Teaching: 1689 Chapter 4 On the Creation of God: The imago Dei


Teaching notes for Reforming Truth Church's Conference "1689 Chapter 3 On God's Decree", May 18, 2024. These notes will be covering:

Livestream & Recording: Reforming Truth Church

Table of Contents

The Text

Romans 1:20 (CSB) For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

The Prayer

The Chapter

After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change.

The Confession

The imago Dei. The imagebearers of God. In other words, Mankind. The significance of the creation of Mankind cannot be overstated.

After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female

Genesis 1:27 (CSB) So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.

First and foremost, we were made after God was done created everything else. Why is that significant? Because we were never intended to be the same as the other creatures. We were set apart on the sixth day after he made everything else.

Put it another way: he created everything in this world so that when he created mankind, we would have his place to live in. We would have a dwelling and be immediately cared for by him via creation.

Secondly, we were made male and female.

In the year of this teaching, 2024, it can also not be overstated that being made male and female in the image of God is a terribly controversial.

In our brokenness since sin has entered into the world, we have been so desperate in our striving for autonomy--to be apart from God or to find the solution to sin, evil, and brokenness apart from God and in our own way.

So the world has suggested in its solution that perhaps if we could choose our own gender, this would in fact solve the problem that ails us.

So, as the world teaches, we have taken upon ourselves to choose what our gender should be. Let me not mince words: to choose your own gender is a sin against God. For:

Psalms 139:13-14 (CSB)
For it was you who created my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise you
because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.
Your works are wondrous,
and I know this very well.

It was God that formed you in your mother's womb. He stitched you and fashioned you together. He is the one who granted you your intelligence, your soul, you body, your mind and your gender.

This is not we get to choose for ourselves what is right in our own eyes. But rather, from the beginning, we were created in the image of God to bear his image to look like him and to worship him and to enjoy him.

with reasonable and immortal souls

Genesis 2:7 (CSB) Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.

In our reasonableness, he did not make us chaotic beings with no sense and no purpose. We are reasonable creatures with sense as the conscience written on our hearts and the purpose to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Even in our sin and fallen short of the glory of God, we are not so utterly depraved where there is absolutely no hope for our souls. For:

Isaiah 50:2a (CSB) Why was no one there when I came? Why was there no one to answer when I called? Is my arm too weak to redeem?

No, our God alone is mighty to save.

Let me speak on the immortality of the soul. The immortality of our souls that comes from the fact we bear the image of God. Other creatures, do not bear the image of God and therefore do not have immortal souls.

When God created Adam and Eve, he created mankind to live forever and ever and not die.

But the wages of sin is death. When sin was committed, that was not a simple mistake but a trespass against the Holy God that had catastrophic consequences. You might say, "Why would God bring down such harsh judgement over one disobedience? That does not seem merciful."

When God gave mankind the one commandment, "do not disobey or you will die", that was a commandment that bore truthful consequences.

Adam and Eve did sin. But noticed that they didn't drop dead to the ground instantly the moment they sinned.

But what did die? Their spirit. The spirit that was of God departed from them because God does not dwell with sin. Sin has no place with the Holy One.

With that, without the mercies of God, our immortal soul be under the wrath of Christ when our physical bodies expire.

But as soon as sin entered into his creation, the mercies of God were given to us in the his first gospel sermon:

Genesis 3:15 (CSB) I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

That mercy is in Christ alone. Our souls were made to always live forever, never to be undone or uncreated or destroyed. That forever must live somewhere: either in hell under wrath of God or with God with pleasures evermore.

rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created

Ecclesiastes 7:29 (CSB) Only see this: I have discovered that God made people upright, but they pursued many schemes.”

We often say that we are created by God to worship God. What boggles my mind is that God created us to worship him but gave us bodies, minds, wills, and hearts that can worship him.

being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness

And because Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, they were born righteous unto God. They were created holy because he is holy. They had the fullness of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control because they had the Spirit of God dwelling in them.

They could worship God and they did worship God perfectly because they were perfect in God from the start.

Genesis 1:26 (CSB) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it

Romans 2:14–15 (CSB) So, when Gentiles, who do not by nature have the law, do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts either accuse or even excuse them

The commandment of God to Adam:

Genesis 2:16-17 (CSB) And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”

Was a law of God. But the law of God that we know today that could be summarized in the Greatest Commandments, love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself, were written upon the hearts of Adam and Eve. Mankind in Genesis 1 and 2 had no need for the Ten Commandments because God etched it into their consciences. They were born already righteous unto God and were born perfectly obeying him.

and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change

Genesis 3:6 (CSB) The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

We often speak of the devastating consequences of sin.

