We continue our study of Great Doctrines of the Bible by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (MLJ) by examining chapters 14 and 15, which deal with the creation of man in God’s image.
Scripture shows that something special was taking place when God created mankind, which is emphasized with a “kind of pause” in the text. In Gen. 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” This Trinitarian conference between the Father, Son, and Spirit shows the uniqueness of this event.
Made in God’s Image
Unlike other creatures that God made, mankind was made in the image of God. Gen. 2:7 states, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Mankind has been given something that other creatures don’t have: a soul. He was given self-consciousness, moral freedom, the ability for abstract thought, and the ability to worship. Man was created in this unique way and then given dominion over God’s creation (Gen. 1:26).
What does it mean that man is made in God’s image? MLJ argues that it means that God made us in such a way that we are “some kind of a reflection of God” (169). He sums up the teaching of Edwards and Calvin on the subject by stating: “The divine image in man means everything in man as a natural being that differentiates him from the animal” (171).
MLJ lists five aspects or features of the divine image:
- The soul– the essence of who we are.
- Mental abilities– “Our capacity to reason and to think, to analyze and to meditate is a reflection of the same thing, in an eternal degree, in God. And it is unique to human beings, you do not find it anywhere else” (172).
- Moral integrity– the capacity to understand right and wrong. Again, something not found in animals.
- Physical being– MLJ recognizes that there is disagreement on this topic, but he argues that even our body shows, in a sense, aspects of God’s image. He cites Phil. 3:20-21: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body…” The original human body, MLJ argues, reflects something of the spiritual body that Christ has received and believers will one day receive.
- Dominion over the earth– God gave man dominion over the earth, and this reflects aspects of God’s sovereignty over all things. “What God is to the whole universe He has made man, as it were, to creation” (174).
These five traits are elements of the image of God that man cannot lose, thus they were not lost in the fall (though they can be tainted). However, after the fall, there were certain aspects of the image of God that was lost, which will be covered next time in chapter 16 entitled, “The Fall.”
Other posts in the “Great Doctrines of the Bible” series:
- Mind, Heart, and Will: Examining the Great Doctrines of the Bible
- How Can We Know Anything About God?
- Does the Bible Claim to be Authoritative?
- The Existence and Being of God
- The Warnings and Comforts of God’s Attributes
- A God We Can Trust
- Lloyd-Jones On The Mystery Of The Trinity
- The God Who Knows: The Eternal Decrees of God
- What Does the Bible Say About Angels?
- Who is Satan?
- The Creation of the World
- 3 Aspects of God’s Providence