In His Image (Sin of the World, Part 2)

Jan Antonsson


The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway

March 2, 2018

Neosho, MO

“You are the mirror in which God sees Himself!” (Sufi Maxim).

My thanks to those who took time to write their own perspective of last week’s essay, entitled “What is the Sin of the World?”  I’ll share some of their thoughts because they enhance what I’m  pondering, i.e., how “beholding the glory of the Lord transforms us into the same image from one degree of glory to another (II Corinthians 3:18, ESV). What does being created in His image and likeness have to do with the sin of the world?  Let’s search for the answer together.  

A short summary of the creation event as laid out in Genesis is helpful.  Here’s The Message version of creation:  “First this: God created the Heavens and Earth, all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss. God spoke: “Light!And light appeared (Genesis 1:1-3).  Day One.

Day Two:  “God spoke: ‘Sky! In the middle of the waters; separate water from water!’  God made sky. He separated the water under sky from the water above sky. And there it was: he named sky the Heavens; It was evening, it was morning, Day Two” (Genesis 1:6-8).

Day Three:  “God spoke: ‘Separate! Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place; Land, appear!‘ And there it was. God named the land Earth. He named the pooled water Ocean. God saw that it was good.  On the Earth, God called forth all varieties of seed-bearing plants and every sort of fruit-bearing tree. “Earth produced green seed-bearing plants, all varieties, And fruit-bearing trees of all sorts. God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:9-12).

Day Four:  “God spoke: ‘Lights! Come out! Shine in Heaven’s sky! Separate Day from Night. Mark seasons and days and years, Lights in Heaven’s sky to give light to Earth.’ And there it was. “God made two big lights, the larger to take charge of Day, The smaller to be in charge of Night; and he made the stars” (Genesis 1:14-19).

Day Five: God created fishes in the sea and birds in the air.  “God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Ocean! Birds, reproduce on Earth!” (Genesis 1:20-23).

Day Six:  God called for the Earth to generate life, wild animals, all kinds.  “God Spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.’ God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female (Genesis 1:24-27).  

After each of the first five days, God proclaimed His work, Good. After day six, when He had created man in His image, God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good! (Genesis 1:28-31).

Paul revealed that Christ was responsible for the entire creation.  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created through him and for him (Colossians 1:16, ESV).  Again we ask, what does being created in His image and likeness have to do with the sin of the world?  Consider this.

He breathed His breath of life, His very DNA within us. This blessing possibly contributes to our problem.  How?  We have creative urges inherited from Father God, including the need to control things around us, and the propensity to set ourselves up as gurus to others, expecting that they will follow our lead in things.  We do not tolerate well people who violate our need to be obeyed or who disagree with us.  Unlike God however, we humans have limited insight into our world, and no real insight at all into the minds of other people.  He sees the end from the beginning, Isaiah declared (26:9).  We definitely do not.  We only see what’s right in front of us most of the time. We try to play Holy Spirit in other people’s lives when our own lives may be in a mess.  Only God is the righteous judge.  We are not, which is why Jesus told us not to do it. Are you seeing where I’m going here?  

This is why we need to listen to Him, to obey Him, to follow Him, and why God summarily tossed us out of Paradise when we disobeyed the only law He gave us, the one about not eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil.  That seminal event began the long history of dealing with thorns and thistles in our lives, whether emotional ones or physical ones. We had to try and fail, try and fail, which by the way, is why I believe the Law was given.  It showed us that no matter how smart we think we are, or how capable, or how righteous we try to be, we cannot keep God’s laws by our own self-effort.  Jesus was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8, Phillips, KJV, David Bentley Hart). Christ’s death on the cross was never “Plan B.” It was always God’s answer to sin.

Jesus promised His Disciples that when He left them, the Holy Spirit would come to comfort and guide them.  “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me (John 16:8-9, ESV).

My good friend John Gavazzoni suggested that our unbelief in Christ is the sin of the world, “That single, all-inclusive failure, will be remedied when He drags all men to Himself  (John 12:32). Those who lack the experience of having “the faith of Christ” at work in their lives, lack singularly that one element which makes a person whole. To be given to share in the faith of Christ, is to be given His fellowship with the Father, which dynamic within the Godness is righteousness itself.”

Years ago, John posited that our sinfulness springs from our not understanding that we are in Christ: “It ought, I would think, connect the scriptural dots of all sin being donein the darkness and ignorance of their hearts.’ Paul wrote that he received mercy because his persecution of the church was done in ignorance, and Jesus saying on the cross, ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’

“So the opposite of said ignorance would be knowledge, and that ”gnosis,” is in the Greek, the experiential, intimate knowledge of Christ. With that we have the scriptures that plainly tell us that our transformation comes by,”beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”  (II Corinthians 4:6), and that, “when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see him as He is’”  (I John 3:2)End Quote.

My beloved Lenny was a mystic through and through, who saw God in everyone and in every situation.  About the sin problem, he concluded, “It’s all God’s fault,” which was his paraphrase of Roman’s 11:32, God has all men penned together in the prison of disobedience, that he may have mercy upon them all (Phillips).

Clearly, this is why God put the poisonous tree in the Garden in the first place, and used the serpent to coax Eve into eating the fruit and giving it to Adam.  Paul said that she was deceived but Adam was not.  Perhaps he was supporting his wife, or perhaps he wasn’t sure what to do.  But he ate the fruit and we’ve all been eating it ever since.  Most church doctrine, after all, is based upon our need to know the difference between good and evil, the idea being that if we know what’s right we will do it, while avoiding what is wrong.  “The best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray,” wrote the poet Bobby Burns long ago, and he was certainly right about this religious sounding grand plan to achieve righteousness.  It’s a bust!

About that, my good friend Art White commented, “IF we’re still required by God to FIRST DO our PART to access the salvation that He has given, then we’re still under law, and there is very little hope for most of mankind. Seems like adding religious requirements for us to first DO, in a way, is despising what the ‘Lamb of God’ has done in taking away the sin of the world. End quote.

Another good friend, Win Parker wrote, “Romans 8:3, goes along with what you are saying, For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did. Sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a remedy for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh. So that the righteous requirements of the law might be met in us who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit(Vs. 4). He concludes, “The law is weak through the flesh. God does what the law cannot do, keep the law in us.” End Quote.

From Fr. Richard Rohr’s 2/25 meditation:Unfortunately, many people view God as a deity who tortures and excludes forever those people who don’t agree with“him” or get “his” name right. How could you possibly trust such a small God or ever feel loved, safe, and free? Jesus undid the stingy, violent view of God when he said, You, evil as you are, know how to give good things to your children. . . . If you, then how much more, God!  (Matthew 7:11).  The God I have met and been loved by is always an experience of how much more! If we are created in the image and likeness of God, then whatever good, true, or beautiful things we can say about humanity or creation we can also say of God, but they’re even more true! God is the beauty of creation and humanity multiplied to the infinite power.”  End Quote.

God’s image and likeness revealed to us and in us in Christ is the remedy to the sin problem of the world. We are the mirror in which God sees Himself!”

Father, we thank You and praise You for revealing Yourself to us in the Face of Jesus Christ, and for giving Him to us as our hope of glory.  We join our voices with all the Saints past and present to give you, “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever!” Amen.  Jan Antonsson

Jan Austin Antonsson

17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail Address)

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