Image as Declaration Casting a Vision to the World

“Image is everything.”

We have often heard this, and for the sake of a photograph, it is true. But when it comes to reality, if there is a gap between the image and what is behind the image, then that image is simply a facade.

Images declare; they cast a vision to the world. Because of this, we need to ask three questions:

  1. Whose is the declared vision?
  2. What is the delivered message?
  3. To what extent do the declared vision and the delivered message correspond?

Made in the Image of God

We don’t have to go very far in Scripture before we encounter the idea of image. Genesis 1:26–27 says,

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

When first hearing of the image of God, we often think of what it tells us about ourselves. But this is not the most interesting question. No, the most interesting question is, What does the image we bear say about God?

The declared vision in this passage is God, and the delivered message of this image tells us about God.

We see more about the delivered message in the creation account. This account in Genesis 1 is a picture of God subduing chaos by ordering it. He subdues the chaos, and then He fills it. The same is the case with humanity. God takes the clay, shapes it, and fills it with life.

Humanity was supposed to be God’s declaration of Himself in the world, but the enemy came and defaced it. The message became marred; it was not erased, but it fell short of what God intended.

Made in the Image of Christ

Without God’s intervention, humanity could not be redeemed. Humanity could no longer perfectly reflect His image. Because of this, God sent His Son, the last Adam. We read in 1 Corinthians 15:45–49,

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

The second Adam, Christ, is the One who redeems us. He is the One who gives us new spiritual life, and we are now made in His image. As a result, we are declaring to the world who Christ is and what He has done for us.

Returning to the original three questions, we find that God is still the One whose vision is declared. Christ, the perfect image, has joined to Himself all mankind as a declaration in the physical realm to the spiritual realm of who Christ is. And we are being conformed to His image, day by day.

For more on how to look like Christ, read Ken Boa’s Conformed to His Image.

Image as Declaration Casting a Vision to the World