II. MAN BEING CREATED
A. By the Triune God—
the Father, the Son, and the Spirit
Man was created by the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (Matt. 28:19). Genesis 1:26 says, "And God said, Let us make man." Elohim, translated God in this verse, is a plural noun in Hebrew, implying the Divine Trinity.
B. In Their (Inward) Image
Man was created by the Triune God in Their (inward) image. This image is Christ the Son as the expression of the invisible God in the essence of His attributes, such as love, light, holiness, and righteousness (2 Cor. 4:4b; Col. 1:15a).
The image of God refers to the inward image of the essence of God. Christ the Son is the image of the Triune God. He is the expression of the invisible God. God is invisible, yet He has an image, and this image is Christ the Son as the expression of the invisible God in the essence of His attributes. God’s attributes refer to His characteristics. God is love (1 John 4:16), God is light (1:5), God is holy, and God is righteous. Eventually, God is also holiness and righteousness. God has many other attributes, including mercy and kindness, as well as power, strength, and might.
In our speaking concerning this matter, we need to be careful to distinguish between attributes and virtues. If we are not careful, we may use these terms in a wrong way. An attribute denotes the very element or essence of something that has not yet been expressed. When an attribute is expressed, it becomes a virtue. Strictly speaking, as men, we do not have the attributes of love, light, holiness, and righteousness. The true attributes of love, light, holiness, and righteousness are of God and belong to God. But when God became a man to live on this earth, the attributes of God were expressed in human virtues. The attributes are of divinity, but the expressed virtues are through humanity. Thus, the expressed attributes are virtues, and the hidden essence and element of the virtues are the attributes.
The Triune God is a constitution of all His attributes. The totality of all the divine attributes is God’s inward essence. This inward essence needs an expression. The expression of the inward essence of God is His image, and this image is embodied in Christ. All the fullness of the Godhead is embodied in Christ (Col. 2:9). Christ as the image of God is the expression of the essence of God’s attributes, which are His very being. According to this image and in this image, man was made in Christ by the Triune God.
All human beings bear the expression, the image, of God. God is love, and we also have a kind of love. Our love is a copy of God’s love. God’s love is the real love, and our love is a photograph of God’s love. Human beings are pictures, figures, or photographs of God in His attributes. God is also light. We as human beings also have some amount of light. We also like light and hate to be in the dark. When we do something in darkness, we do not like to let people know. But when we do something in the light, we surely like people to see that we are bright and of the light. We also like to be holy; that is, we do not like to be common. We like to be separated from the common things. We also like to be righteous and to do things right. We do not like to cheat people, even though at times we may steal from others because of our fallen nature. Even before we were saved, we all liked to be loving, bright, holy, and righteous. In our nature we wanted to love our parents, yet very often we did not. We realized that this was not good. This proves that we have a copy of God’s attributes. Hence, we bear God’s image.
(The Central Line of the Divine Revelation, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)