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THE IMAGE OF GOD -
RUINED AND RESTORED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, May 5, 2002


"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26).


This verse begins with the three Persons in the Trinity speaking with each other. "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." There is only one God, but He exists in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christ said that we must baptize those who are converted, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). When Christ Himself was baptized, all three Persons of the blessed Trinity were active. The Son was baptized. The Holy Spirit descended upon Him. And the Father spoke audibly (Matthew 3:16-17). The Persons of the Trinity spoke about creating man in their image and likeness. Now I want us to learn three things about man's image and likeness to God.

I. The original image and likeness.

Here in Genesis 1:26 the Persons of the Trinity spoke to each other concerning the creation of the first man. Notice that the Trinity spoke of man's creation. The first human did not evolve, but was rather a product of a direct act of creation by Almighty God. "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). The Lord Jesus Christ confirmed this fact, which was recorded twice by the Holy Spirit in the gospels:

"God made them male and female" (Mark 10:6).

"Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?" (Matthew 19:4).

Christ believed that our first parents were created by God, and said so. The Holy Spirit believed that they were directly created by God, so He recorded what Christ said twice, in Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6. What better witness can we have than Christ and the Holy Spirit? Both of them were eyewitnesses to the creation of the first human! They said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26).

Young person, your old drug-brained college teacher may say that man evolved, and was not created. But that old Hippie college teacher wasn't there. He wasn't an eyewitness! Christ and the Holy Spirit were eyewitnesses! They said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"! It is always wiser to believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit rather than a brain-dead, drug-addicted, ancient Hippie college teacher!

Now focus on the words "image" and "likeness" - "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). The word "image" in Hebrew is "tselem." It means "a copy" (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words) or "image, semblance [i.e. appearance, form]" (Brown, Driver and Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon). We therefore take it that this word means that God made man as "a copy" of Himself in some way.

Then, notice the word "likeness" at the end of Genesis 1:26, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." The Hebrew word is "demooth," and it means "modeled after," "shaped after" (Strong's Concordance) or "resembling" (Brown, Driver and Briggs).

Putting these two words "image" and "likeness" together, we discover that man was created as "a copy" of God, and "resembled" God.

Man resembled God by the function of his mind, or soul. When the Bible speaks of the soul, it is speaking of your mind. The mind has intellect, emotion and will. You think. You feel. You decide. God thinks. God feels. God decides.

Man also resembled God by having a spirit. I Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12 make a clear distinction between the soul and the spirit. The soul is that part of you that thinks, feels and decides. The human spirit has two functions: (1) to know right from wrong [conscience], and (2) to know God [spiritual understanding]. By the human spirit man knows right from wrong, and man knows spiritual things. By his soul and spirit man resembled God.

But man also has a physical body. And so does God, in the Person of the incarnate Son.

So, in these ways man resembled God. Man was "modeled after" God, and was "a copy" of God.

"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"

(Genesis 1:26).

II. The ruined image and likeness.

When our first parents rebelled against God and sinned, the entire human race was ruined and poisoned. The Bible says:

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin…" (Romans 5:12).

Again, we are told,

"By one man's disobedience many were made sinners"

(Romans 5:19).

The guilt of sin was put on our record and the poison of sin permeated our genes.

The beautiful image of God in man was defiled. God-consciousness was darkened. The knowledge of right and wrong was blurred. Even the mind of man was affected, particularly in the area of man's will. Man was no longer fully capable of making rational decisions, at least not with the full power of the intellect and will.

Adam represented all mankind. When he sinned as our representative, his sin was charged to our record as human beings. As a result we are all born in a corrupted, ruined state.

Dr. Louis Berkhof correctly says:

Man is by nature totally depraved…sin has corrupted every part of his nature and rendered him unable to do any spiritual good. He [man] may still do many praiseworthy things in relation to his fellow-beings, but even his best works are radically defective, because they are not prompted by love to God nor done in obedience to God (Louis Berkhof, Ph.D., A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Banner of Truth, 1997, p. 70).

Thus, the Bible teaches that the human race is ruined. No one has the perfect image of God operating within him. The image is smashed. The copy is smeared with the blackness and dirt of sin. The likeness is defaced.

La Pieta is probably the most beautiful and exquisite work of art ever done by a human being. Mary holds the dead body of her son Jesus. Michelangelo brought forth figures from cold marble that look like they are made of flesh and bone. Yet a demon-driven Moslem took a hammer and destroyed the face of Mary before the guards could stop him.

That is a small picture of what sin did to the human race. It defiled and broke the image of God in man.

Now, man does not know God, and he does not even want to know God! The Bible says so:

"There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:11).

Left to himself, not a single person will ever understand God or seek God. Why? Because the image of God within man has been polluted and ruined by sin, both inherited and committed personally.

You may think that this is an incredibly negative view of mankind, and it is. But it is also a very realistic view of man's nature. I have never known a single person in my entire life who was really searching for God. I have known religious people, but I have never known anyone who was actually searching for God.

