Image of God

by Jannie

Image of God  (Gen 1:26) 

Possibilities for the word “image”

6754 צֶלֶם , צֶלֶם [ tselem / tseh ·lem /] n m . From an unused root meaning to shade; TWOT 1923a ; GK 7512 and 7513 ; 17 occurrences; AV translates as “image” 16 times, and “vain shew” once. 1 image. 1a images (of tumours, mice, heathen gods). 1b image, likeness (of resemblance). 1c mere, empty, image, semblance (fig.).

7512 I. צֶלֶם ( tselem ): n.masc. ; ≡ Str 6754 ; TWOT 1923a — 1. LN 6.96-6.101 image , idol, i.e., a created and formed artifact that is worshiped as or as representing a pagan deity ( Nu 33:52 ; 2Ki 11:18 ; 2Ch 23:17 ; Eze 7:20 ; 16:17 ; 23:14 ; Am 5:26 + ), note: for another interp in Ps 39:7 [ EB 6 ]; 73:20 , see 7513 ; 2. LN 58.58-58.62 image , likeness, i.e., that which is a pattern, model, or example of something ( Gen 1:26 , 27(2×) ; 5:3 ; 9:6 + ), note: the exact reference of whether this is moral, ethical, physical, nature, etc. is not clear; 3. LN 6.96-6.101 model , figures, i.e., a two or three dimensional painted or sculptured representation of something, but not necessarily a worship object ( 1Sa 6:5(2×) , 11 + )

7513 II. צֶלֶם ( tselem ): n.masc. ; ≡ Str 6754 ; TWOT 1923a — LN 58.14-58.18 phantom, semblance, fantasy, formally, a shadowy thing, i.e., something that has none or little real substance but a mere form ( Ps 39:7 [ EB 6 ]; 73:20 + ), note: for another interp , see 7512

Another possibility, however, for “image” is “reflection”.  Now a whole new revelation opens up in line with Jesus being the Light to the world (Jn 1:1-5,9; 8:12; Ps 36:9), the Bridegroom (sun) Who’s light has to be reflected from His Bride (moon, church, city, ecclesia) to the dark side of the world.  The city built not by human hands (1 Pet 2:1-10; Rev 21:1-3) that is supposed to be a light to the world (Is 60:14; Mt 5:14), that is a people, not a place.  A people with hearts [place, minds] for Him to dwell in continuously (Jn 14:1,2,23-26).    A house of the Lord (1 Tim 3:15; 1 Cor 6:19.  Note:  the church met in houses – Rom 16:5; Col 4:15; Phil 1:2).  Satan is a counterfeit, pretending to be the Light –  stealing from-, robbing and killing ignorant man. This means that God’s Light is also [in fact, actually] LIFE [everlasting] – Jn 1:4 (see the meditation “The Testimony” by this author).  A bearer is not the emitter, or source; but should certainly be able to reflect with that Light inside.  The revealing, uncovering, illuminating Light of Jesus Christ.  He is a Revealer, a Savior, A Redeemer, a High Priest and Intercessor, also a Spirit as a Teacher and Guide, Counselor.  As our Source of all things good, and a real Person, we could hardly make a bigger error than to rather go to [any] man instead of directly to our heavenly Creator-Father (Jn 1:12; 14:6,21-27; Heb 4:16)!

So then, whoever attempts to be God [Love, Light, Truth, Creator – the Person], will fail [fall]; and whoever will accept and acknowledge [trust] God as the Source of good, and the fact that He will always be Who He says He is, humbles themselves before God [grasp Who He is, and is not], and will be elevated by God [“qualify” without merit, by His grace and Love, for eternal life with Him, as His child, through Jesus’ blood on that cross (exchange)].  We are best off in Christ (2 Cor 10:5).  This is the only way (Jn 14:6; Ps 119:105)!

