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What does 'in his image' mean ?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by michel, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    I am aware that a lot of Christians take the above as a literal expression; that we 'look like' God.

    I would like to suggest that this could be stretched to mean much more. Jesus Christ (Through God) performed 'miracles' whilst incarnated on Earth.

    I happen to believe in Reincarnation, and that Christ was incarnated as a 'final incarnation' a) to teach us b) to prove that he could 'cope' with any demand made on him by God.

    As far as his miracles were concerned, he healed the sick, by the laying on of hands, he raised the dead, gave sight to the blind............

    Would it be too far a stretch of the imagination that those of us (and I know there are some on this forum) who believe we can help the healing process, by the laying on of hands (could even include reflexology, Reiki, faith healing) are merely doing what we should all be able to do ? - That 'In his image' means not just the physical image, but the characteristics as well ?

    In other words, as we progress through incarnations, we become more 'God-like' ? - that wonderful people like Mother Teresa and no doubt many of whom we have never heard are (or were) in the 'final approach' stage 0f God-likeness ?
     
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  2. MdmSzdWhtGuy

    MdmSzdWhtGuy Well-Known Member

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    Michel,

    I really love you man. You take some of the traditions of the Eastern Religions, some of the Abrahamic religions, mix in an acknowledgement of naturalism and the scientific method, mix it all in a bowl full of the genuine love of mankind that Christ preached, and have come up with a personal religious expression that is very endearing, even to a skeptic like me.

    If the person upon whom hands are being laid beleives it will help him/her to heal, then I have no doubts that it can help. I don't for an instance think there is any evidence that people are reincarnated, or that we are becoming more god-like through these incarnations, but it is a very interesting thought, and while I don't think it is accurate, I certainly like the sound of it. Love the melding of the East and West in this idea.

    Frubals to you sir.

    B.
     
  3. Bangbang

    Bangbang Active Member

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    If God made man in his image,would that mean he has limitations?
     
  4. The_Evelyonian

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    That seems a little too literal

    I agree.

    Since some religions goals are to become more like their founders (Christianity and Buddhaism for instance) I think there's a very good possibility you hit the nail on the head.
     
  5. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Well, thank you, kind sir............I have always tended to be Religiously an 'oddball'; I had no teaching, no guidance, I 'sort of invented' my own religion. Glad someone hasn't laughed.:D

    God, or man ? - sorry, not too clear from your wording; God ? -no, man, yes, until he has reached the 'very close to being as God is' stage.
     
  6. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    Michel, who were some of the people he healed and what was written about the healed in various texts?
     
  7. robtex

    robtex Veteran Member

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    I second that!
     
  8. Bangbang

    Bangbang Active Member

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    Yes, I mean that God would have limitations.
     
  9. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    I don't take that as literal Michel. :)
     
  10. jonny

    jonny Well-Known Member

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    I believe it means we look like God.
     
  11. glasgowchick

    glasgowchick Gives Glory to God !!!

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    Hi Michel, taken from my new study guide the blue letter bible, maybe this will be of interest for you.

    God plans to make man in His image

    a. The use of the plural (Let Us . . . in Our image, according to Our likeness) is consistent with the idea of the Trinity, that there is One God in three Persons

    i. Leupold does a good job showing that the plurality of let Us make cannot be merely the plurality of royalty, nor can it be God speaking with and to the angels. It is a indicator of the Trinity, though not clearly spelled out

    b. An understanding of who man is begins with knowing that we are made in His image; man is different from every other order of created being, because He has a created consistency with God

    i. This means that there is an unbridgeable gap between human life and animal life; though we are biologically similar to certain animals, we are distinct in our moral, intellectual, and spiritual capabilities
    ii. This means that there is also an unbridgeable gap between human life and angelic life; nowhere are we told that the angels are made in the image of God. Angels cannot have the same kind of relationship of love and fellowship with God that we can

    iii. This means that the incarnation was truly possible; that God (in the Second Person of the Trinity) could really become man, because deity and humanity are not the same, but they are compatible

    iv. This means that human life has intrinsic value, quite apart from the "quality of life" experienced by any individual, because human life is made in the image of God


    c. What specific things in man show him to be made in the image of God?

