Created with the Gloy of God – Part 1
We are in a series on Christian anthropology and Kingdom ethics.
Christian anthropology looks at the origins of humanity through the lens of the Bible.
Last week I showed you that people have this deep innate need to know where they come from as an essential component of understanding who they are as a person and that who we think we are we live out. There is something deeply anchoring about being connected to your past. We also saw that who we think we are we tend to live out that reality.
Created not evolved
A recent scientific study, published in the Journal Human Evolution in May 2018, surprisingly states “maybe” to whether humanity came from a single pair of humans. The study was done by Mark Stoeckle and David Thaler of the University of Basel, Switzerland. They examined the “genetic barcodes” of over 5 million animals from 100,000 different species — and one of those species was humans. Based on those barcodes, which are really just tiny bits of DNA from the mitochondria of living cells, the researchers concluded that their data are “consistent with” the hypothesis that all of humanity are the descendants of a single pair of adults.
They could have just read the Bible! If you read the genealogy of Genesis 5 backwards it will get you back to our forefather, Adam:
Cainan was beget by Enosh
Enosh was beget by Seth
And Seth was beget by Adam.
3 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4 After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. 5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.
6 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh. 7 After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. 8 So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.
9 Enosh lived ninety years, and begot Cainan. 10 After he begot Cainan, Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years, and had sons and daughters.
But Christian anthropology goes back one step further.
This genealogy goes back even further:
1 This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.
In other words humanity’s origin can be traced back past Adam to God Himself!
You have a divine origin
Whilst God is the Creator of all things, humanity, possesses apart from all creation, something passed down from the Creator Himself that is unique to humanity – Humanity bears the “image” and “likeness” of God. Genesis 1:26 says:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image [tselem], in our likeness [demut]
IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD
The word image and likeness here is translated from the Hebrew words “tselem” and “demut”, both meaning essential nature, copy, characteristics, and essence.
In short, you, me, and everyone around you has both a divine origin and something divine about you.
Could it be that the whole Avengers craze with these demigods is because their is something god-like about each of us?
I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. Pslam 82:6
33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? John 10:33-36
What does this say of our value? It’s infinite. Worth Jesus dying for you to buy you back even in a fallen state.
WHO IS GOD
The trouble with most Christian Anthropology is that it is actually just plain anthropology dressed up in drag. Anthropology is the study of humans.
R.T. Kendall says:
Most [Christian Anthropology] today is done out of the assumption that:
- Man is the centre of the universe.
- God owes man an explanation of things.
Christian Anthropology when looked at this way is actually existentialism. The essence of existentialism is that the most important focus for the individual is the individual themselves.
Christian Anthropology done this way comes about, “Knowing me, Knowing you!,” versus Biblical Anthropology, which is “Knowing you, knowing me.” “Show me who you are that I might understand who, who are you, that I might see who I am.” Know God, know yourself.
The creation account pinpoints the centre of life being God Himself. The implication of this is that until we orientate ourselves in this way life just won’t make sense. We are yoked to God – not the other way round. He is the lead. We take the reference from Him, not the other way round.
God and Glory
So who is God?
There is one word that comes closer than any other word which describes God in but one word. There is one word associated which throughout the Bible that comes closest to describing God in one word: This is the word, “glory.”
In Acts 7:2 he is referred to as the `God of glory’.
I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.
God made the earth out of Himself: God’s glory filled the earth.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
The very first creative act was the creation of light:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
Light, and God’s-glory are forevermore entwined in the Bible. The visible manifestations of God in the Bible always represent things of light: Fire, lighting, garments of white, radiance!
The world into which Adam and Eve were immersed at the outset of creation was perfect because it was filled with light. It was a world in which truth always triumphed and where the Godly origin of the world, and the guiding hand of God behind every human success, were immediately evident amid the cloak of nature. Theirs was a world of clarity and lucidity, where man was able to instantly discern between good and evil, where the light of God shone through the world unhindered. The world was visibly sustained by God and could not be detached from Him. Everywhere one looked, one found His presence. The divine signature was on every created object. But when Adam and Even sinned, when they plucked the fruit from the forbidden tree, they removed light from the world. By acting against God’s will, they brought darkness into the universe and detached the world from its source. Their sin masked the truth of existence, and man would no longer have transparency in his world. Decisions about right and wrong would no longer be straightforward. Man could even deny God’s presence and ascribe his achievements to his own efforts.
