I haven’t forgotten that a couple of days ago I said that there were two important things about being alive that we wanted to learn from Genesis. We are exploring the first one: to be alive is to image God. Soon we will begin to explore the second, but there is still more to learn about imaging.
But first let’s review for a second:
- God made us in his image.
- To image God is to make the invisible God visible.
- To image God is to have impact in this world.
- We can’t fully understand imaging God without understanding Christ.
If we want to understand what “To live is Christ” means, we need to continue to pursue the meaning of life itself. This has been our journey so far.
We already said that to image God is to have impact. But let’s keep exploring this idea.
Genesis 2:15. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work [take care of] it and keep [protect] it.
Let me ask you to think about this question: Have you ever felt truly alive by taking care of something or someone or by protecting something or someone?
Well that’s exactly how God wants us to feel.
Do you feel it? Or are you bored, boring, or burnt out?
Taking care of and protecting the garden- this is what Jesus is restoring in and through us. He doesn’t want us to live dead inside. He wants us to find life, love, and purpose in the garden in which he has placed us. He came to wake us up and bring us back to life.
To live is Christ. Therefore, we’ve been exploring what it means to be alive. To be human. Eventually we will dive deep into living from Christ’s life united to our life, but for now we are still setting our foundations.
The human person is made in the image of God. We are created not creator. We are not just rational animals.
When we begin to connect what it means to be alive and to be human to Christ, we begin to see that Jesus didn’t come to simply “save” us from sin or hell. He came to make us human again. As Paul would teach us, our justification is the restoration of our humanity (the new creation).
In fact all of Genesis’ talk about being in the image of God is actually quite foreign to us. Why? Because none of us has ever really achieved it. No person has ever fully imaged God. We are made in the image of God, but do we image God? Sin prevents it.
So we need to go beyond the creation narratives of Genesis 1-2 to understand true humanity. Righteousness in Christ is what allows us to be fully human. Genesis tells us the ORIGIN of humanity, but it fails to tell us the END of humanity. Only Christ can tell us that. Righteousness is the essence of humanity. The end goal. And this righteousness is made possible only by the MAN Christ Jesus.
That is where this blog is headed- from creation to Christ. Won’t you stay with me this year as we progress in this journey together?
In our journey to understand Christ as our life we have been trying first to understand what life is. God is the creator of life and all life flows from him. To be alive is to image God. To be alive is to flow from God as the Source.
The Source of Life: In future posts I will use this heading when we are talking about God and Christ as our source of life.
The Signs of Life: and I will use this heading when we are talking about our response.
The Source of Life:
Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God…
God is the source of all life. Plant life. Animal life. Angelic life. Human life. He is life. The fact that we image God proves that we are not the source or goal of life…we are a reflection of true life.
The Signs of Life:
Genesis 1:26. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion…
One of the primary signs of life is dominion. Impact. Representative rule. We visibly represent the invisible God on the earth. As humans we have authority over creation. We are to impact all of creation for the good.
Psalm 8:5-6. Yet you have made man a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
To be alive is to have purpose. To be alive is to be a steward of all that God has made.
God has placed all that he has made under the authority of mankind. And the Man, Jesus, is the human under which all things in creation have been placed. Therefore when we say that “To live is Christ,” or that we live from the indwelling life of Christ, a big part of this is impact or dominion.
Jesus came to restore this impact, dominion, and representative rule in us because we have messed it up so terribly with our sin.
We are on a journey to understand life. To understand what it means to have life- not just natural life, but supernatural life. The life of Jesus Christ in us.
We have started our journey at the beginning. God gave us life. But what does it mean to live? To be alive? Yesterday we said that it means to image God. Soon we will look at the specifics of what this might mean. But before we do, we have to say one more important thing about being image bearers.
Being an image bearer means that we do not define ourselves. We do not self identify or self actualize, or find self fulfillment. Rather our identity is found in God. He defines us. He fulfills us. He actualizes us. He is our meaning. He is our life.
Exodus 3:14. God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”
You see only God is “I Am.” Only he is self defined. Only he is transcendent above all others. Everything else (including us) flows from him. We have to be defined and given meaning, identity, and purpose from outside of ourselves- from God.
And THAT is life. That is the life that Jesus came to restore to us.
Romans 8:29. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.
Philippians 1:21. For to me, to live is Christ…
We are on a journey this year to understand what this means: “To live is Christ.” But before we get deep into how Christ affects our life, we want to continue to go back to the beginning and understand what life is exactly.
There are still at least two important ideas from Genesis that we need to flesh out. Here’s the first:
Genesis 1:26. let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
To be alive is to image God. The image of God or Imago Dei has been stamped onto every human being. Every person bears God’s image, including you. God didn’t just create us, he created us to reflect him. Nothing else in creation can boast this.
The purpose and meaning of life is for you to image God. To make the invisible God visible.
The word for image in Genesis 1:26 is the same word that is used throughout the Old Testament for an idol. We are the physical reflection of God on the earth. Or at least we are supposed to be. Why are idols forbidden by God? Because God is the only god, and we (humans) are supposed to be the only idols of God.
How does all of this connect to Jesus Christ?
1 Corinthians 15:49. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
Jesus Christ is both God and the image of God. He is God and human. And he is the one that will restore us to the image bearers we were intended to be.
We still have a long way to go, but I hope you’ll keep coming back as we explore together how the life of Christ in us restores the image of God in us.
We are on a journey to understand what it means to live from the life of Christ. But before we can really understand our union with Christ we have to go back to the beginning and try to understand life itself.
Genesis 2:9. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden…
How do we know that God wants us to live? And to live beyond just this natural life that we all live every day? Beyond mere biology, and chemistry and neurology?
Because he planted a Tree of Life in the garden. And it was good.
Genesis 1:21. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
God breathed life into mankind, but beyond that he made a Tree of Life. This tree offered humanity something beyond natural biological life. It offered supernatural eternal life.
God really wants you to have this same life. Do you believe this? That he has an amazing life that he wants to offer to you? The life of Jesus himself.
John 14:6. Jesus said to him, “I am..the life.”
No, there is not a Tree of Life growing anywhere today for us to eat from. But there is a Person of life. And union with him offers you a life beyond this life!
Genesis 2:7. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…
God wants us to live. He made us to be alive. Fully alive.
Sometimes I don’t feel alive. Do you ever feel this way? Like you’re numb? Or just out of it? Or even worse..dying? Like life is passing you by or running you over?
God never intended for us to live like that. He wants us to have life from his very own life. Our life comes from his breath.
Take a deep breath.
Breathing is keeping you alive. And every breath comes from God. But still we’re only talking about physical life. Let’s go deeper. God wants you to breathe his breath. His divine life. His holiness and love.
What are you breathing in today?
John 20:22. And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”