Saturday, October 20, 2012

Man: God's Handiwork

An audio overview of the lesson by Raul Diaz.

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Below is the Audio Script:

Man: God’s Handiwork
Memory Text: “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3).
Our lesson seems to be making three main points; 1.  God made man in His image; 2. God made man with a purpose; 3.  There is a connection between the image and the purpose. 
Let’s study point number 1.  We know that God made man in His image because that is what Genesis 1: 27 says,
Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
But, what does that mean? Ellen White sheds light on that.  She says that, ““In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart” (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 467).  Righteousness is the condition of being righteous.   The righteous are just.  The just are doers of the law.  The Law is a transcript of love; love is the fulfilling of the law.  This means Adam’s heart was full of agape.  He loved God above all things and even Eve more than Himself. 
Point number #2, God made man with a purpose.  We read in verse 26,
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
Adam was to be a steward.  He would look after the rest of creation.  And, he would treat the lesser creatures, and the rest of nature, with respect and care.  Kind of what God had for Adam.  Perhaps, Adam was to represent God to the world. 
Point number #3, there is a connection between the image and the purpose.  Our lesson states,
God creates man in His image and then commands him to do something. Being created in God’s image appears to be necessary for a certain function; in this case, to have “dominion” over the rest of what God had created. Therefore, “the image of God” points to physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual endowments needed in order for humanity to fulfill God’s purpose for it.
As long as God’s image remained in man, man could be the “ruler” of this planet.  Adam’s actions would reflect whose image He bore.   The moment God’s image in man was defiled; man could no longer have dominion over anything in this planet.    He lacked the self-denying and other-centered love to do so.  Man was now self-asserting and self-centered.   Ellen White says that, “But sin alienated him from his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war with the principles of God’s law. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Romans 8:7. (GC 467).  Ellen White also says in PP 595, But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man.
 So, Christ comes to restore God’s image in man. 
Our lesson states,
The Bible clearly holds up the hope for us to be remade in God’s image. The renewal of the image of God in humanity is accompanied by a reduction of the effects that sin has had on us and our relationships. None of this, however, is the result of man’s own achievement. The Bible points to Christ as being the basis of hope for man’s renewal; … whatever changes are wrought in our lives, our hope of salvation …  rest(s) always on what Christ has accomplished for us and the … salvation based on His righteousness, not our own.  Ellen White says that, “It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised, and a life of probation was granted to man.”- Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 595.  She says in the Great Controversy page 467,
‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son,’ that man might be reconciled to God. Through the merits of Christ he can be restored to harmony with his Maker. His heart must be renewed by divine grace; he must have a new life from above. This change is the new birth, without which, says Jesus, ‘he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”-Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 467.
By Christ’s redemption of the lost race also comes the restoration of the image of God in man – also known as Sanctification.  It is the process in which we become more like Christ, whose image we bear.  Just as a coin bears the image of Caesar, therefore we know it is Caesar’s, we will bear the image of God, and all will know that we belong to Him.
Ps.  The image we have of God determines whether we will allow Him to restore His image in us.