Boteach, Shmuley. Judaism for Everyone: Renewing Your Life Through the Vibrant Lessons of the Jewish Faith . Basic Books. Kindle Edition.
The Glory of God and the Image of God
I want to propose to you that God made humanity out of His glory and our functions as human beings made by God flow out of what Glory is.
God’s glory has three attributes that when combined formed the image and likeness of God in us.
- Functional glory – God’s Kingliness
- Ethical glory – God’s holiness
- Physical glory – God the Sonn, incarnate one
1. Functional glory and the image of God in humanity
The word “Glory” in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word “kabodh”. It is used no fewer than 222 times in the Old Testament.
Hebrew is not an abstract language. The language of the Hebrews is a concrete language, meaning that it uses words that express something that can be seen, touched, smelled, tasted or heard and all five of the senses are used when speaking, hearing, writing and reading the Hebrew language.
Western languages, in contrast use abstract language to express themselves. An abstract word is an expression that cannot be seen, touched, smelled, tasted or heard. Abstract words are words such as: Compassion, grace, anger and love. They are things that cannot be experienced by the senses.
Why do we find these abstract words in a passage of concrete thinking in the Hebrew sections of the Bible? If the translators translated the concrete meaning of the original Hebrew words it would often make no sense when literally translated for Western thinkers.
So what does Glory mean in concrete terms? Traditionally, glory has been translated as something heavy. This is obviously an abstract thought.
The original original concrete meaning of “glory” can be discovered by looking at its uses in some of poetical books of the Bible:
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory [kavod] and the One who lifts up my head.
Glory is paralleled with God’s “shield”
My glory [kavod] is fresh within me,
And my bow is renewed in my hand.
Job’s kavod is paralleled with his “bow.”
Who is this King of glory [kavod]?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
The King of Glory is contrasted with a soldier.
What do we get from this? The original concrete meaning of kavod is battle garments.
This fits with other uses of the word glory. For example, in the Exodus 16:7, Israel will “see” the “armament” of YHWH, the one who has done battle for them with the Egyptians.
7 And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your complaints against the Lord. But what are we, that you complain against us?”
Why is there an association with God’s and armour?
God is a King. King’s are only kings if they have to have a territory they rule over. You cannot be a King without a territory to rule over.
In the 15th Century the son of the king of Portugal said to his father, “I want to be king.” The King apparently told him, “You can’t be.” The king’s son asked him, “Why not?” The King replied, “Because, I am the king of Portugal, and we are in Portugal. You can’t be king because I am still alive. When I am dead, then you will be king.”
The son apparently told his dad, “But I want to be king now.” The king of Portugal shipped his son off to South America and made him king over the territory of Brazil.
Now God is the King of kings. He rules over everything. And as a King He has a Kingdom. And as the head of His Kingdom, He is head over the government of the Kingdom.
Governments Protect and Empower
Governments have two primary functions: They 1> Protect and 2> Empower.
God’s glory, as armour, is connected to this governmental role of protecting and empowering.
The question is do we see this in the creation account?
In Genesis 1 God says:
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
To be given dominion means to be established as a sovereign, kingly ruler, master, governor, responsible for reigning over a designated territory, with the inherent authority to represent and embody as a symbol, the territory, resources, and all that constitutes that kingdom.
Munroe, Myles. The Myles Munroe’s Kingdom Series . Destiny Image, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Humanity was created with a dominion mandate over the earth, not the heavens and not over one another!
As God’s-vice regents Humanity were called to protect the glory of God on the planet and extend it throughout creation, that the whole earth would be full of the glory of God.
Their mandate was for expanding Eden through the earth. The world was perfect but not complete. Eden represented the boundaries of the Kingdom of God.