Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
At this point in the Life-study of Luke we need some messages that will provide a further development of four subjects: first, Christ’s becoming a God-man, a man with God living in Him; second, the jubilee; third, Christ’s resurrection; and fourth, Christ’s ascension. We have covered these matters in a brief way in certain of the foregoing messages, but we have not covered them adequately. First we shall consider Christ’s humanity, His living as the God-man. Hence, the title of this message is “The Man-Savior’s Incarnation Fulfilling the Purpose of God’s Creation of Man.”
It is a great thing to see that Christ’s incarnation is linked to God’s purpose in creating man. This is a point that we have not covered fully in the past, although we have considered it briefly. We need to be impressed with the fact that the incarnation of Christ is closely related to the purpose of God in creating man. As we shall see, God’s purpose in the creation of man in His image and after His likeness was that man would receive Him as life and express Him in all His attributes. We shall also see that the Man-Savior’s incarnation brought God into man to restore and to recover the damaged and lost humanity and to express God in His attributes through human virtues. These matters are deep, profound, divine, and mysterious, and our words are limited in speaking of them.
If we have an all-inclusive view of the entire revelation in the Scriptures, both of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, we shall see that God designed man to be one with Him. God made this design in eternity past. It is a great matter that God designed man to be one with Him. Of course, in the Bible we cannot find the word “design” used with respect to man’s being one with God. Nevertheless, if we have an all-inclusive view of the revelation in the holy Word, we shall see that in eternity past God designed man to be one with Him.
We may use the designing and building of a house as an illustration of God’s design concerning man. Before we build a house, we first need a design. Likewise, in the Bible we have both God’s design and His building. Throughout the Scriptures we have a complete revelation of God’s building. For His building God had a design. He designed to have man and that man should be one with Him.
Based upon His design, God created man in His image and after His likeness. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness....So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him” (Gen. 1:26a, 27a). Two phrases in these verses have troubled teachers of the Bible: “in his own image” and “after our likeness.” What is God’s image? What is God’s likeness? What is the difference between image and likeness? Why are different prepositions used in relation to image and likeness? In other words, why does the Bible say that man was made in God’s image but after God’s likeness? Why does it not say that man was made after God’s image and in His likeness? If we study the Scriptures carefully, we shall be concerned with the difference between image and likeness and also realize that it is difficult to explain this difference.
Some Bible teachers say that in Genesis 1 image refers to something inward, and likeness, to something outward. This is the distinction made by Mary E. McDonough in God’s Plan of Redemption. Asking what is meant by image and likeness, she says, “These two words are not synonymous; the former word refers more especially to the invisible part of man—the inner-man—while the latter indicates the visible part, i.e., the outer-man or body. The inner-man was in some way created like God; we may reverently say, patterned after Him....”
In the Life-study of Genesis we pointed out that man was created in the image of God inwardly and after the likeness of God outwardly (see Life-study of Genesis, Message 6, pp. 65-70). In that Life-study we said, “Man was created not only in the image of God inwardly, but also after the likeness of God outwardly. All the other items in creation are after their kind.’ Man, however, is not after man’s kind, but after God’s likeness. As image indicates the inward being of God, so likeness must indicate the outward form of God” (pp. 69-70). We may say that in Genesis 1:26 and 27 image refers to the inward being and likeness to the outward expression. In this message, without departing from what we have said in the past, we shall go on to consider in more detail the meaning of God’s creating man in His own image.
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