Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the ultimate consummation, the climax of Genesis 1. We need to recall the various steps in the process of God's restoration and further creation. The Spirit was brooding over the darkness and death. Light came, and there was a division between light and darkness. God made the expanse to divide the things above from the things beneath. Next God called the dry land out of the death waters. Out of the dry land the plant life was generated. After the plant life, the fourth-day lights came in to shine upon the earth. Then came the fish life, the bird life, the cattle life, the beast life, and all the creeping things. Eventually, God created man. Man is the climax of God's creation because man bears God's image. This is not a small thing.
Man is the expression of God because he bears God's image. He also has the dominion of God. Man was committed with God's dominion over the seas, the air, the earth, and especially over all the creeping things. Man has power, authority, and dominion because man looks like God. Man bears the image of God; so, man has authority. The climax in God's creation is man bearing God's image and representing God with His authority over all things.
When man looks at God and God looks at man, they look alike. If I take a photograph of you, you will look like the photograph and the photograph will look like you. Likewise, God can say, "Man, you are very much like Me." Man will reply, "God, You are so much like me. We two are very much alike." Also, when man comes out of the presence of God, he is the ruler over all created things. He has authority to rule. This is dominion, the kingdom.
The two crucial words in chapter one of Genesis are image and dominion. You may forget the creeping things and the fish, but don't forget man with image and dominion. Man was not made in the image of a serpent or scorpion, but in the image of God. This is the climax: man bearing God's image, exercising God's authority to maintain dominion.
Image and dominion were sown as two seeds in Genesis 1. However, these seeds need the whole Bible to grow and develop. The harvest, the full maturity, is in Revelation 21 and 22. The whole New Jerusalem expresses God, bearing God's appearance. The New Jerusalem also exercises God's divine authority to maintain God's dominion for eternity. Today, these two seeds are growing in you and me. The image of God and the authority of God are constantly growing within us.
Consider the case of a young married couple. The husband loves the wife, and the wife loves the husband. Although she loves her husband, the wife says within herself, "Although I love you, you are just a naughty young man." It is doctrinally correct to tell the wife that her husband is her head. However, the wife will say within herself, "I know that my husband is my head, but actually he is a naughty young man. It is hard for me to respect him." One day the husband is saved, and the divine life enters into him. This is the seed, and the seed grows in this young man day after day, month after month. Perhaps after eighteen months, the wife will look at her husband and say, "Surely I must respect him. Once he was just a naughty young man. But look at him today! He has some weight. He is not so loose, so light. He is weighty." There is no need for the husband to exercise authority and say, "You must know that I am now a Christian husband. You must submit to me." The husband need not say this. Whenever the wife looks at him, she will realize that his words are weighty, that there is something precious and valuable about him. Spontaneously she respects him. Formerly she argued. Now she respects and honors him, considering seriously everything he says because he now bears the image of God, and out of this image comes the divine authority. This is dominion.
Many people have read Watchman Nee's book, Spiritual Authority. They simply utilize that book, saying, "We are the elders of the church. We are the leaders of a group of Christians. We are God's authority." If you say this, you are through with God's authority. You do not bear the image of God. When the Lord Jesus came, He never held any attitude toward people that He was the authority and that people had to submit to Him. He never did this. However, when He was on this earth, He bore the image of God. He also had the authority of God. Authority always comes from the image.
The ultimate consummation is that God is expressed and represented. Nothing can be higher than this. When God is expressed and represented, that is the climax.
Man was made in God's image that man might express Him. This is a matter of life. Life with the image is for the expression of God. God gave man dominion over all things that man might represent Him. This is a matter of authority. If you are going to represent God with authority, you need to express God in life. The whole story of the Bible is just one story, telling of the saints who expressed God and represented God. We need now to consider eighteen cases covering the Old and the New Testaments.
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