Given the normal meanings of “image” and “likeness” in the cultural and linguistic setting of the Old Testament and the ancient Near East, “likeness” specifies a relationship between God and humans such that ’ādām can be described as the son of God, and “image” describes a relationship between God and humans such that ’ādām can be described as a servant king. Although both terms specify the divine-human relationship, the first focuses on the human in relation to God and the second focuses on the human in relation to the world. These would be understood to be relationships characterised by faithfulness and loyal love, obedience and trust—exactly the character of relationships specified by covenants after the Fall. In this sense the divine image entails a covenant relationship between God and humans on the one hand, and between humans and the world on the other.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Image and likeness
There has been much study and discussion about what it means to be made in God's image. Surely this is a concept that we will continue to study, develop, and grasp until the current world is no more. Wellum and Gentry, in their masterful book Kingdom Through Covenant, add some helpful points to the concept of image and likeness to God: