Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sex. God. Part I - "Animals & Angels"

About: This series is a frank discussion on the issues of sex,
sexuality, the myths, the misconceptions, our thinking, and God’s side of the
equation. In these particular parent
devotional copies you will be given an overview of each point in my message,
the scripture I will be speaking on, and some commentary on that Scripture. I will end each of these with a challenge to
you as parents in light of the message.
I hope this helps facilitate an open dialogue with your child on these
issues, while also challenging you as well.
I love the
Discovery Channel. A channel purely
designed to show us the wonder and beauty of the world around us as well as its
ferocity. A few years ago I was watching
a program on Discovery about lions which are incredible animals. They were covering the life of these lions
and at one point they began to delve into their mating season. I remember watching as a male and female lion
would go through this intricate and programmed ritual for hours and even days
before mating. The female lion would
periodically get up and walk back and forth in front of the male, then she
would roll on her back and side, then lay still for a little while, then she
would do it all over again. The narrator
then explained this ritual and how lions are attracted to one another and the
nature of their relationship to help us understand the ritual.
What struck
me so incredibly was the primal aspect of it all. These animals are going to mate because it is
in their DNA, their blood, their environment.
They aren’t lying out in the field wondering if the other lion really
loved them for more than their body.
They aren’t discussing their plans to make a difference in this world,
or the level of their commitment to their relationship. Other than biological functions, there is
nothing else going on. Pure
instinct. No higher plane, no greater
cause, no transcendent purpose.
Biology. Period.
Now imagine
Spring Break for millions of college or even high school students. Flooding places like Cancun, Daytona, the
Caribbean, to drink large amounts of alcohol and have sex with lots of
people. This is the week you let
yourself go, to lose yourself, to give in to your desires and cravings. Because what happens in this particular city,
stays in this particular city. There’s
the pervading sense that if something feels good, it takes precedence over
everything else. So the stories all
start with: party animal, we attacked
each other, basic instinct, etc.
parties aren’t just about having a good time and hooking up with someone, they
raise the questions about what it means to be fully human. The temptation is to ignore your conscience
or sense of a higher purpose, sacrificing what it means to be human. Which leads a person to act like an
animal. The question has to be asked
though, are we the sum total of our urges?
A man named
Paul didn’t think so. You see back in
the days of the New Testament there was a Greek philosophy known as food for
the stomach and stomach for food. This
basically meant that man was really just a collection of their physical needs,
you’re hungry so theirs food to satisfy that hunger, you’re tired so you
sleep. They concluded that sex is just
like food, so when a man was “hungry” we would go to a prostitute saying, “food
for the stomach…” Paul challenges this
way of thinking in the book of 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
“I have the right to do anything,” you
say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I
will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach
and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however,
is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise
us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ
himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a
prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself
with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become
one flesh.”[a] 17
But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.[b]
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a
person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against
their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of
the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not
your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with
your bodies.
Paul challenges
us as human beings to realize that we are more than animals. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul uses this image to challenge us with the
idea that a human isn’t just a collection of urges and needs but is a being
whom God resides in. He’s trying to
elevate our thinking, to change our perspective, to open our view to a higher
view of what it means to be human.
The stomach for
food perspective continues to be the dominate worldview today. The problem with it is that it is rooted in a
low view of human nature. The assumption
behind it is that people are going to have sex because they can’t help
themselves. Its presented as freedom and
honesty and just being who you are and doing what comes naturally, but its
built on the belief that certain things are inevitable. It views people like animals. And so we live with a low-grade sense of
despair, thinking that we are helpless, that this is simply how it is. Nowhere is this despair more on display than
in current sex education curriculums, many of which are based on the premise
that kids are going to do it anyways. If
you deconstruct that thought, what do you get?
A loss of hope. Who decided that
kids or anybody else for that matter are incapable of abstaining?
In a lot of
settings, abstinence programs and commitments to wait till marriage are laughed
at as naïve, and those who promote it are just living in la-la land and aren’t
in the real world. They are told to be
realistic and that people aren’t capable of restraint. But it’s not realism. It’s the voice of despair. It’s the voice that asks, “aren’t we all really
just animals anyways?”
And now for the
angels. If the animal impulse is to give
in and let our cravings rule us, then the angel impulse is the opposite. It’s the denial of the physical and the
failure to acknowledge that our sexuality is central to what makes us
human. Understand, your sexuality does
not define you but is a central part of who you are. To deny that is to deny your humanity.
Angels never talk
about their sexuality, they never acknowledge its existence in their
lives. They push it down, repress it,
burying it deep within their souls. Its
parents who simply never talk to their children about sex, or if they do, they
present it in terms that it is dirty, evil, corrupt, and wrong. It’s no wonder that one of the number one
issue facing Christian marriages today is over the issue of sex. The church has given us so many mixed
messages concerning sex that we are paralyzed in the face of it.
So for many the
