IVP - Andy Unedited

April 18, 2018

The Image of God

What does it mean that we are made in the image of God? Over the centuries many options have been proposed for what Genesis 1:27 means.

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them

DoesSTL bot garden cropped.jpg it mean consciousness or self-consciousness? The ability to think and be rational? Perhaps creativity, since God is obviously being very creative in Genesis 1? Could it be our spiritual nature, the ability to relate to God?

The problem with all of these (and many other proposals) is that they are also all true of angels. Then in what unique sense are humans in God's image?

I believe the answer is right there in Genesis 1. When God gave the first man and woman in the garden a calling to be fruitful, to multiply, and to subdue the earth, this was not a command to dominate nature but to steward. As Jesus expresses in his parable, stewards are given something that belongs to another and are made responsible to not just protect it but to use it as the owner intended (Matthew 25:14-30).

God's intention was not to use up the earth for himself. He wanted to expand his loving presence throughout his creation. Genesis 1 describes the formation of the cosmos the way the building of ancient temples were often described in ancient literature.* Temples were places where the deity resided. So the implication is that the whole cosmos is where God resides.

From Lost World of Genesis One.jpgdescriptions of the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament, we see that various parts were intended to represent the whole earth and the whole cosmos, symbolizing God's presence throughout creation. A large brass bowl filled with water was called the sea (1 Kings 7:23-26). The altar was to be made of earth and uncut stones (Exodus 20:24-25). Representations of vegetation were to adorn the temple (1 Kings 7: 18-26, 42, 49-50). The seven candles represented the seven planets. The colors of the curtain and the priests' robes were of the sky.**

The first chapters of Genesis focus on creating a cosmic temple for God to dwell in as well as a sanctuary in the garden as a kind of micro-representation of that cosmic temple where God was also to dwell. Why does God do this? Because his plan is for his ruling presence to expand from the garden (representing the cosmos) to eventually fill the whole earth.

That is the context in which we are to understand what is meant that the man and the woman are in God's image. They (and we) are appointed vice regents, God's stewards who participate with him in extending his presence throughout creation. We do this by bringing beauty and order as well as by bringing the Good News of God's rule to the whole earth.


*John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009), pp. 77-85.
**G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission NSBT (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2004), pp. 46-47.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:05 AM | Comments

April 11, 2018

Walking Through Twilight

The irony of Walking Through Twilight is not lost on its author. Douglas Groothuis is a philosopher who has often taught and written on suffering. Here he offers a lament about the suffering he and his wife have been going through over many years as she slowly, so agonizingly slowly, deteriorates from a rare form of dementia.

Continue reading "Walking Through Twilight"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:05 AM | Comments

April 4, 2018

Tradition, Scripture and Slavery

How do we know if our interpretation of Scripture is correct? One way is to weigh it against the general consensus of the church throughout its history. That is, by tradition. If we are coming up with a view that is at odds with the creeds or the historical views on the trinity, the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus, his bodily resurrection, or other core tenets of the faith, we should be very suspicious of ourselves. We may be right, but probably we are not.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:16 AM | Comments

March 28, 2018

The Lament of Christ (Mark 15:34)

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mark 15:34

I have attended worship services in a variety of traditions throughout my life, but they tended to have one thing in common--they began with praise to God and then moved to confession. This is a good and appropriate model to follow that has a lot of merit. When we see how holy and good God is, we see more clearly by contrast that we are not.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:09 AM | Comments

March 21, 2018

Christ Forsaken (Mark 15:34)

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mark 15:34

On the cross, Jesus quotes from the first verse of Psalm 22, a psalm of lament. Psalm 22 begins with a strongly stated complaint that God is far away (vv. 1-2), which is followed by the statement of confidence in God (vv. 3-5). The psalmist (identified in the title of the psalm as David) then enumerates the specifics of his lament (vv. 6-18), followed by his petition for deliverance (vv. 19-21). He concludes with a vow to proclaim God's goodness to the people (vv. 22-26), which will be known to the ends of the earth in generations to come (vv. 27-31).

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:58 AM | Comments

March 14, 2018

Betrayal and Grace (Mark 14:66-72)

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. "You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus," she said. But he denied it. "I don't know or understand what you're talking about," he said, and went out into the entryway. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, "This fellow is one of them." Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean." He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, "I don't know this man you're talking about." Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times." And he broke down and wept.

In Shusaku Endo's novel Silence the Jesuit priest Father Sebastian Rodrigues is sent to Japan in 1638. His assignment is to investigate reports that Father Ferreira, who had previously been sent by the Jesuits as a missionary to Japan, had under torture denied his faith.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:05 AM | Comments

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