The Power of Image

 Genesis 1:27-28             CEB

27 God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.”


  1. Summarize what we are doing. Last week Revelation and this week Genesis. – Bookends of the Bible.
  2. Discuss what the word image means – and how do we relate to image.
    1. Give some examples – about image – artwork – a rendition of who you are. Image also has a measure – such as huge– Amazon, A church -like a light on a hill, PGUMC, or our children are an image of us.
  3. Background on Genesis – Genesis is the first book of the Bible. It was written about 500 years before the birth of Jesus. – Tradition says it was written by Moses – but there is a lot of questions about the accuracy of that statement. Genesis is the first book of the Torah — the law of the Jewish people.  
  4. Genesis tells us — the beginning – Genesis means the beginning and the book of
    Genesis consists of stories about creation, humanity, Adam and Eve – Abraham, Noah and the movement of the Jews into Egypt.
  5. Many of us have read the first several chapters of Genesis – about God’s creation of the world and of humanity. Some people struggle with the concept that the world, as we know it today, was formed in six days – or billions of years. But regardless of your view – most people believe that God was instrumental in the creation and continues to be deeply involved in the world today.
  6. Genesis 1:27-28 “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female.”  BTW, Chapter 2 of Genesis has the Adam and Eve story and the garden story.
  7. What does it mean that humankind was created ‘in the image of God’? 
    1. It does not mean that God has two arms, two legs and a head.  Rather it is saying that our basic characteristics come from God.
    1. In the Bible God can be read as sad, hurt, angry or joyful – the same emotions that we have.  
    1. We make choices and decisions every day.  God also makes choices and decisions too.  And actually, there are passages in the Bible when God’s mind and actions was changed by pleadings from the people. There is a key verse in the book of Jonah— where God was going to destroy Nineveh because of their sinful ways and Jonah called the people to repent and they did and in Jonah 3 God changed his mind about the destruction of Nineveh.
    1. We can think and God does also. 
    1. Being ‘made in the image of God’ means that we have mind, emotions and will because God has mind, emotions and will and God created us to be like him in these ways. 
    1. God is the source of what we find in us.
  8. So, we ask ourselves, what does this phrase “in the image of God” mean to each of us?
    1. Does this mean that we are equal to God or exactly like God?  Not really!
    1. I would like to invite you to think individually about how you would answer this question: What does it mean to be created in the image of God?  
  9. The Sunday school teacher gave the children in her class free time to draw a picture. 
    1. Paper and crayons were provided, and the boys and girls went to work on their pictures. 
    1. The teacher looked over the shoulder of one of the boys in the class and saw that he was drawing an old man with long white hair and a long white beard. 
    1. Wondering if the boy was drawing Moses or perhaps Elijah, the teacher asked him just who it was that he was drawing. 
    1. The boy replied, “This is a picture of God.”  The teacher responded, “No one has ever seen God.  God is a Spirit.  No one knows what God looks like.” 
    1. The boy responded, “They will when I am finished.”
  10. We question, “What does the image of God looks like?”  What sort of image do you have of God? 
    1. How do you conceptualize the Divine Presence? The very word “image” moves us usually toward thinking of God in terms of physical attributes. 
  11. You may remember “Michelangelo’s painting of God,” that is part of our PowerPoint today — wild hair, white beard and all, stretching out his hand to Adam. 
    1. But scripture is ambivalent about conceiving of God in terms of physical attributes.
    1. We try to put human features onto God—especially in the first several chapters of Genesis – God walked in the garden – God spoke – to Adam and Eve — we call God – Him – with male characteristics – but God has characteristics that are human – both male and female.
    1. But we really think of God in terms that we may not understand –
      1. Omnipotence —The omnipotence of God refers to God being “all powerful”. Like the title “God the Father Almighty” in the Apostles’ Creed.
      1. Omnipresence — The omnipresence of God refers to him being present everywhere. In Psalm 139, David says, “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (Psalm 139:8, NIV).
      1. Om-nis-cience — The om-nis-cience of God refers to him being “all knowing”. Romans 16:27 speaks about the “only wise God”.
  12. John Wesley, the founder of Methodist church explains about the image of God in his sermon “The New Birth.” 
    1. Wesley talks about the image of God which is chiefly for the moral image, a relationship, marked by love. 
    1. Wesley says, it is “righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4: 24) in this image of God was human made. 
    1. Because God is love, we are to reflect God’s love, continually receiving it and reflecting it back to him in love, obedience, prayer, praise, works of mercy, and so on.
    1. Wesley teaches that though the image has been compromised by sin, the fact remains that all people were created to bear God’s image, and therefore all are called to experience God’s restoring grace through Jesus Christ. 
  13. We are created in the image of God. We will never lose it.  This is our identity as human beings.
    1. We are made in the image of God, which means that there is that of God in every one of us, that every one of us bears the Marker’s mark, the Maker’s image. 
    1. Any person who rejects any other person rejects not just that person but a part of God, and anyone who rejects God rejects the image of God to be found in brothers or in sisters. 
    1. Because we are created in God’s image as human beings, we are able to have fellowship both with one another and with God. 
  14. Our identity is not from what we do, or from what we have, but from whom we come. 
    1. Our identity is from whom we come: God.
    1. But we dehumanize others in order not to have to accept people and ignore them as the same creatures of a Creator God. 
  15. We see it all the time.
    1. We struggle with people who are Muslims or different races, or different gender identities thank ourselves.
    1. We struggle with people who are gay or lesbians or transgender because we do not understand them.
    1. We struggle with people who have different political views than ourselves.
    1. We struggle with people who are liberals, conservatives, atheists, far-right or far-left. 
  16. When we recognize in that diversity of human experience the presence and the image of that same God our understanding of diversity is enhanced.  God is not just nice to people other than us, God created them in His image as well.
  17. In the 19th century, America has a painful history.  The white Christian slave owners understood this truth – that we are all created in the image of God and are therefore equal – and so they had to define their slaves as less than human beings, for if they were human beings they would have to be treated them as equals, then the whole slavery system would begin to fall apart, as surely it did.  
  18. Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop of South Africa, writes:
    1.  “For Christians, who believe they are created in the image of God, it is the diversity in unity and the three-in-oneness of God, which we and all creation reflect. 
    1. Whatever our race, gender, education, and social or economic status, we are precious in God’s sight. 
    1. That worth is intrinsic to who we are, not dependent on anything external, extrinsic. 
    1. Thus there can be no superior or inferior race.
    1.  We are all of equal worth, born equal in dignity and born free, and for this reason deserving of respect whatever our external circumstances. 
    1. We are created freely for freedom of right entitled to respect, to be given personal space to be autonomous.”
  19. If we understand this, if we realize in some moment of insight or inspiration, that we are indeed a child of God,– with our white skin, yellow skin, brown skin, male or female, our part of the image of God that you intended, then you are empowered, you are liberated, bearing the image and the mark of the maker. 
  20. If we know that we are a child of God, then nothing or nobody can destroy us, either.  
  21. We treat others well because they are created in the image of God, as we are. 
  22. We expect to be treated well not because we deserve it but because the God who created us all requires it.   Ponder this – repeat it!
  23. Thanks be to God!
  24. [1] From Ministry Matters and — Crystal Springs UMC u