answer is to simply push it away, deny its impact in our lives, and live, well,
like angels. We construct rigid walls
around ourselves and our loved ones concerning sex. It reminds me of an interview that was given
with Hugh Hefner a few years ago. Many
don’t know that Hugh was actually raised in a home where his parents taught
that sex was for procreation only and everything else was sin. His parents were pretending to be
angels. His parents were
prohibitionists, puritanical, they never hugged, never kissed, never showed
affection to anyone. This lack of
affection and a denial of their sexuality pushed Hugh into a life that was
consumed by sex and affection, a world where he created Playboy. In reaction to this denial he headed to the
other end of the spectrum.
Living in the Tension:
The simple truth
of the matter is, we are neither animals nor angels. The creation poem in Genesis 1 tells us that
God created animals before us, and something significant happens in creation of
people that doesn’t happen in the creation of animals: people are created in God’s image. We have a spiritual dimension to us that
animals simply don’t have. Have you ever
seen a dog concerned that his life simply wasn’t going anywhere? A cat reflecting? A horse that didn’t feel centered? Animals have a physical body but no spirit.
The book of Job
tells us that angels were created before humans as well, and Hebrews says that
Angels are spirits. An angel is a being
with a spirit but without a body. When
we deny the spiritual dimension to our existence, we end up living like
animals. When we deny the physical,
sexual dimension to our existence, we end up living like angels. Both ways are equally destructive because God
made us human. He made us to live in the
enough, there was a group of early religious people in a city called Ephesus that
saw the powerful sexual forces that we carry within us and the trouble that it
can get us into. They concluded that
since sex is so dangerous it should be avoided all together. But to avoid sex, you need to avoid romance
and affection that comes with it, and of course you’re going to have to do away
with marriage altogether because that’s tied to it as well. So this religious group banned its followers
from getting married. They also made
lists of food that their followers couldn’t eat for fear that they would eat
something that had been sacrificed to a pagan god.
The problem was,
anytime things got ethically complicated, anytime there was something to be
held in tension, they simply avoided the issue.
Instead of clarifying the issue, they would simply throw the whole thing
out. Paul however, saw things a little differently. In his first letter to Timothy he challenges
this thinking in 1 Timothy 4:1-5:
The Spirit clearly says that in later
times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things
taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through
hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain
from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those
who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything
God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with
thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the
word of God and prayer.
Paul’s point is brilliant. He makes the distinction between something
that is good because God created it, like sex, and the abuse of it. People may have seriously distorted the good
gift that sex is, but that doesn’t mean that sex is wrong. For everything God created is good, and
nothing is to be rejected if it is received in thanksgiving, because it is
consecrated by the Word of God and prayer.
The way that we keep things in check, the way
that we live in the tension between animals and angels is found in this
Scripture. God created sex and so sex is
inherently a good thing. The keys to
keeping sex a good thing is three fold:
Receive the gift of sex and sexuality with gratitude to God – It is not
because we are animals that we are sexual beings, but because God created sex
and humans to enjoy it. Thankfulness to
God in this area automatically rights our thinking to focus on God rather than
our desires and urges.
Use the Word of God as our guide – If God created sex then it makes
sense that the guide to understanding sex and our sexuality is found in his
direct words to us which happens to be the Bible. We have to study, reflect, and discuss what
his word says about sex and sexuality.
This is done together in community, not alone.
Use prayer to focus your lives and thoughts – To live in the tension
between animal and angel requires a focus that is achieved only in
communicating with God. Prayer doesn’t
necessarily change your situation, but it does change you. It connects you with your spiritual side
which helps you keep sex and sexuality in balance.
The thing we all need to understand in this
room tonight is that everyone on this planet struggles with the tension of
their sexuality and the issue of sex. We
all have different struggles, with different circumstances, but we all
struggle. Our natural inclination is to
bottle these struggles and forces, and urges up within us, to repress them and
hold them down. This isn’t healthy, and
ultimately will lead to absolute failure.
You have to talk about these things, to get them out in the open, or you
will begin to die on the inside. To
openly confront your failures, your denials, your problems, your struggles, is
to embrace your humanity.
Some of the most comforting words in the
universe are, “me too.” That moment when
you find out that your struggle between the animal impulses and the angelic
denials is also someone else’s struggle, that you’re not alone, and that others
are on this same road.
I hope that you will find this message
challenging, because it is designed to be.
Let me be perfectly honest, your teenager cannot afford for you to
demonize, demagogue, or neglect the issue of sex and sexuality in their
lives. Just because you are
uncomfortable talking about this subject doesn’t mean you can simply ignore
it. Your child right now in their lives
are experiencing changes, challenges, and hormones that are powerful. If they don’t have the tools to live in the
tension of these biological realities and the higher purpose that God has
called them to, they will fail miserably.
As parents we must model this tension in our marriages, our lives, and
our speech. It’s not enough to simply
tell your child about Godly sexuality, but you must also model what a healthy
intimate relationship looks like. They
don’t need to see repression in action, but rather healthy Godly expression.
to ask yourselves as parents:
How have we unconsciously and consciously modeled sexuality and intimacy
to our children?
How do we as parents live in the tension between animal & angels in
our own lives?
What concrete things can we do to model a healthy Godly view of
sexuality to our child through action and speech?