    i. Man alone has a natural countenance that looks upward
    ii. Man alone has such a variety of facial expressions

    iii. Man alone has a sense of shame that expresses itself in a blush

    iv. Man alone speaks

    v. Man alone possesses personality, morality, and spirituality


    d. What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

    i. It means one possesses personality: knowledge, feelings, and a will. This sets man apart from all animals and plants
    ii. It means one possesses morality: we are able to make moral judgments and have a conscience

    iii. It means one possesses spirituality: man is made for communion with God; it is on the level of spirit that we communicate with God


    e. If we are made in the image of God, does God have a human body? No; God is a Spirit (John 4:24). Though God does not have a physical body, He designed man so that man's physical body could do many of the things God does - see, hear, smell, touch, speak, think, plan, and so forth

    i. "It will hardly be safe to say that the body of man is patterned after God, because God, being an incorporeal spirit, cannot have what we term a material body. Yet the body of man must at lease be regarded as the fittest receptacle for the man's spirit and so must bear at least an analogy that is so close that God and His angels choose to appear in human form when they appear to men." (Leupold)

    f. The terms for image and likeness are slightly different - image having to do more with appearance, and likeness having to do more with an abstract similarity, but they both essentially mean the same thing here.
    g. Before God ever created man, He decreed that man would have dominion over the earth; man's pre-eminence of the created order and his ability to affect his environment is no accident - it is part of God's plan for man and the earth


    i. In this sense, it is sin if man does not use this dominion responsibly, in these sense of a proper regard for stewardship on this earth
     
  12. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    For a start, http://www.jesussaid.org.uk/healing_ex.htm

    People whom Jesus Healed

    Woman with an issue of blood

    And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. Mathew 9:20-22

    Woman with a spirit of infirmity

    Luke13:11-13

    Blind Bartemeus

    And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. Mark 10:46-52

    I did a search on the Bible page I use, on the word 'healed'
    http://www.holybible.com/search/searchemall.php

    John 5:13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
    Luke 13:14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.
    Luke 9:42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.
    Luke 22:51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
    Matthew 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
    Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
    Matthew 12:15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
    Matthew 15:30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:
     
  13. Fluffy

    Fluffy A fool

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    I believe that everything you said in your post is true Michel.

    I would say that the passage means that we are equal in potential to God. I find that the normal way of expressing this is that we become one with God upon realising our potential but I dislike this for two reasons 1) it seems to do us a disservice and 2) it implies a lack of diversity.
     
  14. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    Good post michel. I agree with what you are saying. Not sure about the "Final incarnation" deal. But what you discuss about the meaning of "in his image" rings true to me. I think people who believe it actually means that we look like him are missing the entire message.
     
  15. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    On the contrary, I think that very few Christians believe that we look like God. To the best of my knowledge, the Latter-day Saints are the only ones who do.

    Why would you want to stretch it? :D

    Well, I think that "image" means "image" and "attributes" means "attributes." Certainly we have some divine attributes, but we are also created "in His image." And that means we resemble Him physically. The word "image" means the representation of physical qualities. It is not a synomyn for attributes, as much as people would like to think it is.

    I don't know whether you remember or not, but there was a discussion on this topic awhile back. It was pretty much me versus every other Christian on the forum. I wore them all down. It took awhile, but the Biblical evidence is definitely on my side! ;)

    I don't believe in reincarnation, but I do believe that our spirit is eternal and definitely can, if given sufficient time, progress to become godlike. As an LDS Prophet once put it, "We are gods in embryo."
     
  16. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    Yet another post that is frubal worthy.

