Summary: How the image of God is marred by the Fall


Genesis 3.1-11

What do you see when you look in the mirror? One of the most remarkable things about people is how little insight they have to themselves. We are often able to see flaws in other people that we are blind to in ourselves. We are often able to have insight into people’s behaviours and yet be totally unaware of our own behaviour. This morning I want for us, with the help of God’s Word, to take an honest look at ourselves. To see ourselves as we really are according to God’s Word. Not to see ourselves as the world sees us, nor as we may see ourselves but whom we truly are in light of God’s Word. Turn with me to the book of Genesis.

Let us look first of all at Genesis 1.26-28, this is the lesson I was to preach on last Sunday morning but changed. This passage tells us that we are made, created by God, in His image. I want to take a moment this morning and make sure that we all understand this text because it is the first thing that Scripture, God’s Word, teaches us about mankind. I want you to look closely at verse 26. Man is made in the image of God and it is a personal act. The rest of creation God said “Let there be…” but of the creation of man (male and female) God said “Let us make man in our image…” The rest of creation is impersonal whereas the creation of man is personal. I want you to also notice that man is not made after his own likeness, like the rest of creation, but is made in the image of God. The creation of man is specifically noted as ‘male and female.’ For the rest of creation gender was not important, it had no significance but for mankind it had and it does. These things point to the fact that man is distinct, different, and separate from and special from the rest of God’s creation and created order.

Turn now to verse 27 – I want you to listen carefully as I read the verse to you. Did you catch it? The plurality of God – “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” and we read that man is made in his plurality – “male and female…” Why is this important? It is important because fundamentally and foundationally the image of God in man is reflected in the plurality of relationship – between man and woman. God is Trinitarian, in an eternal relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit and this eternal relationship is reflected in the fact that man is created not as a single identity but as male and female who ‘fit’ together in relationship.

We can look at other aspects of mankind to speak of the ‘image of God’ – creative ability, moral understanding, and the ability to reason but the foundational, the fundamental reflection of the image of God is relational. We were, and are, created for relationship, first and foremost for a relationship with God and then with one another. Hence when we come to the NT and look at Christ, who is fully God and fully man, we clearly see the image of God in man because of a life lived in sinless union (or relationship) with the Father.

If you go into any bookshop, or even newsagents, there are a myriad of books telling you how to improve your self-image. The fashion industry continually bombards us with images of ‘perfect bodies’ and we conveniently forget the work of the ‘airbrush’ by the photographer. The growth in cosmetic surgery is frightening. Turn on the ‘religious channels’ and very few of them have not had cosmetic surgery. We are so obsessed with the physical and yet look around you the relational, the area in which we fundamentally reflect the image of God, is disintegrating and being destroyed. Why? Well turn with me now to Genesis 3 and we will find out why this image of God is ‘broken’ or ‘marred’ today.

I don’t know if you have ever shattered a mirror or if you have ever had to look at yourself in a mirror which had been cracked. The mirror reflects something of the image but it is distorted and try as you might you cannot see the full reflection in the thousands of pieces. The image is there but it is distorted, broken and shattered. It is hard to see things whole in a mirror that has been shattered into a thousand pieces. Genesis 3 tells us how the world seen through the broken glass of the fall of man is no longer the normal world. Everything is ambiguous and nothing is ‘very good’ any more.

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