One of the most damaging outcomes of sin that some Christians tend to forget or ignore is that because of sin, we do not worship God. We tend to not want to worship God. We tend to worship things not God.

We were not born to worship God from the womb--no matter what family we were born into. We were created to worship but because of sin, we tend to worship other things including ourselves.

With sin fracturing everything from the vastness of the cosmos all the way down to our hearts, it would be naive of us to think that somehow our free wills were impervious to the effects of sin.

Our free will is about as free as a prisoner in a prison cell. What ever a prisoner does in the midst of their cell is the limits of the freedom they have.

For our imprisoned wills to choose God, believe God, trust God, and worship God, our wills must be set free by God.

Romans 8:20-21 (CSB) For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly, but because of him who subjected it — in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children.

Unless your have been set free by God, you are not a child of God and have not been set free from the bondage of sin and death. You cannot enjoy the glorious freedom of God because you are not his child.

John 1:12-13 (CSB) But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

Why does it matter that we are made in the image of God?

Mankind. These are the only creation of God that carries the title, "imagebearers of God". In other words, we are made to look like him.

And it pleased the Father, Son, and Spirit for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness to create mankind in his image and from the start, created us two genders, male and female.

After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness

Remember that phrase:

rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God

You and I were created not just to live but live unto a life to God for which we were created. That is the definition of the imago Dei. That is what it means to be made in the image of God and to bear the image of God--we were created to live a life unto God. We were created to worship him.

Your life was a blessing from God. Every part of you.

We are all broken by sin. But still imagebearers and still a great blessing from God.

Yet, we all know that sin has come into this world from the same original imagebearers and broke everything. The world feels that and in today's day and age, the world is trying to convince that if we can fix what is on the outside, that will fix what is on the inside.

That brokenness does not lie on the outside, in your body parts and what you do with your body parts but rather, the brokenness of sin what is going on in your soul and the empty, infinite void in your heart.

I keep repeating over and over again: we are made to worship. But where does that come from?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (CSB) He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end.

You and me--the imagebearers of God who were made to mirror our Creator? We were made to worship him.

That eternal hole in our hearts? We long to have that filled. But because of brokenness of sin upon our hearts, what do we end up worshipping?

We have a hellacious bent to worship created things rather than the Creator. For:

Romans 1:25 (CSB) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

Sin is the problem. Evil is the problem. Our broken hearts need to be healed. Our souls need to be restored. We are dead. We need to live.

And it is such wonder, the God of the Universe, the Creator of heaven, hell, earth, you and me, would perfectly, completely, and fully restore us to himself.

God does this by taken on the created imagebearer for himself. The Son of God came down from heaven, took on flesh, and where Adam completely fail in the beginning, Jesus Christ completely succeeded in every aspect--saving his people from their sins.

The identity, the fulfillment, the worship and the rest we are seeking is Christ alone.

Apart from Christ, who took on flesh, our identity is so wrapped up in what we think we are or what we do. But in Christ, then our identity becomes about who he is and what he has done for us.

Apart from Christ, who took on flesh, we seek fulfillment in pleasure, safety, comfort, or provision. Yet, God is the provider of all those things. You are not in control. We are not sovereign. God is absolutely sovereign.

Apart from Christ, who took on flesh, we strive and work hard for something that will give us nothing in return. Not in our idols, not in our self-identity, nothing.

Our purpose in this life to worship God and enjoy him forever. To do else is a terrible sin against God--it is back breaking, soul crushing, heavy laden and grinds your bones into dust.

When God created mankind, he wanted none weight for us. For he:

rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God

So I end with this: give your worship to God--this is what you were created for. Give him your self-identity and he will give you rest for your weary souls. Give him your despair and he will give you hope. Give him your sin and he will give you his righteousness. Take your pains and put them on him. Let God carry your burdens. He is the only one who is strong enough to take those from you.

You were called to worship him by resting in his precious Son.

And is it any mystery, when the Father and Son made that covenant of grace before the foundation of the world, that the Son would be the one to come down, save us and fulfill what we were created for?

To look like him?

Romans 8:29 (CSB) For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

As C.S. Lewis once quoting Athanasius, "The Son of God became man so that men might become sons of God."

We are imagebearers of God. The evilness, the wickedness, and the sin and the Devil has tried so desperately to break that. But it does not change that we were created to reflect the glory of God and worship him forever. And for those who are in the Son of God, it is the promise of the Father that you will truly and fully bear the image God, to truly and fully look like his Son--because you are his son and you are his daughter forever.