As the Source of righteousness, intelligence, and creativity, God will not [cannot] create without purpose. This makes us accountable to Him, and therefore means that for us to function best [optimal in our designed place and purpose], we have to submit fully to Him (Rom 8:14,28-39).  Many though, seem to think God is accountable to them, asking how He could allow a five year old to be killed by a drunk driver, and so on.  This amazing misconception that God’s sovereignty means that He does [cause] every single thing on earth, is due to the misrepresentation that the “church” has made to the world.  The ordinary dictionary has a better [more accurate] definition of sovereignty than the “church”.  God’s sovereignty means He is the upper, supreme, final command, the maximum authority; not that He manipulates everything (Js 1:17)!  For instance, does Js 1:3 not say that you must embrace [welcome] adversity so that you can develop patience through it – you will not!  It says that, with Christ in you, you can show a supernatural joy to the world for the opportunity to prove that fruit of His Spirit in you will reveal itself, namely [also] patience [“long-suffering” Gal 5:22,23]. Preaching without a personal relationship, is still just religion, and will make gross misrepresentations by which God’s character is made suspicious by man with vain imaginings, haughty and wicked reasoning, philosophical, even theological, notions and ideas, totally blinded by law (self-righteousness).  “Forbidden fruit” (Gen 3) is the idea of self-righteousness, a performance-based values, a merit-system, of conditional love.  Even man recites “For better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health, as long as we shall live” but neglect/fail to think about their “vows”!  God loves us because of Who He is (1 Jn 4:16), not because who we think we are!  God never withdraws love [Himself] as punishment (Is 5:18-21; 54:14-17; Heb 13:5)!

God does not lead through circumstances [manipulation], but by His Spirit – Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18; Jer 2:17 (Ps 78:53; 23:2; and so on).  It is astonishing that some preachers claim that “God injects people with cancer [inflict], and get them to go to Him, because only He has the antidote”!  This is wicked!  Who do these thieves think God [love] is?  Is this what they portray to the world as His character?

Is it not magnificently beautiful that God gave us our will smack bang in the center of our self-centeredness (intellect, emotion, and will as the main components of soul, which is self-centered [self-conscious]; as apposed to spirit that is God-conscious)?!  Because God is Love and Righteousness, He will not manipulate that which He has made to His image [to reflect Who He is by a choice called Love].  He gave us authority on this earth (Gen 1:26-28; Ps 115:16; and Heb 2:8 after Mt 28:18, 1 Cor 15:45; Gal 4:4!).  He gave it away here to us, and later regained it for us as an inheritance (Heb 9:16-18; Rom 8:14-19, 29-37)!  He is Love, and Love does not manipulate.   As the Source of intellect, logic, morality, etc., will [can] God not “make” [pre-program like robots] beings to reflect Him!  A personal relationship exceeds law (Gal 3:1).  Certainly we can see His imprints on His creation [nature], yes, but we as humans are given a choice, a decision to believe intuition [and conscience] can be His gentle voice; while instinct is natural [animal-like, programmed, devoid of spiritual life] self-centeredness to do with survival [breeding, feeding, shelter, for self]. That is why “faith Works by Love” – God is Love!  You can only receive God by faith [trust in Him as Love is God-conscious, Spirit; while an unrenewed intellect or reason is self-conscious].  Because it “worketh” it has to do [show, manifest] something (Mt 3:8; Js 2:26; Heb 6:7,8…)!  O Lord, You are so worthy of our praise [submission to Your guidance in our thought-life, Rom 8:2,6-8,14]!

So, again we see that Satan [and his false messengers] deceives by pretending to be that Light [false teachers of righteousness is life?].  Jesus Himself brought this Light [Himself, Life everlasing] to the world (Gen 1:3; 2 Cor 4:6; Jn 1:1-5,9; Col 1:13; 1 Pet 2:9), and we are to reflect Him as His Body and City and Bride to those without Him [yet] – the Truth.  When He comes again to change us all, we will be one for ever.

So then, can we see why we [have to] love Him for Who He is, and not for what we can get from Him.  Bribery is of Satan, not God.  The devil has knowledge of this but is without the revelation.  Why?  Does Satan reject love [God, everlasting LIFE], and so “creates” [causes] the opposite – hate? The Bible does not say so, as a matter of fact, God gave us the capacity to hate (Rom 12:9; Js 4:7)!  It is fair to say that God hates religion [hypocrisy, falsity]; and that God wants a personal relationship – with us!  The devil created a lie (Jn 8:43-44; note the self-righteous “Israelites” who claim their sonship to God based on their own lineage, ignoring completely the Blood of Jesus Christ – Jn 3:15,16; Rom 9:4-26; 10:8-21; Gal 3:26-29; 4:21-31) – opposing Truth [Jesus, the Creator, God’s salvation plan].  And this lie that destroys is to rely and trust in self [to be self-righteous by following the knowledge between right and wrong, blessing and calamity and trying to live by this applied self-knowledge and self-saving-justification-righteousness, later also called law].  Contemplate again Phil 3:8-14, note that in v 15-16 Paul refers to himself as being spiritually mature (Eph 4:12-20; Heb 5:12-6:2!).

