What Does God Look Like?


graphically enhanced image of embryo in utero

At a gathering with some fellow ministers to debate pro-life points, I watched a clip of a movie, taken in utero, of a six-week previous unborn child. I used to be in awe as I watched the little fellow transferring his fingers and toes, even rubbing his face. Opposite to the “blob” imagery so many People assume about our neighbors within the womb, it is vitally simple to see lately that these unborn girls and boys should not solely human in summary organic phrases, however additionally they look human.

What does it imply that we’re created ‘within the picture of God?’

Christians typically disagree about what the Scripture means when it tells us we’re created “within the picture of God” (Gen 1:27). Is the picture rational? Ethical? Dominion/kingship? Or, as I consider, does it entail all the above? However what about your physique? Is that this a part of the picture of God in any respect?

Thinker Stephen Webb raises this problem in a assessment of Richard Middleton’s The Liberating Picture: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1, within the July/August 2006 problem of Books and Tradition. Webb appears to be like at Middleton’s argument that the dismissal of the physique doesn’t lead to a dualistic anthropology. It appears apparent to Middleton that the picture is one thing apart from bodily. Webb asks whether or not this dismissal is just too hasty. Webb writes:

“The picture of God makes little sense within the Outdated Testomony context, the place it’s talked about explicitly solely thrice (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 5:1; and Genesis 9:6). If we’re to rescue it from hopeless obscurity, it should be taken each actually and christologically.

Our our bodies appear like they do as a result of God determined from eternity to turn out to be incarnate in Jesus Christ. Merely acknowledged, we’re like God as a result of we’re like Jesus. Our our bodies should not an accident of evolution any greater than the Incarnation is a divine afterthought to the Fall. God didn’t turn out to be incarnate as a way to appear like us.”

Webb is partially off-base, I believe. We don’t have to “rescue” the divine picture from “hopeless obscurity.” The normal views of the picture (nearly all of them) have sturdy foundation in Scripture. As Carl F.H. Henry as soon as famous in his God, Revelation and Authority, the practical ruling facet of the picture presupposes morality and rationality, as a result of an immoral, irrational rule is Pharaoh-like, not godlike.

However Webb is correct to query whether or not we’re too fast to dismiss a bodily facet of the picture. This doesn’t imply Mormonism, or another idea of a God with “physique, elements, and passions” (because the Westminster Confession’s article 2.1 places it). It might imply, nevertheless, what Webb is getting at on this article.

Jesus is the prototype of the picture of God.

He’s the “picture of the invisible God” (Col 1:15 HCSB). Might or not it’s that our arms level to the uncreated actuality of the facility of God, our eyes to the sight of God, our ears to the God who hears? And will or not it’s that Adam, and all of us after him, are designed after the architectural blueprint of the incarnate Christ?

The New Testomony, in spite of everything, grounds the total restoration of the picture within the believer as our being “conformed to the picture of His Son, in order that He can be the firstborn amongst many brothers” (Rom 8:29 HCSB).

Based on the New Testomony, the thriller of every part is hidden in Christ. He’s the explanation all issues that exist have been introduced into being (Eph 1:10; Col 1:16). Paul tells us the thriller of the male/feminine union of Genesis can now be seen in God’s eternal objective of a union between Christ and the church (Eph 5:31-32).

The Bible additionally tells us that within the Incarnation Jesus shares “flesh and blood” together with his “brothers,” a vital facet of our redemption (Heb 2). Perhaps the non secular, invisible Father God designed a flesh and blood physique for His solely begotten Son, a physique that might replicate one thing of the glory of God, after which designed Adam the person of the mud to appear like that.

We’d not agree precisely on what the picture of God entails biblically.

However we will agree that God designed human our bodies to appear like this for a purpose.

After we see the bud-like arms of 1 the world calls an “embryo,” we really feel sympathy, as a result of we all know she or he is one in every of us. That’s why so many would somewhat look away.

That’s additionally why the Nazi propaganda caricatures the bodily traits of Jewish folks as so totally different from these of the “Aryan” race, and why Ku Klux Klan literature tries to image African-People as wanting extra like animals than like human beings. It’s simpler to hate these we don’t acknowledge as sharing our picture.

That’s why the New Testomony makes clear that humanity is of “one blood” (Acts 17:26).

And it’s why James factors out that cursing one made within the picture of God is on the core of demonic hatred (James 3:9). Human beings don’t merely share a theoretical humanness with all the remainder of humanity. They’re constructed after the mannequin of a Jewish carpenter. The proper picture of God we are going to sooner or later see within the glorified Christ will share with us fingernails and a blood sort and eyelids and DNA. He’ll wipe away the tears from our eyes, and He’ll accomplish that with fingers, fingers that appear like ours.

And one can think about there could also be a few anti-Semites in line for the White Throne Judgment whispering in horror about “how Jewish” the King appears to be like.

Jesus says that once we serve “the least of those, my brothers,” we’re serving him (Matt 25:40).

Perhaps a few of that is extra “bodily” than we ever thought. Perhaps that’s why it takes such a callous coronary heart to have a look at the videotaped “embryo” rubbing his face with a small, stumpy hand with out recognizing somewhat brother there.

Photograph Credit score: ©GettyImages/agsandrew


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