God’s economy is a matter of the dispensing of the divine life into our being. As a result of this dispensation, we, the chosen people of God, have both the human life and the divine life. Every kind of life, even the lowest plant life, is a mystery. No scientist can fully explain how a little seed grows into a beautiful flower. Within the seed there is an element of life that brings forth a flower with a certain shape and color. How wonderful!
Among the various forms of created life, the most wonderful is the human life. Contrary to the opinion of many, the angelic life is not more wonderful than the human life. It is wrong to think that angelic life is better than human life. God did not ordain the angelic life to contain the divine life. Rather, He created the human life to be the vessel for the divine life. Although you may consider yourself inferior to the angels, God considers you better than angels. Nevertheless, subconsciously some, especially sisters, may desire to be angels. The Bible, however, does not speak of God’s love for angels, but it reveals His love for man. Angels are simply God’s servants. In His eyes, the most wonderful life among all His creatures is the human life.
Genesis 1:26 says, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Hence, the angels were not created in the image and likeness of God, but man was. Do you realize that you were made in the image of God and according to God’s likeness? We are not descendants of apes, but are descendants of the man created in the image of God. Simply by having the image of God and by bearing the likeness of God, we look like God. This is the clear revelation in the holy Word. Because man was created according to God, the human life is the best of all created lives. Therefore, we can be proud of the fact that we are human beings. Praise the Lord that we are men and not angels!
One day, through the incarnation of Christ, God Himself became a man. In this way God identified Himself with man. Jesus, God incarnate, was both God and man. The incarnation of Christ not only brought God down to man’s level, but it also uplifted man to God’s level. By creation man had both the image of God and the likeness of God, but he did not have in him the reality of God. The incarnation brought the reality of God into man. The Lord Jesus had not only God’s image and likeness; He also embodied the reality of God, for God was in Him. In principle, the same is true of everyone who has been regenerated. As regenerated persons, we not only bear the image of God and have the likeness of God, but we also have within us the reality of God.
The Bible reveals that man was created as a vessel to contain God. In 9:21 Paul speaks of vessels to honor and in 9:23, of vessels of mercy prepared unto glory. God Himself is the real honor and glory. Therefore, the fact that we are vessels to honor prepared unto glory means that we have been designed to contain God as our honor and glory.
We may use a glove as an illustration of man as a vessel, a container, of God. Because the purpose of a glove is to contain the hand, the glove is made in the likeness of the hand. The hand has a thumb and four fingers, and the glove also has a thumb and four fingers. Although the glove is not the hand, it is made in the likeness of the hand in order to contain the hand. In the same principle, man is a vessel to contain God. For this reason, he was made according to the likeness of God.
If you put your hand into a glove designed for it, your hand will feel comfortable in the glove. In like manner, God feels comfortable in man. However, He would not feel comfortable in an animal or even in an angel. Only in man does God feel at home, at rest. Heaven may be God’s temporary dwelling place, but His real home is man.
We are all “gloves” designed to contain God as the divine hand. We were made in a form that is suitable to be the place of God’s dwelling. God has a mind, a will, and emotions, and we do too. As humans, we should not be jellyfish, beings without a strong will. A proper human being must not only have a mind and a will, but also be full of emotion. We should find it easy to laugh or to weep. We should not be like statues incapable of expressing feeling no matter what the situation may be. The Bible reveals that God is rich in emotion. He hates, He loves, and He becomes angry. According to John 11:35, the Lord Jesus, God incarnate, wept. Therefore, to be a vessel to contain God, man was created with emotions. Emotion is extremely important, for God Himself is rich in emotion; He is not a God of stone.
All of man’s virtues are created according to God’s attributes. For example, human kindness is an image of God’s kindness. The same is true of gentleness. Man’s gentleness is according to the likeness of the gentleness of God.
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