So to use our God-given will [choice, trust] to reject God [believe man instead, ignoring Heb 12:2], is [d]evil.  Unbelief is wicked [twisted]; it is sin [rebellion].  This rejection of God’s grace [Jesus] is what makes man [also] go to hell [designed as Satan’s destiny and those that follow him and his fallen angels, or messengers, in self-destruction].  Only God creates ex nihilo [as the perfect Provider-Father].  The god of this era (law, self-righteousness and self-centredness) twists God’s Word, God’s Truth, into a lie that self-effort can produce a Life everlasting.  The devil imitates, copies God, as being light [enlightenment and Life], but is not.

This makes Satan the instigator to cause man to be a fallen tree of knowledge of good and bad; of blessing and calamity (Gen 2:17; Mt 3:10; 12:33-38; Mk 8:24).  That double-mindedness of believe [trust in, rely on] mixed [and dispersed] with unbelief [distrust due to not “clinging to”].  Interestingly enough, was unbelieving Thomas called Didymus in Greek [twin, separate offspring with two minds] – see Js 1:6-8. But, Jesus paid for all our self-righteousness on a dead tree (cross).

This double-mindedness on the one hand, is what opposes God’s Righteousness on the other hand.  It is not about good against evil; but the problem is the combination of good and evil apposing polluting [hindering, compromising] God’s righteousness [absolute holiness].  This is where the connection of confusion [steal and destroy] comes in (Jn 10:10 – a + b!).  Remember Hos 4:6,7?  And Mt 11:25,26?

The “little” faith of Mt 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; etc., is actually a “short burst of” faith.  Not “clinging to” means a second thought [double-mindedness] destroyed [killed] the first.  This is what caused Simon Peter to start sinking – the endurance of that perfect faith was not persistent enough (Mt 14:31; Heb 12:2; 4:2!…).  Another big hindrance is tradition [dogma included] – Mk 7:13,14; 12:24…

Confusion is an almost unnoticeable [subtle, undiscerning] twisting of the only Word that can bring everlasting Life and freedom [from slavery of self-centeredness, self-glorifying interest], while we are suppose to accurately  reflect Him that is Light – Gal 3:1 speaks of unreflecting Galatians being obsessed with law].  Only the Person Jesus Christ, as Life, Truth and Light, can be the way out of this confusion to the Perfect Father Who created us to be like Him.  Like Father like Son like Spirit.  A relationship must have exactly that: a [correct] relationship! You can only relate to [be a child, an inheritor, of] Him Who you reflect.  And then only if you trust Him enough to unconditionally Love and follow His Word and hate what He hates: falsity.  We can never profess to know Him while misrepresenting Him, insinuating we can make Him an accomplice to false teachings (Gal 1:6-12)!

Now read Jn 8:32-47; 5:37-47 again.  Note that Jesus was talking to Jews who had accepted the fact that He is the Messiah (verse 31)!  Yet Jesus pointed out to them that they were still confused [in the dark] because of their double-mindedness!  Because they did not “go through Him”, they had a different father (Jn 8:41-47).  Are you ready for 2 Cor 5:17-21; 1 Pet 1:18; Col 1:11-24; Rom 8:18-23

So like those “believing” Jews, are scores of professing Christians today still powerless because of eating the same fruit [words] of knowledge of good and bad; of blessing and calamity.  We are guilty of Js 4:4 (Mal 2).  Note that purity, faithfulness, dedication and consecration are always present in our gracious and merciful Father’s relationships.  Why?  Because He [and His relationship] is everlasting.  He does not forsake, we forsake.  He does not break a promise [marriage] – we do.  He never changes- that is exactly why we can always trust [in] Him… and be “paid for” when we truly repent to stop our double-minded connection with our adversary Satan [get that new mind of Christ – Rom 8:5-7; Phil 4:7; 1 Cor 2:16; 2 Cor 10:5;11:3].  This is why He instated a marriage:  to prophetically reflect His Truth [Bridegroom and Bride like Head and Body] to the world.  This relationship can never be controlled by emotion – it is pure faithfulness and commitment.  See why the world wants to mess up a sacred bond like marriage [with lies of “safe” sex outside of it]?  “Living together” [co-habiting] without sacramental, self-offering commitment in marriage, blatantly defies God’s idea and is the wicked rebellion of [the god of] this age, opposing God in self-righteous attempts and empty excuses and philosophies.  “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health”, is declaring that you will sacrificially remain faithful and committed to that single [chosen, appointed] person for the rest of your earthly life, to reflect the image of a Perfect Husbandman.  Emotion [and lust] is NOT Love, emotion is self-serving interest alone.  Lust is blind.  Love can not be blind – God [the Person] is Love.  The god of this age [law-world] is a liar [if you think it will produce Life] – he is blind[ing].

