Saturday, May 18, 2013

Created in the Image of God

Paul’s usage of the Greek word for body is “soma.” “Soma” is not something external to a man himself, something he has, it is what he is. Indeed, “soma” is the nearest equivalent to our word personality. To believe in the resurrection of the “soma,” means to believe that my human self, the human being that “I” am, will be restored to life again. I will not be someone different from who I am now, but I will be exclusively myself. God has committed himself to preserving my individuality, personality, and character. The term body “soma” is simply a synonym for “person.” The goal of God’s redemption is not the destruction of his first creation, but its restoration to its original perfection. This is why the Scripture speaks of the resurrection of the body “soma” rather than of the creation of new beings. Both death and resurrection affect the total person “soma.” The resurrected persons “soma” will be the same individuals as those who existed previously on earth.
Being created in the image of God means that we must view ourselves as intrinsically valuable and richly invested with meaning, potentially and responsibilities. We are to be and to do on a finite scale, what God is and does on an infinite scale. By virtue of being created in the image of God, human beings are capable of reflecting his character in their own life; animals possess none of these qualities. What distinguishes people from animals is the fact that human nature inherently has godlike possibilities. Omniscience omnipotence, or omnipresence, none of these other divine attributes have been ascribed to man as part of the image of God. We have been created to reflect God in our thinking and actions, but the physical sustained  by God and dependent upon him for our existence in this world and in the world to come. Developing a godly character in this present life, this will be our personal identity in the world to come. It is the character or personality that we have developed in this life, that God preserves in his memory.
Breath of life and the living soul; man’s soul is in his blood and indeed his blood is his soul. He is kept in being [alive] as a living soul by the inhalation of oxygen out of the air. Man’s soul depends on this intake of oxygen and the blood, but the cessation of breathing results in the death of the soul, because the blood, which is equated with the soul, no longer receives the oxygen that is so vital for life. Breathing is seen as a manifestation of the sustaining power of God. Man became a living soul does not mean that at creation his body was endowed with an immortal soul, a separate entity, distinct from the body. Rather, it means that as a result of the divine inbreathing of the “breath of life” into the lifeless body, man became a living, breathing being. The heart began to beat, the blood to circulate, the brain to think, and all the vital signs of life were activated. A living soul means a living being. Not through the implantation of an immaterial, immortal soul into his material, mortal body, but through the animating principle of life “breath of life” conferred on him by God himself.

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