Made in the Image and Likeness of the Creator

Potter working with clay

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 NIV

Throughout the ancient Near East, an image was believed to contain the essence of that which it represented. That essence equipped the image to carry out its function. In Egyptian literature, there is one occurrence of people in general having been created in the image of a deity, but it is generally the king who is spoken of in such terms. The image is the source of his power and prerogative.

In Mesopotamia there are three categories of significance.

  1. As in Egypt, the king is occasionally described as being in the image of deity.
  2. An idol contained the image of the deity.
  3. Monuments featuring the image of a king were set up in territories he had conquered.

In an image, it was not physical likeness that was important, but a more abstract, idealized representation of identity relating to the office/role and the value connected to the image. When Assyrian king Esarhaddon is referred to as “the perfect likeness of the god,” it is his qualities and his attributes that are under discussions. The image of the god did the God’s work on earth.

The Biblical view is similar as people were created in the image of God, embodying his qualities and doing his work. They are symbols of his presence and act on his behalf as his representatives. The two words used in the text differ in nuance, “Image” refers to the something that contains the “essence” or something else, while “likeness” is more connected to “substance,” expressing a resemblance at some level.

What characteristics of God come to mind when you think of being created in his likeness?

Bible Study

More
  • a saving faith

    A Saving Faith

    What does saving faith in Jesus Christ look like? The... Read more
  • What is the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

    What is the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible?

    Many people have found the Thompson Chain-Reference... Read more
  • Jesus: the Eternal Word

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word... Read more

Comfort

More
  • Contentment

    As humans, we are not often satisfied. That is because... Read more
  • Encounter God Through Journaling His Word

    Journaling your thoughts, insights, and prayers as you... Read more
  • Be Thankful for Jesus, the God-Man

    As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, only one... Read more

Devotional Reading Plans

More
  • a saving faith

    A Saving Faith

    What does saving faith in Jesus Christ look like? The... Read more
  • What is Scripture Engagement?

    Scripture Engagement is more than just a regular Bible... Read more
  • The Legacy of Studying God’s Word | NIV Verse Mapping Bibles

    Verse-mapping is a technique of studying the Bible... Read more

Prayer

More
  • A Top 100 Most-Asked Question About the Bible for the New Year

    Many people who read the Bible don't understand what... Read more
  • teach your children to pray for others

    Teach Your Children to Pray for Others

    This study from the NIV Adventure Bible can help you... Read more
  • Scripture Engagement Practice Picture It

    Scripture Engagement Practice: Picture It

    Picture it, one of the practices found in the abide... Read more

SpeakLight

More
  • Romans 8:28 SpeakLight Danny Gokey

    Romans 8:28 / #SpeakLight / Danny Gokey

    And we know that all things work together for good to... Read more
  • James 5:16 - Steven Malcolm

    James 5:16 / #SpeakLight / Steven Malcolm

    Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for... Read more
  • 2 corinthians 5:17 phil joel

    2 Corinthians 5:17 with Phil Joel

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new... Read more

Spiritual Growth

More
  • a saving faith

    A Saving Faith

    What does saving faith in Jesus Christ look like? The... Read more
  • Jesus: the Eternal Word

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word... Read more
  • who really was jesus

    Who really was Jesus?

    The author of the book of Hebrews explained, using... Read more

Topical Reading Plans

More
  • What is the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

    What is the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible?

    Many people have found the Thompson Chain-Reference... Read more
  • who really was jesus

    Who really was Jesus?

    The author of the book of Hebrews explained, using... Read more
  • The Legacy of Studying God’s Word | NIV Verse Mapping Bibles

    Verse-mapping is a technique of studying the Bible... Read more