When Jesus gave His reply during that sermon on the mount (Mt 5:32), Jesus was taking, just as with murder (vv. 21-22) and adultery (vv. 27-28), divorce one step further than the Mosaic law did. Under Moses’ law, the people were allowed to get a divorce for any reason (Mt. 19:3; Mk. 10:2-4), much as we see today. Divorce was permitted under the OT (as was polygamy) because of the hardness of people’s hearts, but Jesus revealed that this was not God’s plan (Mk. 10:5-9). Jesus permits divorce under the NT for the sole reason of fornication simply because the fornicator has already broken the union.  And double-mindedness and play-acting is a disgrace.  Have we done that with Him?…

Hollywood, films, TV, books, worldly theories, philosophies, and views are not the Word [view, idea, perceived will] of God.

Be careful to not create your own “lesser god”.  That god you demand to bow to you and explain to you first why all these bad happens and exist – if He is Love – so that you can access with your great wisdom and knowledge if He is just and fair, and then, based on your judgement, decide to follow Him [on your conditions].  This is a fool’s reasoning.  For (1) did you use the departure point that God [Righteousness] is underhanded and mean; and (2) you cannot, and will not, worship a god smaller than you like you should worship God.  How can a man blame a Perfect Father, Son and Holy Spirit – that is the Light to the world, and reveals – for the ignorant powerless the darkness they are in because of their own distrust and ignorance [of an inheritance in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:17; Gal 4:7; Eph 2:6.  Carefully and slowly contemplate Eph 1-4 in the Amplified Bible].  Then consider Eph 4:23-28!

It is absolutely astonishing with what arrogance humans reason (Rom 8:7) when thinking that man can exhibit God’s kind of Love (1 Cor 13:1-13), and then amazingly think God Himself does not exhibit that towards man!  Jesus is not your accuser, the Devil is!  Jesus is your Savior.  He cannot be both!  Jesus has never laid hands on any one to make him sick or “force him closer to Him”! If any man causes calamity, murder, tragedy, on the scale that God is accused [by His “church”!] of doing; that human will be hated and removed from society!  Think about it.  How can you think that of God and then claim – like a play-actor – that you love Him with all your heart?  This is a wicked image!

What is this bewitchment with the self-righteousness that man is bent on trying to follow a law-system that was implemented by man’s enemy (his own mind), and given as a law (Gal 3; 2 Cor 3) so that man can see that self-righteousness at best will only produce guilt [and a severed relationship with a Perfect Father, because of not being clothed by His Son, but fig leave-self righteous-law-rulers instead].  Try Rom 10:4; 7:4-6,10; 8:1-3; Gal 3:11,12,19; and so on.  May you get the revelation.

Many “Christians” think God is the source of sickness, natural disasters, calamities, and so on because He supposedly is punishing the sinful people in His wrath, or is teaching them a lesson.  Mt 5:45; 7:11,12; 23:1-4 and Lk 13:1-5 should be a clue to anyone feeble enough to suspect God of underhandedness.  Note how Lk 13:6 continues and picks up on the fig tree of Mk 11:20,21 that was none less than those depicted in Mt 21:43 (Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees… religious “Israelites”)!…

Particularly wicked is the idea that God is ultimately behind temptation [orchestrating it], while He pretends to not do it Himself [directly]!  This is due to a blinded interpretation (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7) of Js 1:12-18 and 1 Cor 10:13.  Temptation is due to what is within as man’s own selfish desire to satisfy oneself, not what comes from outside.  Think about it.  At any rate, why would He judge others and not you [especially if you are under law (Gal 5:4)]?  Do you grasp Mt 5:45; Lk 16?…

No, God is not “angry at mankind” anymore (2 Cor 3:19; Lk 2:14; 1 Jn 2:2).  In the OT God’s wrath was poured out on individuals and nations, but in the NT unto Jesus Christ on the cross (2 Cor 5:18).  If you suspect God of being the source of the world’s problems, you will never be able to love Him.  God’s Love is not based on our performance (1 Jn 4:8; Jn 6:24; 2 Cor 5:19; 1 Pet 1:10-12; Hos 4:6; Is 5:18; etc.).  Father is good because He is the Source of it, not because I move Him to it.  I get what Jesus deserved, not what I deserve or can ever deserve – I then get His reward, my eternal Life (Heb 11:6).  He loves me because He is Love, not because I am lovely [amiable, cute].  He does not owe me anything, so whatever I do, will never make Him owe me.  It is by His grace that I get what is His, because of His inheritance to me when I believe that really good news:  it is all thanks to Jesus Christ, not I!

