In this video, we look at ourselves – how God made us, what we are like, and the ways in which we are in God’s image. We’ll also look at how God created Eve.
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the MP4 version of this video.
Leader’s Guide for group study
This Group Study Guide contains three questions, with Bible passages to read, together with some notes to help the group leader to guide the discussion.
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the PDF version of this Leader’s Guide.
1We have personality. Like God, we are personal beings. We have personality – that is, mind, heart and will. We have a mind – we can learn and think. We have a heart – we express emotions. But in the Bible, the heart is more than just the seat of our emotions. It’s the innermost control centre of our personality. And each of us has a will – that is, the capacity to make choices and decisions. And so we’re responsible for our actions.
2We have moral capacity. We also reflect God in that we know what’s right and wrong.
3We communicate. Like God, we’re able to communicate – by speaking, writing, or other ways.
4We are creative. God is creative, and so are we. We can’t create out of nothing, as God can. But we can create things out of what already exists. And we can procreate – children in our own image.
5We have imagination. We reflect God, too, in being imaginative, inventive, and artistic.
6We have an aesthetic sense. We’re like God in being able to recognise and enjoy beauty.
7We’re able to love. At the heart of our Triune God’s nature is love. God is love (1 John 4.8,16). Love is at the very root of His Divine Being. Because God made us in His image, at the very core of our human nature is the capacity for love. Jesus said this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22.37-39). We are relational beings. We find our true fulfilment and greatest joy in loving other people and, above all, in loving God. We’re only truly human – as God intended us to be – as we enjoy vibrant, loving relationships with God, and with our fellow human beings.
How does God value us? Because we bear God’s image, we have value and dignity. We’re very precious to God. The writer Derek Prince wrote this: “For more than fifty years, I have tried to help people with innumerable problems in their lives. Eventually, I have come to a surprising conclusion: our basic problem as human beings is that we do not realize how valuable we are.” Jesus said: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16.26 NIV). Jesus asks us to compare our souls – our ‘selves’ – against “the whole world”, or what one writer describes as: “all the world’s wealth, power, pleasure, glory, . . . all enjoyments, all achievements, all satisfactions.” And Jesus tells us that each individual person is far more valuable than all of this!
How do other people often value themselves and others? Other people often value themselves and other people by such criteria as looks, fashion sense, popularity, work role, income, titles, achievements, fame. Discuss how valid these criteria actually are. How should we, in fact, esteem ourselves? And how should we esteem others?
In the light of our value in God’s sight, how should we live? We’re very precious in God’s sight. As God’s image bearers we have value and dignity. We treat our most precious objects with great care. So we’re to treat ourselves with great care, too. We’re to take care about what we do with our bodies, what we fill our minds with, how we use our talents and how we spend our time.
In the light of other people’s value in God’s sight, how should we think and act toward others? If I’m so valuable, then so is my friend and my neighbour – and so is my enemy. This truth must govern how we treat each other (for example, see James 3.8-10).
We are all connected. God created the human race as a family “from one man” (Acts 17.26). Because of this, we instinctively need to feel part of a group. We fear exclusion, isolation, loneliness. Without human companionship and intimacy we find it hard, even impossible, to live. We are relational beings. John Eldredge writes: “Aren’t the greatest joys and memories of your life associated with family, friendship, or falling in love? Aren’t your deepest wounds somehow connected to someone also, to a failure of relationship? That you were loved but are no longer, or that you never have been chosen? . . . . So, too, our greatest sorrows stem from losing the ones we love. . . . . Loneliness might be the hardest cross we bear. Why else would we have come up with solitary confinement as a form of punishment? We are relational to the core.”
We affect one another. We’re all connected: this means that we affect one another. David Jeremiah comments: “Every one of us leaves our spiritual fingerprints, metaphorically speaking, on the lives of other people . . . .” Conversely, those we spend our time with shape the way we ourselves think and act.
So we have the power to be a blessing to each other. I am ‘my brother’s keeper’ (compare Genesis 4.9). In the church, God has given each of us gifts to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 14.12,26, and see also Ephesians 4.11-16).
Conversely, we have power to harm each other. One person’s sin can defile many (compare 1 Corinthians 5.6 and Hebrews 12.15). We hurt people by breaking off relationships, refusing to forgive. That’s one reason why Jesus commanded us so strongly to forgive one another.
We grow as Christians in community, not only as individuals. That we humans are all connected has enormous relevance to our life as Christians. When God speaks about the church as a body with many members (Romans 12.4-5), as God’s household (Ephesians 2.19), this isn’t a new idea. God built it into human nature right from the very beginning.
God wants us to grow to maturity as Christians. We cannot really do this alone. We grow to Christian maturity in community – in the local church. The writer to the Hebrews wrote, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10.24-25). The writer also exhorts us to “encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3.13 NIV). Our gatherings – both as a whole church and in smaller groups within the church – are places where we encourage each other and build each other up. So we’re never to give up meeting together – we put ourselves in grave danger if we don’t gather together with God’s people regularly and frequently.
We’re to love, care for and serve one another. You only have to count the number of times that “one another” and “each other” occur in the New Testament epistles to see how fundamental it is to share our lives. We’re to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another (James 5.16); we’re to bear with and forgive one another (Colossians 3.13); we’re to teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3.16), encourage and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5.11), bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6.2); and love one another (for example, 1 Peter 1.22, 1 John 4.7). We’re to look out for others’ interests (Philippians 2.4) and serve one another in love (Galatians 5.13). We’re to show hospitality to others (for example, Romans 12.13).
CREDITS ► Text copyright © 2017 Robert Gordon Betts ► Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ► Scripture quotations marked ‘NIV’ are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.