Look at the newspaper and you will see that this is true. Moslems kill Jews. But almost no one from either of these religions ever comes to Christ and gets saved. Century after century they grind on and on in sin. Only very, very occasionally is anyone saved. In several Arab nations there is not even one church - and not even one saved person. In many families generation after generation of people go to Hell - without even one of them seeking God. Yes, the newspapers validate the truthfulness of the Bible on the total depravity of man.

Look at your school and you will see that mankind is depraved. In every class you take at college the Bible will be ridiculed and God will be mocked. You will never find a college professor in a secular college who defends the Bible and tells his students to believe in Christ. Yet thousands of these college teachers will tell you that drugs are good, that it's good to kill babies. "It's a woman's right to kill a baby," they will say. They will tell you that the Constitution gives women the right to kill babies. "It's a woman's choice, whether she should kill a baby or not," they will say. They will tell you that it's good to have sex without marriage. They will say that sex perversion is normal and good. They will also tell you that Christianity is bad, that it has harmed people, and that you are better off without it. Isn't that what they say to you at college? So, I say that your college itself shows the total depravity, the complete degeneracy of mankind.

Then, look at your own family. Are they seeking God? Does your father pray and read the Bible to you every day? Do they go to church every Sunday? Do they think about God? Do they talk about Jesus? I know without asking that those of you young people whose parents aren't in this church never hear your father read the Bible or pray. You almost never see your father and mother going to church. They never talk about Jesus or think about God. Yet, when you come to this church and begin to get serious about Christianity, they become furious. They speak evil of the church and hurl insults at us. They try to get you to go to another church, where the Bible is not taken seriously. They make fun of you, and even threaten you. Many young people have been kicked out of their own homes for becoming serious Christians. That will happen to you! They will mock and ridicule and threaten you if you get serious about God. So, I say that your own family shows the total depravity of man. The ruined spiritual nature of mankind can be seen in the lives of your father and mother, your brothers and sisters!

"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"

(Genesis 1:26).

What a terrible, sad plight the human race is in. The image of God was stamped on our hearts, but it has been defiled, polluted, and ruined by sin, so that "even their mind and conscience is defiled" (Titus 1:15).

That's why God isn't real to you. It's not because you are so smart! Oh, no! It's because there is something wrong with you! You have been ruined and polluted by sin. Your consciousness of God has been darkened by your sin, so that your sinful, ruined heart doesn't believe in God - or isn't sure about God. There is something wrong with you inside - and you live in the midst of thousands of people who have something wrong with them. You are part of a ruined race, and you are ruined yourself. The image of God within you has been destroyed by sin. But that brings me to the third point.

III. The restored image and likeness of God.

The three Persons of the Trinity said:

"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"

(Genesis 1:26).

And so they did make man in the image and likeness of God. But man rebelled against God and sinned. This ruined the image of God within him, and also within all of his offspring and posterity. You can see the proof of this every day in the newspaper. You can see the proof of this every day on your college campus. You can see the proof of this every day in your own family - if you are not from this church. The proof of the ruined image of God in totally depraved man is all around us - all the time!

But God loved ruined mankind. That's why God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the Cross - to pay the penalty for your sins. That's why Jesus rose from the dead and ascended up into Heaven, where He is now seated on the right hand of God. Jesus can bring you back to God and restore the broken and ruined image of God within you.

This restoration comes about through an experience that the Bible calls "conversion." Jesus said:

"Except ye be converted…ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

Conversion usually happens like this. First, you are awakened. You see that the world is false and hopeless. You come to church. You see that it is right to be in church every Sunday. And you begin to think there is a Hell to avoid and a Heaven to gain. You begin to think about Jesus Christ sometimes. That is the beginning of awakening.

Second, you become convinced of your sin. This may not happen for a long, long time - although it may happen quite suddenly. You become convinced that you have sinned. This troubles you deeply. You also become convinced that you have a sinful, ruined nature - such as I described in this sermon. You heard it all before, but now you become convinced that it is true. This makes you give up all hope of saving yourself.

Third, after many dodges and attempts to save yourself, you finally see that it is no use. Then, and only then, will you rest on Jesus and be saved by Him alone - without works!

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

At that point, you are converted and the spiritual image of God is restored within you. That's why Jesus said:

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

It doesn't just mean in the future. It means right now. Unless you are converted and born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. You must be born again for the image of God to be restored. Then you will see the reality of God and His Kingdom. That's why Christ said, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).


(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 1:26-28.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Ye Must Be Born Again" (by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

THE OUTLINE OF

THE IMAGE OF GOD -
RUINED AND RESTORED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26).

(Matthew 28:19; Matthew 3:16-17).

I.   The original image and likeness, Mark 10:6;
Matthew 19:4; (cf. I Thessalonians 5:23;
Hebrews 4:12).

II.  The ruined image and likeness, Romans 5:12;
Romans 5:19; Romans 3:11; Titus 1:15.

III. The restored image and likeness, Matthew 18:3;
Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:3; John 3:7.