What does the bible say?
However if we look for the ‘made in God’s image’ in scripture, we find something particularly important.
Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Taking these two scriptures together they are addressing our ‘old man’ versus our ‘new man’. In Colossians 3:10 we learn that our new man is renewed in the image of him that created him (us). Something happens to our ‘image of God’ that it is distorted by sin but the new birth giving us the new man somehow restores our ‘image of God’ back to something like its original form.
From Ephesians 4:22 we can confirm that the old man of the flesh was corrupt through evil lusts and that our new man is created after (like) God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
It seems that when we first sin that holy image of God that we bear is tarnished and cannot be restored to its original condition until we have put on the new man (see John 3:7), which is renewed after the image of the Creator.
We could consider our repentance from sin (see 1 John 1:9) as a way of keeping our image of God in the proper condition that God desires?
When God created man in his own image, he clearly meant man to be creatures of righteousness and true holiness.
¨Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
¨15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
¨16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Jesus Christ bears the perfect likeness of God , untainted nor spoiled by sin.
Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father , Jesus replied how long have I been with you,
if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.
We can summarise at this point by saying that man 'made in the image of God' is referring to God's character first and foremost, and that as He is righteous and holy then we as His image bearers ought to have the same character.
In Part 3 of this study we consider other scriptures that refer to the 'image'.