Questions to ask your teenager:
Do you think it’s really possible for people to restrain themselves
sexually? Why or why not?
Why then do you think the world says it’s not possible? Does that offend you in any way that they
think you’re nothing more than an animal?
Do you think we as your parents view sex as a good thing or a bad thing
(allow them to really give an answer and not to pressure this helps you see if
you’re doing an effective job of modeling godly sexuality)? Why do you think that?
Do you think sex is a good thing or a bad thing? Why?
What is one thing we as your parents can do (other than never talking
about this subject again which some will say, its ok to laugh here) to help you in this area?

Saturday, December 18, 2010



Perhaps there is no book in the entirety of the Bible that is more misunderstood, or for that matter the source of greater biblical conflict than that of Ecclesiastes. Where some see nothing more than the nihilistic musings of the world’s most famous pessimist, others see an underlying positivism that pervades the majority of the book. No consensus can be found on who exactly the author is of the book. Where some see Solomonic authorship as very plausible, others see a post-exilic date of composition, which would make it impossible for Solomon to be the author. Debate does not stop at the watershed of specific authorship, but also the amount of authors or editors who had a hand in it. Some see a singular composition, others multiple sources, still others see multiple editors, and others see redactors. What is abundantly clear is that agreement can only be made in the fact that no agreement can be made.

Scholarly and philosophical debate has also come to blows over the centuries over the meaning of Ecclesiastes as well. The question itself may be simple enough; what did the author or authors of Ecclesiastes mean to convey to their readers at the time it was written and to us as current readers? The problem does not lie in the question, but rather in the answers. Many answers can be found concerning this question, but is there one answer that seems to be the umbrella meaning for this specific book? Is there an overarching theme that seems to be present in the text that all other answers can easily fit into? The answer is a most resounding yes! As will be seen throughout this paper we will show that the overarching message of Ecclesiastes is the simply the nature of life itself. The author is literally walking the reader through his journey of life and all of his hollow attempts to find fulfillment, only to come to the conclusion in the end of where fulfillment truly lies. Our first task is to look at the central terminology that is at the heart of the book itself, as this will color our perception of its message.


The author of Ecclesiastes opens the entire book with a somewhat pessimistic phrase that seems to set the tone for the rest of the text. This pessimist’s manifesto is found in Ecclesiastes 1:2: “Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."[1] The word hebel is used 38 times within the text of Ecclesiastes, so it is critical to understanding its message.[2] If one were to see the word vanity it would surely seem to connote the idea of futility and meaninglessness, but a closer look at the Hebrew word used here is required. Qoheleth uses the Hebrew word hebel here which is translated as either vanity or meaningless. Is this the correct translation though? Hebel has many possible translations, such as: brevity and insubstantiality, emptiness, vapor, soon to be ended, unreliability, frailty, or breath.[3] Hebel though happens to also be the name of Abel, the son of Adam and Eve, and the brother of Cain.[4] This would seem to be a critical connection to the use of this word in Ecclesiastes as its connection would most definitely not have been lost on the author himself.

We can also see many connection points between the concept of hebel as it is found in Ecclesiastes and Abel’s life and death. First we see Qoheleth’s definite focus on the issue of death, which makes this reference to Abel even more plausible in that Abel was the first human recorded in the Bible as dying.[5] It is not hard to make the case that through the story of Abel we are confronted with the frailty and mortality of man itself for the very first time.

We can also see that Abel’s life was not futile in any sense of the word, as he was the first human being who was also liked by God.[6] Abel presented God with an acceptable sacrifice, and although his life was cut short and was fleeting in nature, it was not meaningless or futile in any sense of the word. In fact, one could argue that even Qoheleth understood that to be liked by God was the key to a meaningful life (Ecc. 12:13). If we are to look at hebel from the connection it has to Abel we would clearly render the meaning of the word as vapor, mist, short, or a breath of wind.

