What is Man? (Part 1)
The Image and Likeness of God
If we were to ask, “Who are you?” or, “What is man?” How would you respond?
Here are some responses from believers and non-believers:
- Man is body, soul, and spirit 2-A Living Creature
- Sensible and Intelligent 4-Free
- 6-Dust and Ashes (as Abraham told God in Genesis 18:27).
- I am a guinea pig in God’s laboratory 8-I am a zero
- I am an accident of man’s lust 10-I am an animal
Today our discussion focuses on man as created in the image and likeness of God. As the Church fathers understood, the image of God is how are created and His likeness is what we are striving to attain; that is, to be perfect just as He is perfect.
The Image of God
Man is not in the image of God in His divine qualities such as His omnipresence and omniscience, His eternity, infinity, and the power to create from nothing.
- Man, rather, has relative qualities
Man was Created in Purity and Righteousness
- Adam and Eve were created without sin, were pure and righteous. They were naked, yet unashamed. They were like little children.
- As Christ said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
The serpent deceived Eve, because man had no knowledge of dece
Man was created in the image of God in Holiness
- When man fell, he lost this holiness, but through the incarnation of the Lord and His death and resurrection, our image was restored again, and we are called again and we have the ability to return to holiness.
- In this holiness, for instance, we are worthy to abide in Christ through the sacrament of the Eucharist. As the priest proclaims in the liturgy, “The Holy are for the Holies!”
Man is called to be a saint
- We are called to be saints because the Holy Spirit dwells inside us.
- As created in God’s image, we are called to be saints, and the divine sacraments work in us.
- We are saints because we are members of the body of Christ.
Man was created in the image of God in Perfection
- Full perfection belongs to God alone, each of us a level of perfection to reach.
- Job, Noah, and Abraham were called blameless, righteous, and perfect in the sight of the Lord.
- The Lord taught us perfection in His life here on earth, so we have the perfect example after which we must model our lives.
Man was created in authority
- Just as God has authority over man, man was created as having authority over creation.
- God created man last and made him the crown of creation.
Man is created in God’s strength
- The man who is created in the image of God does not fear, but he as a strong personality, he is strong in spirit, he is confident in everything he does.
- When Adam fell, he lost his strength. We are not talking about physical strength, but he was afraid to meet God.
Man was created in the image of God to be successful
- “He shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that brings forth its fruits in its season and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3).
- “The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man”
Man is created in God’s humility
- Although we may think of God as the most powerful, He is indeed the most humble.
- He was incarnate, He deals with us, He listens to our prayers. Man must also realize that He is humble.
- Example of God’s humility in the conversation with Abraham in the discussion regarding the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Likewise, Abraham returned with the same humility.
Man is created with other God-like qualities
- “Light of the World”
- As shepherds modeled after the Good Shepherd
- In our will – it is not I who live, but Christ Who lives in me. We ask that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven
- Teachers and preachers
- God Who is unlimited, but in us the desire for the unlimited – a desire to be better and to be ambitious
- We create ideas and produce new things
In God’s Trinitarian and Monotheistic Image
Man is body, soul, and spirit, as God is also comprised of three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (the self, the mind, and the spirit). Yet we are one as God is perfectly united in One.
We spend too much time trying to be in the image of this world, but it is backward. Let us strive to keep the divine image and to truly understand who we are as men, women, brothers, and sisters in Christ.
When we strive for the divine image, we will constantly press forward. But if we strive for a worldly image, we find ourselves regressing. This is not who we are. Our personalities become weak, because we don’t have a high standard of what we are trying to achieve. We should constantly ask, “Where am I now? How much farther have I reached?”
You were not meant to be just dust and ashes, because God created you in glory and honor. Let us strive to be in the image in which we were originally created.