MAN BEING IN GOD’S IMAGE TO EXPRESS THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES OF LOVE, LIGHT, HOLINESS, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
Genesis 1:26 is one of the most significant verses in the entire Bible, especially in the Old Testament. After God created the heavens and the earth, He said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” “Let us” indicates that there was a conversation among the divine Trinity—the Father, Son, and Spirit—concerning the creation of man. This verse conveys a great mystery. The booklet The Mystery of Human Life stresses the mystery in Genesis 1:26 very much. The mystery of human life is that man is made in the image of God and according to His likeness. Image denotes what God is, and likeness denotes a kind of form.
Man was made in the image of what God is. God in His nature is Spirit (John 4:24), whereas God in His image is love, light, holiness, and righteousness. A gold ring in nature is gold, but in its image it is a ring. God being Spirit refers to His nature, and God being love, light, holiness, and righteousness refers to His image.
In the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments are a portrait of what God is, a portrait of the One who gave the law. The laws used in most of human society today are based upon Roman law. Roman law is primarily based upon the Ten Commandments. The elements which constitute the Ten Commandments are love, light, holiness, and righteousness. These four elements are the attributes of God’s image. God in His image is love, light, holiness, and righteousness. Therefore, when God made man in His image, God made man in love, in light, in holiness, and in righteousness. Human beings, whether Christians or non-Christians, have the character of love, light, holiness, and righteousness. No one likes to be dark; everyone likes to be in the light. No one likes to be so common; everyone likes to be different or unique. No one likes to be wrong; everyone likes to be right. Animals do not have this kind of character, but we human beings do.
Through Adam’s fall, these items of our human character were spoiled by the evil one when he entered into us. Because of this, there is often a battle within us. On the one hand, we love our parents, but when we lose our temper, we may become angry with them. This is the battle. We like to be honest, but often, when certain circumstances are present, we may lie. Though at times we win the battle, often we are not strong enough in our fallen nature to stand against the negative elements. In Romans 7:19-20 Paul said, “The good which I will, I do not; but the evil I do not will, this I practice. But if what I do not will, this I do, it is no longer I that do it but sin that dwells in me.” Sin is personified, taking action like a person within us.
Through God’s salvation we were put into God, and God also entered into us. Now within us there is a mingling of divinity with humanity. A glove with a hand as its content is one with the hand. The hand and the glove have become one entity. The hand is inside of the glove, and the glove is outside of the hand. The glove expresses the hand, and the hand strengthens and empowers the glove, making the glove so real. This is the Christian life. As Christians we must remember that we are complicated people. We are people who have been mingled with the divine Person, making us one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). Although it is true to say that Christ is our content and we are His expression, our relationship with Christ is even deeper and higher than this. We have been mingled together with Christ. This is like grafting, in which a branch of one tree grows and lives together with another tree (Rom. 11:24).
The Christian life is the mingling of divinity with humanity. When we love, we must love by our love with God’s love as its content and reality. Apparently, it is only human love; actually, it is the divine love. It is not only the divine love as the content with the human love as its appearance, but also the divine love mingled with the human love so that these two loves become one love. Thus, it is hard to say whether it is the human love or the divine love. In Philippians 4:8 the human love is contained in the six items of truthfulness, honor, rightness, purity, loveliness, and being well-spoken of, and the divine love is expressed in the last item, praise.
The practical mingling of divinity with humanity is carried out by the traffic described in verse 6. We must come to God by prayer often. This is the reason the New Testament tells us to pray unceasingly (1 Thes. 5:17). To pray is to breathe God in. To pray is also to have a traffic between us and God. This two-way traffic is our union, communion, and fellowship. The current of electricity is its traffic, communion, or fellowship. Without the current of electricity, we could not enjoy the operation of electrical appliances such as lights. It is the same between us and God. Within us there must always be traffic, a current, between us and God. When we stop praying, the traffic stops. Then whatever we do is something in ourselves without God. When we pray unceasingly, keeping ourselves in the current, the fellowship, the communion, the traffic, we enjoy the mingling of divinity with humanity. Then as we exercise our love, we express God’s love. Our love is our virtue mingled with God’s love, God’s attribute. We then become a mingled entity, a God-man, having divinity mingled with our humanity.
(The Experience and Growth in Life, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)