary time to design with splendid precision each part of the magnificent home that He gave to the human being to grow healthy, safe and full of life. God saw that the created home was indeed good and very good!

As Mark DeVine says in his book, “Shalom Yesterday, Today and Forever: Embracing All Three Dimensions of Creation and Redemption”:

“To God be the glory for the things He has done. And what has He done. He has made heaven and earth as the proper home for human creatures made in His image. ” (DeVine 2019)

Likewise, Luther recognizes in his book “Luther’s Works” that the Creator is truly the provider, sustainer and caretaker of humanity:

TE-Luther-eng“God created all things to prepare a house and an inn, as it were, for the future man … then after everything that belongs to the essence of a house is ready, man is brought, as it were, into his possession that we may learn that the divine providence for us is greater than all our anxiety and care. ” (DeVine 2019)

Thus, and according to the biblical account in Genesis, on the sixth day, God concluded His creative activity, and concluded it essentially with the creation of His masterpiece – the human being; and on the seventh day He rested and sanctified this day.

“And so the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their heavenly lights. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Genesis 2: 1-3 – NASB)

It is clear then that the pronouncement of God after the creation of humanity speaks eloquently of the unique meaning of humanity compared to the rest of creation; Devine points out. And he adds that only with the creation of humanity and its inclusion within the created order, can the creation as a whole extract the superlative “very good” from the Creator. In truth, this speaks of humanity’s uniqueness within the created order, a uniqueness that includes a position of superiority and distinctive worth within the universe. And DeVine emphasizes that no other imago dei creature is created. No other creature exercises dominion over the lower forms of creation.[1]

[1] Mark DeVine, Shalom Yesterday, Today and Forever: Embracing All Three Dimensions of Creation and Redemption (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2019), 709.

The God of Creation as Author and Example of Excellence – Introduction

“…from the microscopic and complex of DNA to the magnificent and unattainable galactic world of the splendid universe, the Creator´s mark of excellence is infallibly present.”

Cecy Yepez

For some months “Towards Excellence” has been silent, due to some circumstances, perhaps one of the main ones, because I, the author, was working on a long research whose theme fascinates me. So, for some time I have considered to share excerpts from it with each of you, the beloved audience of “Towards Excellence.”

From now on, I will be pleased to provide a broad overview of the excellence of the Triune Creator God and its implications for the work of leaders, and especially, Christian leaders within their various spheres of influence.

Through the study of Genesis 1 and 2, among other Biblical passages, the fascinating world of creation and its different moments are approached, in which the excellence of its Maker undoubtedly unfolds. It is observed, of course, that from the microscopic and complex of DNA to the magnificent and unattainable galactic world of the splendid universe, the Creator’s mark of excellence is infallibly present.

And of course, this study highlights the sublime and supernatural presence of the mark of excellence in the Creator’s masterpiece – the human being, in whose being His image and likeness were impregnated, which unfortunately was upset, stained and broken by the fall; but it is emphasized that it has the opportunity to be restored through the redemptive work of Christ. Of Whom, incidentally, a wonderful approach is made as “the image of the invisible God”, based on Colossians 1:15-17 and Colossians 2:9.

Space view on Planet Earth and Sun Star rotating on its axis in black Universe. Elements of image furnished by NASA, [Envato Elements].

In fact, to understand even more about the image of God, the character of Jesus and His actions are also analyzed, since He is the perfect example of what human nature should have been.

Thus, this study, in its last part, deals with what concerns Christian leadership, understanding that its actors, made in the image and likeness of the Creator, are challenged to be an example of His excellence where they have been called to lead. And not only that, but as bearers of His image, they have been commanded to exercise dominion over all creation, but they must do so in a way that is consistent with the character of the God of excellence.

For this reason, throughout the excerpts that I will share from this research, the great example of Jesus Christ will be denoted, whose leadership style has revolutionized the world. A leader who sacrificially serves lepers, without fear of infection; a leader who breaks down cultural barriers, not fearing other people´s opinion, such as the encounter with the Samaritan woman; a leader who forgives and restores, as when he courageously defended the woman who was about to be stoned; a confronting leader, as in the eviction of the temple. A true servant leader who gives His life for the cause that was entrusted to Him!

And we delved further, understanding that this leader did not allow Himself to be infected by the profane culture of His environment; but rather fearlessly expanded the culture of the Kingdom of God.

I trust that these excerpts will inspire many as they may have the opportunity to meet the God of excellence for the first time, or reaffirm their knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ, the God of excellence; or even more, mobilize many to be and act as ambassadors of excellence in this world.

In our next issue, we will start together an extraordinary journey through which we will recognize “the excellence of God in creation”; and certainly, we will join the poetic statement of Job:

“[God] who alone stretched out the heavens
    and trampled the waves of the sea;

who made the Bear and Orion,
    the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;

who does great things beyond searching out,
    and marvelous things beyond number.”

(Job 9:8-10 – ESV)

See you soon and in the meantime, I encourage you to live a life marked by excellence!