    I believe that we came from God and Goddess, and we posses some of thier characteristics, such as the healing. I am undecided on whether or not there is a "final incarnation" for a soul, but there is a point, I believe, when it is no longer neccessary.
     
  17. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays Well-Known Member

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    What does "in His image" mean/ It can't be a physical image since we know nothing of the appearance of God. One man's appearance may differ widely from another's, and what about a woman's appearance?

    If physical appearance is not what is meant what IS meant?

    George Townshend is one of my favorite Baha`i authors. Before he was a Baha`i, he was the Arch Deacon of Conflert in the Irish Church, and had served many years as a Christian pastor.
    He wrote this in The Heart of the Gospel
    "The
    Bible offers in the course of its narrative illustrations of
    a thousand diverse demands that duty may make on men. It gives
    particular and exact advice in many special cases. But
    whatever the circumstances may be and whether the emergency
    be great or small, the purpose and the essence of the effort
    that is required remain the same.
    The object of all this struggle and endeavour is to draw out
    those high powers which lie folded away and hidden within the
    soul of every man as a rose is folded within the bud; to let
    the Divine Image in man's heart shine forth in its splendour;
    to become (so far as a human being may) godlike; and thus to
    co-operate with the evolutionary Force, with the spiritual
    impulse imparted to mankind by God.
    That Heavenly Image is no material likeness; it occupies no
    space. It is a reflection of God as God is revealed to man;
    it is a reflection of those properties which are what we know
    of God, such as love, compassion, kindness, generosity, mercy,
    pity, faithfulness. These in their sum comprise our vision of
    God, and they are the elements which make up the Image graven in the human heart.
    (George Townshend, The Heart of the Gospel, p. 28)

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  18. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Hi, Scott.

    Funny meeting you here. Didn't we just finish debating this very topic a few weeks back? :D

    Of course you know that I disagree with your conclusions. How can you say we know nothing of the appearance of God? For starters, we can look at Genesis 5:3 for a major clue:

    "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth..."

    Adam had a son who was in his own likeness and image. In short, he resembled him. If you were to read Genesis 5:3, having never read Genesis 1:26 ("And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...") don't tell me you wouldn't agree with me. If I told you my son is the "spitten' image" of his father, I'll bet you'd think they look alot alike. The wording in Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 5:3 is virtually identical. Why even try to get around it?

    In the New Testament, we are told that Jesus Christ is "in the express image of His [Father's] person." And you're going to try to tell me that the Father isn't in the image of a person at all? After Christ's resurrection, Stephen saw Him sitting on the right hand side of His Father. I guess we're supposed to assume that this account, like all the others, doesn't really mean that he saw two physically distinct, identifiable beings? You just keep saying that "image" means something other than what we both know it means. I just don't buy that.

    As to people differing widely in appearance, and men differing from women, would you recognize a pygmy as a human being? Sure, we're all different, but "in His image and likeness" doesn't need to mean we're all clones. It simply means that we all have a human appearance.

    Kathryn
     
  19. Nehustan

    Nehustan Well-Known Member

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    I take that this phrase means that man was created as 'Jahweh/IHVH(Male/Female/Male/Female). If Jahweh is the logos expanded into Jehesuah by the Ruach Elohim, then the first Adam was made in the image of the logos as was the second. All however proceed from Eloah, Ain Soph Aur as it were, which is beyond 'image'. It is in this way that some quarters consider the 'worship' of Jahweh as a subtle form of Idolotry, worship of the word rather than worship of the one from whom the word proceeds.
     
  20. maggie2

    maggie2 Active Member

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    To me, 'in his image' means that we are made in his 'spiritual' image, not a physical image. In other words, we have the spiritual potential to become one with God. The Bible continually reminds us that 'I can do all things...", "You are children of God", "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed...", etc. etc. In other words, you have the spiritual potential to do whatever you desire if you believe you can. This is what I think 'in his image' means.
     
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