What the Bible says about
(From Forerunner Commentary)
The actual creation of Adam and Eve and the placing of them in the Garden of Eden was not an end in itself but only a necessary step at the beginning of a process that continues right down to today.
God is creating a community.
From the very beginning, God implies the expansion of His own community. He says, "Let Us," indicating a community already exists. Man was made, physically, in God's image, and he begins with characteristics of shape and form in common with his Maker. The rest of the Bible fills in the details of how mankind is being brought from having not only form and shape in common with his Maker, but also character, so that he fits perfectly into the community that the Maker is expanding.
When the Son of God came, He came with a message from His Father. Jesus gave as the title to the message that He brought, "the good news of the Kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14-15). This is the Boss Himself, and this is the title He Himself gave. It was the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Is there any doubt in our minds that God is forming a community? Is there any doubt that Jesus Christ will rule this community, first, and that afterward, He will turn everything over to the Father? (I Corinthians 15:28)? There is nothing ambiguous here. Is God forming a community?
The important thing for us is what ramifications the good news of the Kingdom of God has on the way we live our lives. In the course of the unfolding of Christ's ministry, and the apostles' afterward, we find some interesting things that have a direct impact on the way we live our lives.
First, Christ was the Son of God. Does not a son indicate a family relationship? “Son” is used in the Bible in at least two different ways. One means "a direct descendant of." The other is used in the sense of "characteristics of, but not necessarily direct descendant of." The Bible says plainly that Jesus was the Son of God, a direct relationship. Since He was of the same Family, there is a family relationship. He was not only a literal Son born of Mary of the Holy Spirit, but He also showed the characteristics of God. He was God.
Is Christ indicating a family relationship with us in Mark 3:34-35? We have already seen that the community that He is creating is a kingdom. This kingdom is also a Family. Everybody is related, all being sons of the Creator. Everybody has the same characteristics. Do not the descendants of parents look like their parents? Sure they do.
Everything fits together beautifully, and logically. God is reproducing Himself.
Consider Romans 8:14-15. Is that a family? Thus, if we have the Spirit of God, we are part of a family. We are Jesus' brothers. We are Jesus' sisters. We are Jesus' mothers (see Matthew 12:50). We have the same Father as He did.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part One)
As God created, it is extremely significant that of all He created, only one creation is in His image, mankind. This is important to the purpose God is working out. Also, it is significant that of all the creatures God created, only mankind is given dominion over anything else, animate or inanimate.
Verses 26 and 28 show the first inkling of man's awesome potential. We are in God's likeness and His image, and have been given dominion in order to fulfill that potential.
If one looked up the word "image" in a Hebrew dictionary, it would not be very satisfying, being a typical textbook definition. It merely means "a shadowing forth, a phantom, a sketch, an outline." It gives the impression of a mere shape, a stickman. However, it has another, more interesting definition that means "whatever makes a man remarkable or procures respect."
The word "likeness" is commonly thought by linguists to mean nothing more than an intensification of the word "image." Even though it is a different word, its meaning is very similar. Putting those two words together, the Hebrew clearly shows that we are remarkable, especially in comparison to all other life. We are in the image of God.
Though we are remarkable, we are merely an outline, a mere copy or representation. We are illusory compared to God, because He is the reality.
The word “image” deserves further examination. The word "image" could evoke different mental images depending upon one's perspective. Over the past several decades in the United States, "image" has acquired a deceptive application that obscures its true meaning. This application skews one's understanding, interfering with the meaning God intends.
For example, today, a politician hires a publication firm to create an image for him that the people will find acceptable, and, thus, vote him into office. If someone is trying to find employment, they dress a certain way to project a particular image for employers to perceive. Corporations also try very hard to find the right image before the public.
To an American, an “image” has subtly come to mean "the illusion of what something is presented to be" rather than "the essence of what it really is."
In Hebrew, the word translated "image" is not "a deceptive illusion." Rather, image means "the likeness of one subject expressed in another." This difference is important. It means, "the likeness of one subject, God, expressed in the other, man." The verse indirectly says that man is very much like God.
The Hebrew meaning is frequently used in English in reference to family resemblance or characteristics. We say that a child is the spitting image of his father or his mother, possibly referring to physical or social traits.
The "image" is no illusion; it is the reality. It is the family trait. It is the essence of reality.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Right Use of Power
Here in Jacob's last words to his sons, we read of two of them, Simeon and Levi, being singled out as cruel. By their actions, they had proved themselves cruel both to animals and to humans. God warns them through their father Jacob that this trait would likely be passed down to their descendants. Because of it, He would be forced to scatter them throughout the other tribes of Israel, diluting its ill effects within the larger nation.
It is interesting that, despite its inherent leanings toward cruelty, the family of Levi was chosen by God to serve Him in His Tabernacle, Temple, and through the Aaronic priesthood (Numbers 1:50). Perhaps by concentrating the members of this tribe on His work, God transferred their aggressive tendencies to a far better purpose.
Is it also possible that, although God softened him with His Holy Spirit and made him the meekest of men (Numbers 12:3), Moses—a Levite—inherited some of his tribe's proclivity towards cruelty? Did he not murder an Egyptian whom he caught beating one of his fellow-Israelite countrymen (Exodus 2:11-12)? Did not Moses' wife, Zipporah, call him a "bloody husband" or a "bridegroom of blood" (Exodus 4:25-26)? Yes, we know that she says this relative to the circumcision of their son, but was there perhaps more to her outburst than just this?
Later, after Moses had been on Mount Sinai for almost forty days, the Israelites persuaded Aaron to make an idol, the infamous Golden Calf, for them to worship. Seeing the idolatrous rites and perversions happening in the camp, God sent Moses down to deal with the situation. Not only did he break the two tablets on which God had inscribed the Ten Commandments (Exodus 32:19), "he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it" (verse 20)! Incidentally, he afterward called for all those who were on the Lord's side to go throughout the camp to kill their idolatrous fellow Israelites—and the tribe of Levi rallied to him (verses 25-28)!
It seems that Moses had to keep his anger in check throughout his life. After he had brought Israel to Kadesh, just before the final push into the Promised Land, the children of Israel murmured due to the lack of water. In his impatience, anger, and frustration, Moses struck the rock rather than speaking to it as God had commanded (Numbers 20:7-11). Doing so destroyed his chance to enter the Promised Land with the people.
Don't Be Cruel!
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