Rom 8:17 – what is His, is ours who are in Christ and Him in us!  Not in Moses, nor dogma, nor self.  We will do well to reconsider whether we are truly reflecting Him to the world.  His image indeed…

As a summary, can we try to really to get the following in our heads about our perfect Father God:

He is not distant and disinterested.  He is intimate and involved (Ps 139:1-18; Jn 3:16; Col 1:13-27)

He is not insensitive and uncaring.  He is kind and compassionate (Ps 103:8-14; Jn 1:12-13; 3:16-21)

He is not stern and demanding.  He is accepting as the Source of joy and Love (Zeph 3:17; Rom 15:7)

He is not passive and cold.  He is warm and affectionate (Is 40:11; Hos 11:3-4; 1 Jn 3:8).

He is not absent or too busy for me.  He is always [eagerly] with me (Jer 31:20; Ez 34:11-16; 13:5; Heb 13:5)

He is not always dissatisfied, angry, or impatient with what I do.  Consider Ex 34:6; Neh 9:17; 2 Pet 3:9.

He is never cruel, mean or manipulative; but Love, gentle, protective (Ps 18:2; Is 42:3; Jer 31:3; Col 1:11-20)

He is not trying to take fun out of life.  He is Life, joy, peace (Lam 3:22,23; Jn 10;10; Rom 12:1-2; and so on)

He is not controlling or manipulative; but the Source of grace and mercy (Lk 15:11-16; Heb 4:15-16)

He is not condemning or unforgiving.  He is tender-hearted, forgiving (Ps 130:1-4; Lk 15:17-24; Jn 3:16)

He is not a critical “perfectionist”; but perfect, faultless, committed (Rom 8:29-37; 2 Cor 7:4; Heb 12:5-11)

Do you see Lk 12:32; 17:20,21?…

Let’s pray together, shall we?

Father, in the Name of wonderful Jesus Christ I humble myself before You alone.  You are God, not i.  You are Right, not i.  I accept that Jesus’ Name is the Name above all names because only He perfectly presented You.  Jesus shows me Your Face and nature and character, and now I live with His Spirit and anointing – Christ – inside of me.  I praise Your perfect Love and Righteousness, Your Light-Life.  Thank You, Father, for Who You are as my infinitely perfect Father in Christ.  I do not profess to love You while actually wanting to love what you [can] give me; no, I will love You for Who You are, o God.  If I only have You, I have all I need.  My appreciation, my praise and worship, will be my lifestyle, the way I think, so please help me and let Your perfect will [for me] be reflected through me.  I want to be Your image, Father, one with Jesus.  I submit to You and place all my Trust unconditionally in You and Your Word alone.  I will reflect Your Light, Father – with my life everlasting in Jesus Christ.  Jesus paid for me and I want to reflect that attitude, motive, Love and Life – that Son… that I AM (1 Cor 15:10).  I am available to speak Your Name, o Lord… in thoughts, deeds and Words.  I repent of my shameful strife with your other children, Father, that I have confused.  I hate that sin (Rom 12:9; 1 Jn 3; Jn 16:9).  I will hate what You hate, and so reflect You more accurately, Father.  I will stop eating of that tree of double-mindedness.  I will dedicate my all to You.  You are the Victor, the victory is Yours, Jesus, I am from now on a living proof of Your mighty Grace, Mercy and Love and Life everlasting.  Bless You, o Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Thank You so much for loving even me.  Thank You for creating me and Your continual creating miracle inside of me.  Thank You for my eternal life through Jesus.  Bless all those brothers and sisters that read and hear these meditations as Your Living Word.

I love You, my credible, AWESOME, believable, all powerful Almighty Creator-Dad.

Your [other] son.


n n: noun

m m : masculine

TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

GK Goodrick-Kohlenberger

AV Authorized Version

  1. noun, or nouns

masc. masculine

Str Strong’s Lexicon

TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

+ More references in bhs

interp interpreted

EB English Bible versification

(2×) The word defined occurs twice in this verse

  1. noun, or nouns

masc. masculine

Str Strong’s Lexicon

TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

EB English Bible versification