Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 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: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. –
Colossians 1:15-17 (KJV)
Jesus Christ is the image and Word of God. In Him, the invisible God is made visible and God’s true nature is exegeted to us from an insider perspective, from within our own human nature. This for us this the incarnation: the only Begotten Son, from within His own innermost relation with the Father, giving us the official, certified revelation. From this uncreated relation of Father-Son, when the Logos entered this world, tabernacled in our human nature, He announced, “No one has accurately perceived the Father, no man at any time” (John 1:18).
Christ, the true image of God not only discloses the Father to us, but He is the great iconoclast; He destroys the idols we have built about God. If no one has accurately perceived the Father at any time, what were those other perceptions within the different traditions that were recorded in the Tanakh? What of when Moses said that He saw God and spoke with Him face to face (Exodus 33:11)? What of when it was said of Abraham that he was the friend of God (James 2:23)? What of Isaiah who saw the Lord high and lifted up (Isaiah 6:1)? What about Ezekiel who saw the Lord seated, surrounded by four living creatures (Ezekiel 1)? These all had a filter; the content of what was derived from all the experiences they had was not the accurate perception of God. Christ made the inner, invisible life of God visible. He is God becoming what He loves to make Himself visible and sharable. He becomes man; He is the first born of every creature. Christ in His humanity reveals the vocation of man as the sacrament that makes God visible. Christ is the Image of God, He is the significance of God; Man bearing God’s image, man bearing God’s significance. You portray what is beyond “I, me and myself”.
Adam was the preview, or the type and shadow declaring prophetically by his creation that God would be made visible. According to the account of Moses, man’s body was shaped from the clay of the ground. Man’s body is the only creation that bears the fingerprint of God. How then did God shape the body of Adam? There had to be a mold from which the vessel is shaped. If the vessel is prefiguring the One to come, then Adam’s body was a type of the incarnation. His body that was framed by the Logos Himself was an announcement of He who was to come – of when the Logos would assume the same human nature which He had infused into the framed body.
Some give greater efficacy to Adam’s disobedience in bringing destruction to this cosmos than they do to Christ’s obedience which reversed the disobedience of Adam, which not only reconciled the cosmos to God but reveals that Adam’s creation was not original man. What does being created in the image of God mean? Who is the image of God? We are created to relate with God in the Father-Son relation.
Jesus Christ is first born of every creature. Thus, He is the One who has the right to possess; this is the primogeniture law. Because He is the Creator of all, He is the One to whom all things belong by right as the natural Son of the Father. He is designated Son of God’s estate, which is the whole creation. All things were created by Him and for Him. He pre-exists all; the incarnation is not His origin. He did not only originate all things, it is in Him that all things are held in cohesion. He is the true image of God.
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. –
1 John 5:20-21 (KJV)
Jesus Christ came to give us an understanding. The term “understanding” is derived from the Greek word “dianoia”, which is related to the word “metanoia” (repentance). Metanoia is to change the orientation of one’s mind; to undergo a paradigm shift in your way of seeing or mode of interpretation. Dianoia is a complete transition of knowledge by which one can no longer retain a former concept. Christ has “transitioned us from what we knew of God.” Jesus Christ is true deity and eternal life; therefore, only God can save because salvation is the bestowal of God’s own Life. Unless Jesus Christ is true God, He cannot bestow eternal life and without eternal life, we cannot be assured of salvation. In view of what Jesus Christ is, we are to keep ourselves from idols. Idol, from the Greek “eidolon”, speaks of a faint reflection. Idolatry does not simply refer to making an image of something “in heaven, on earth or under the earth.” God gave this commandment in Exodus 20, yet in Exodus 25, He tells Moses that He has anointed certain artisans who would design the Ark of the Covenant, which are two statues of angels, face-to-face, Cherubim, images of things in heaven. “Eidolon” speaks of faint reflection. If one looks into the mirror, for example, and what you see is not the accurate depiction of your own face, then that is an eidolon. If you think of yourself according to that faint image, then you have a mistaken identity. The Son of God has come and initially, when we beheld Him, we had a metanoia, but we have undergone a dianoia. Not only has there been a paradigm shift, there is an irreversible transition between the inconclusive and what He has revealed now. We who are in Him that is true know Him that is true. Any other image, or perception of God than this is false.
The mythological belief of separation from God is the idolatry which corrupted human nature. We were created to bear God’s image. Christ is the image of God. We are to behold the Father as Christ beholds the Father otherwise we won’t be living according to the Image but with a distortion. We were created to be sourced from the Image, the Son. Adam’s way of perceiving God brought about mortality in his body. A fear-based image of God corrupted our nature because we were meant to live according to our perception of God. Idolatry is a projection of a distortion on our perception of God.
The incarnation is the scandal of God’s embrace of our humanity. It has put aside all mistaken identities of us being substandard to God’s quality. In this Gospel, all lies about righteousness that are holding back the truth have been set aside. This is not only revealed in the gospel or in the incarnation, but this which is known of God is manifest in you.
*This article is derived from Dr. Shawn Smith’s teaching series “Christ, the True Image”. Get the complete message for an in-depth understanding of the subject. Visit www.gcmonlinestore.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org