|And is it so? We shall be Like Thy Son!
Is this the grace, which He for us has won?
Father of glory, thought beyond all thought,
In glory, to His own blest likeness brought.
– J. N. Darby
The Old Testament tells us that in the very beginning God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26 KJV). How magnificent! Even after the Fall, God continued to state this fact (Gen. 9:6). And in the New Testament, the apostle Paul reiterated these words of the highest honor given to man: “He is the image and glory of God” (1 Cor. 11:7). And God said it was “very good” that He “created man in His own image” (Gen. 1:31,27). Wasn’t this enough for Adam and Eve? In the Garden of Eden, the serpent enticed Eve with the thought that when she and Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil “ye shall be as God” (Gen. 3:5). Was this not the same desire that Satan, the anointed cherub, had for himself before time began, when he said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God ... I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:13-15)? Tragically, they believed the serpent and ate.
Adam and Eve fell, and wayward man has continued to want to be like God throughout history. After the flood, the peoples of the whole earth were scattered because they wanted to “build … a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven” (Gen. 11:4). According to Alexander Hislop in Two Babylons, idolatry possibly started when the wife of Nimrod deified her husband and then made herself a goddess. Babylonian kings demanded to be addressed with the term “live forever” (Dan. 2:4), and one even demanded that no petition be made to “any god or man” except to him (Dan. 6:12).
In the New Testament, Herod died at the hand of an angel of the Lord as he accepted praise from a crowd claiming that his address to them was “the voice of a god!” (Acts 12:21-23). Roman Emperors, and those of Japan as late as the 1940s have claimed to be gods. How dare any creature claim equality with God? And all those who challenge God’s Word, are they not claiming that they are greater than He is? All such claims are sin and blasphemy!
But there was One of whom it could be honestly said: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7). The Son of God, in whom “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9) took on a human form so that He might redeem many to Himself. His delight was with the children of men in eternity past (Prov. 8:31). He walked with Adam and Eve, and with Enoch (Gen. 3:8; 5:22). Throughout history He has sought those with whom He can have a close relationship. And today this includes you and me.
But was that enough for Him? Apparently not! He said that He was returning to His Father’s house and would take us there to be with Him (Jn. 14:2-3). For His people to be fit for that place, He not only died to settle the sin question, but also will change our mortal and corruptible bodies into bodies like His (1 Cor. 15:53). We are told that we shall be like Him (1 Jn. 3:2).
This does not make us God or gods, but it does make us eternal human beings with the closest relationship to God that anyone can ever have. What a great God we have, who would make us in His image, and then would be Himself made in the likeness of man so that we might be like Him!
By Hank Blok
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org