Image and Likeness

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J. N. Darby.

(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)


I certainly think that spiritual relationship to God is much more founded on what is spoken of in chapter 2 of Genesis, than the recital of chapter 1. In chapter 1 it is much more the place man holds in the whole creation - no doubt a special and distinct one, still as taking his place as of God there; chapter 2 is his distinct relationship with God in connection with his nature.

He is the image of God and likeness in chapter 1; he is the genos (offspring) in chapter 2. But it is a wonderful place.

In James 3:9, it is homoiosin (likeness) not genos, and Acts 17:28 condemns the idea of this likeness being anthropomorphism.

As to man's creation in the image and likeness of Elohim, I think we must add the exercise of voluntary thought. This is of immense moral importance as connected with responsibility. It is not mere happy obedience to God, flowing from an undivided, untempted nature, kept in its unity by Him without another thought, but obedience connected with consequences; this we have revealed as the basis of all, not with knowledge of good and evil - it was no evil in se, but disobedience. But this was connected with another immensely important thing - the consciousness of a special connection with God, and God's special interest in him, wrought by breathing from Himself into his nostrils the breath of life.

Now as God must have had, and must have His delight in Himself? so Adam had his blessedness in God in this conscious connection. This was the point of trial; he gave it up, alas! (yet, through grace, for blessing), for self, and satisfaction to mere self. The fall was total; externally disobedience, but more than that, departure. He gave up God, and his connection with Him for an apple - and worse, for self. It was not the knowledge we have now of what God is, who has so blessed him - that is the new creation, wherein we are renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that has created us in righteousness and holiness of truth - but it was the blessed possession and consciousness of the connection of having to do with God according to His love and thought and delight, as God delights in Himself because He is perfection; all the communications of God in chapter 2 mark this. This position is not lost but ruined, and the necessary source (unless a new bond be found as in the blessed Lord, by the incarnation, death and power of resurrection, or life in redemption) of eternal misery. There is disobedience, and Christ has died for that. This is bad enough, but there is separation from that, from the consciousness of which by our nature we cannot be separated, and this is what is so dreadful. The renewal, I need not say, is in Christ beyond, and God being glorified as to all the evil. He is the image of the invisible God in a higher sense, for here the knowledge of good and evil is come in, and He is the manifestation of God in love in the midst of it.

179 This puts man in a wonderful place, only making his failure the more dreadful - no creature can stand - his recovery the more glorious, and gives us to see the absolutely complete character of redemption - a second Adam, though bringing us livingly unto Him. Dependence in obedience was his place - not using his liberty or power for his will; that place the blessed Lord took, and, in the same responsibility, kept in perfect grace and perfect submission, preferring His connection with His Father to all, learning obedience, though always having no will but to obey ("Lo, I come," etc.) - but renouncing all self to do so. And He bound the strong man in the midst of ruin and evil, as Adam failed in the midst of blessing. But besides He bore the abandonment, in the full consciousness of the divine joy of connection as none but He could know it, into which we, by guilt, had voluntarily, and to our eternal ruin, run; we, thus brought back, restored, reconciled to God, according to this perfect work of grace, our sins and all our once condition, in which they were committed, wholly gone through His work, and serving now only to make grace known. What a wondrous thing is redemption!

In Adam there was proper personal intercourse (i.e., with God), responsibility and relationship - intelligent relationship with Eve given to him of God - and everything else subjected to him by God. The consciousness of this connection is far more intimate and powerful now, because it is by the Holy Ghost, much more properly divine in Christ; with Adam it was as a living soul - his own nature. This gave it its own character and importance, but it was evidently a different thing. It is a divine bond now - "we joy in God"; it was responsibility as a creature then, excellent and admirable as was the place he held, and had been put in, the more so as an image of Him that was to come. We must not confound being the image of - and being made in the image of (i.e., of Elohim).