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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: February 15, 2024

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” What exactly does it mean that mankind was created in the image of God? Well, this has been somewhat of a contested question among theologians throughout history. Some, like Augustine, see the image of God as the ability to reason, sharing God’s way of thinking, unlike the beasts of the field who operate on instinct and simple impulses. Others, like Martin Luther, see the image of God as moral likeness to God, as a reflection of God’s righteousness. And, predictable as it may be for the Lutheran pastor, I think Luther is right here.

So when God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be a kind of mirror, reflecting His purity and perfection. That’s why man could live forever. That’s why Adam and Eve inherited a world without death and disease, without destruction and sorrow. But then, when Adam and Eve reached out their hands and took the forbidden fruit, when they disobeyed God and fell into sin, the mirror shattered and the image of God was lost in them. Perfection was lost. Holiness was lost. All they had left were the shards of our lost righteousness.

But out of His love for mankind, God would not leave us to tear ourselves to pieces with the jagged remains of our perished glory. Even though we threw away the image of God, God would not throw us away, and He insisted on treating us as though we were still His image bearers. So He sent His Son to restore our image. He sent Christ into the flesh. And there, at Calvary, Jesus pieced the mirror back together. With His nail-pierced hands, He picked up those shattered fragments of the image of God and perfectly fused them back together. With the purifying power of His blood, Jesus Christ restored the image of God in Adam, in Eve, in you and me. 

So, when you received the cross and empty tomb of Jesus in the waters of your baptism, you were given back the image of God. You once again reflected the perfect righteousness of your Father in heaven. And even if you can’t see that when you look at yourself, that’s what your Father sees when He looks at you. Through the blood of Christ, the image of God is restored and you are now worthy to live with your Father forever in the greater garden of paradise.

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