Heidelberg Catechism Meditations (366)

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January 17 – LD 3, Day 3: Man in the Image of God

Wednesday the 17th of January

in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations

Read: Genesis 1:26-28, Ephesians 4:20-32, Colossians 3:1-10

Our teacher is not finished with a description of the wonder and glory of our original creation. We are told that “God created us . . . after his own image, in true righteousness and holiness.”

The word “image” here means that God created us so that we were in some way like him. We could not, of course, be as glorious as he is, for we are always finite creatures and he is always the infinite God. But it does mean that in moral purity and sinlessness, we were like him, though even then in a creaturely way.

Although the narrative in Genesis 1 does not tell us specifically what elements were a part of that image, two other places in Scripture do tell us this. They both speak of how, through Christ, we are saved in such a way that the image of God is restored in us. Ephesians 5:23, 24 tells us that the restoration of the image in us is a renewal of the mind (23) and that we are to put on the new man that, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness (24).

The new man is “after God;” that is the new man is like God. We sometimes say of a young girl, “She takes after her mother.” “She is like her mother.” That likeness to God is characteristic of the new man, which is created by God. And that new man is characterized by righteousness and holiness.

Colossians 3:10 tells us that specifically, knowledge belongs to that image: “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” The text specifically says that in creating us in his image, God gave us true knowledge.

We surely were not created wicked. God made us as creatures that possessed true knowledge of him. And “knowledge” here means the same as it means in Genesis 4:1, where Adam is said to have known his wife. That is, he knew her in the most intimate knowledge of the covenant fellowship of marriage, for that knowing produced a son. Adam knew God in the covenant of fellowship in which God spoke to him in the cool of the day.

Adam’s righteousness was his perfect conformity to the will of God in all his life and activity. And Adam’s holiness was a spotless, guiltless holiness of his nature that reflected the glory of God.

He was an unsurpassed creation of God who represented God’s cause in God’s world.

That is how we were created. Consider into what a shamble we have fallen.


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