CREATING MAN IN HIS IMAGE
The council of the Divine Trinity was concerned directly with the four great matters in the Bible: the economy of God, the dispensing of God, the mingling of God with the believers, and the corporate expression of God. According to Genesis 1:26-27, God “mobilized” His Trinity for the creation of man. The Bible does not say that while the Father was creating, the Son was standing and watching, and the Spirit was not doing anything. It was not so! Even before the creation of man, the three of the Divine Trinity were all present, and the Triune God said to Himself, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” This is very meaningful.
We should not take things for granted when reading the Bible. When we come to Genesis 1:27, we should question and try to find out what “image” means. The truth of the Bible is rich and many-sided, so it is not easy to answer this question clearly. In brief, God’s image refers to what God is inwardly. What man is, is mostly in his mind, emotion, and will. these three parts are all inward. God created us according to what He is intrinsically.
God Creating Man according to His Attributes—Love, Light, Holiness, and Righteousness
The image of God includes not only His being but also His attributes, the characteristics of His nature. According to the entire Bible, the attributes of God include love, light, holiness, and righteousness. The characteristics of a lawmaker are revealed through the laws he makes. in other words, the kind of laws a person makes express the kind of person he is. If you ask a bank robber to make laws, he will surely legalize bank robbery because he considers it something that deserves sympathy and compassion. Likewise, the Ten Commandments were enacted by God according to His own attributes. According to our study of the Ten Commandments, we can summarize them in four words: love, light, holiness, and righteousness. these four items are God’s attributes.
According to His attributes of love, light, holiness, and righteousness, God created man with a conscience of morality and a concept of morality. Man is not a beast, for within man there is patience, brightness, holiness, and righteousness. This is why the Chinese have the saying: “Justice is inherent in man’s heart.” This indicates that righteousness and justice are not acquired by learning; rather, they are inherent in man. For example, when you buy something and the cashier gives you back too much change, you may be very happy, but even without being told, you know that this is not right. this is the inherent sense of righteousness. There is not such a sense in cats, dogs, and monkeys. They steal food without knowing that it is improper. However, if you steal food, even if it is your favorite food, you know within that it is not right to steal. What is this? This is the function of the conscience, which was created for us by God according to His attributes.
The faculties of our mind, emotion, and will, which constitute what we are, were created according to God’s intrinsic being. Moreover, human beings delight in love, light, holiness, and righteousness because we were created in this way according to God’s attributes. When God’s attributes are expressed through us, they become our human virtues. Therefore, when the Chinese sages discussed the conscience, eventually they spoke about the “bright virtue,” indicating that within man there is something bright and good. This is the conscience. Hence, we can say that God created man according to His love, light, holiness, and righteousness.
(The Economy of God and the Mystery of the Transmission of the Divine Trinity, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)