The Image of God (3)I think that Man (humanity—male and female) is in the image of God in the sense that God made Man to represent him in the earth. It isn’t that God made Man out of the same "stuff" that he is "made of". It isn’t that there are some aspects of Man (like his mind, capacity for choice, capacity for moral fellowship) reflect God’s own makeup and it’s in those aspects that Man is in the image of God. In saying that a human is in the image of God I think we’re to think of the entire person, and not just some parts of him or her.
Let me repeat, I think God made humans to function as his representative. God made Man to reflect his likeness and as Man lived before God he was to promote life, harmony and blessing. When Man did that he was fulfilling what he was made for and he was reflecting the image of the God that made him.
But in making Man, God made more than a tool or an instrument—he made a "son". Adam was a son of God (Luke 3:38). The animals were animals but Adam and Eve were sons and daughters of God. While representation is involved in imaging God there must be representation via relationship and in this case, the humans are in God’s likeness and they reflect him as sons and daughters are like and reflect a father.
The heavens (and trees and rivers and all else in creation) declare the glory of God (Psalm 19) but ruling over all these and doing it in the likeness of God was a son and a daughter. These two people (as representative of their entire family) were created to reflect as well as represent God’s likeness.
That they rebelled doesn’t change the fact that their God-given destiny, the reason they were made, was to reflect the glory of their Holy Father. That humans don’t care for God is an offence but it doesn’t alter the reason why they are here in this world as God’s creation. Whether humans recognise who and what they are does not affect God’s purpose in creating them. That they insist on dishonouring him and cheapening themselves doesn’t change what God wants for them and what he has a right to call them to. So even the humans that make themselves enemies of God are in the image of God (see Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9). That is, God created them and gave them dignity and destiny as humans so that the "image" is not in something that a human has in and of him/herself but in God’s investment in them.
It would follow, then, that choosing humans could say to God (essentially), "We acknowledge your purpose in us but we will not honour you in our lives and we refuse to reflect you in them." Nevertheless, what God purposed in creating them still stands and they will reap the results of their defiance, even as they now suffer the loss of privilege that’s involved in living to his glory!
The image of God is modelled to perfection in Jesus Christ and it is in Jesus that rebellious humans are realigned with both the heart and the purpose of the Holy Father.