So the question remains, what is the exact meaning of the word hebel? Does it mean futile and meaningless, or mist and vapor? How we define this term is critical to how we see the rest of the book itself. If one is to see hebel as meaning futile or vanity, than the book of Ecclesiastes will be seen as a pessimistic treatise on the meaninglessness of life itself. If one sees it as connected to Abel and his story in Genesis, thus embedded with the sense that life is fleeting, then Ecclesiastes would be seen as instruction on the fulfillment of life in view of its brevity.

After looking at the evidence, it is hard to conclude that the writer of Ecclesiastes with his preoccupation with death itself, would not have drawn from the well of Abel to fill out the definition of his use of the term hebel. At the same time, by his double usage of the word within the text it is also easy to see that the author is attempting to show the reader that not only is life short, but due to that shortness it is futile as well. To the author of Ecclesiastes, life is but a vapor, and thus the meaning of life is at its core futile at best. Thus vapor becomes the ultimate organizing metaphor for the human existence.[7] This is what the author means when he talks most passionately about vanity.


Now that the author has set the reader up with the mental attitude that life is both short and futile, he begins to take the reader on his journey through life to find the meaning of his existence. It is neither a happy nor fulfilling journey to say the least. His quest takes him through five earthly attempts to find meaning: philosophy, hedonism, materialism, ethics, and religion. A closer look at each is warranted.


Using Solomon as his example in life’s quest for meaning, he starts naturally with the quest of philosophy.[8] Solomon himself was known for his astounding wisdom, so it would be only natural for Qoheleth to begin here.[9] We see this journey take form in Ecclesiastes 1:12:

And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.[10]

It seems that the product of Qoheleth’s search for wisdom was grievous in nature, and truly negative. Solomon’s quest was not simply one-sided either, as he studied folly as closely as wisdom (Ecc. 2:12). The results of his study were also shocking; there was as much futility in wisdom as there was in folly. In typical fashion for a teacher, Qoheleth gives the students the outcome of his quest before he delves into the details, “Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.” (Ecc. 1:18).[11] In short, his quest for knowledge and wisdom only led to the realization of grief, pain, and ultimately death itself. Qoheleth saw that God deliberately didn’t give people the knowledge they needed in order to life a successful life.[12]His rejection of wisdom was an understanding that wisdom was unable to make life meaningful in and of itself. His quest for meaning was fruitless.


Solomon though would quickly pivot in his search from philosophy to hedonism. If he couldn’t find meaning in increased knowledge, perhaps he could do so in the quest for increased pleasure. Here Solomon was also aptly supplied in his quest. As king he had access to vast wealth, power, and others. If one were going to exhaust himself on this quest it would be Solomon.

Hedonism is not a far jump when one is unfulfilled and unhappy. In fact it easily makes sense that someone would turn to such a thing as pleasure during this time. The results though would be much the same as the quest of philosophy; empty and ultimately futile. We see this quest most clearly in Ecclesiastes 2:1: “I said to myself, “come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also is vanity.” Solomon would hold nothing back in this quest, he had wine, women and song; gardens, slaves, pools, and cattle.[13] However, all these amazing trinkets and pleasures could not hold his fascination for very long.

It is in this section of Qoheleth’s quest that much debate takes place. Many scholars see his philosophy in (2:24-26) as simply believing that life is meaningless so we should seek pleasure in the small moments of life.[14] However, we can see from the very first verse concerning the quest for pleasure that Qoheleth too is condemning this pursuit as meaningless. One can clearly see the essence of what Qoheleth is teaching here is that pleasure is ultimately fleeting and pointless, and should not be the primary purpose and aim of our life, yet it is also a small conciliation concerning earthly pursuits.


Shortly after seeing the emptiness that pleasure brought, Solomon would then turn his full attention to accumulation of wealth and power. His would be a quest for ultimate riches which in itself leads to great power. Here again we see that Solomon is uniquely suited for this quest in that he has the vast resources of his kingdom as well as his wisdom to aid him in this most earthly quest. We see the essence of this quest most clearly in Ecclesiastes 2:8: “I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.” No mention of how his wealth was used is mentioned within the text itself, and in the end whether used for good or for bad, it still was empty. This demonstrated that wealth had no inherent goodness or satisfaction within it.[15]

Power would shortly follow his journey for wealth: “I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me (Ecc. 2:9).” Eaton believes that the greatness being referred to here is specifically tied to Solomon’s vast wealth.[16] Power here is greater than mere pleasure because when one has power, they have power over pleasure and can access that pleasure anytime.[17] Wealth however could buy many things, but in the end Solomon would find that the one thing it could not buy was meaning and purpose.


Next we see that Qoheleth’s journey takes a somewhat new and novel turn from the self-centered approach of wisdom, pleasure, and power. Here the reader sees Solomon begin to test the area of relationships in his life. He would begin this by espousing the importance of relationships in Ecclesiastes 4:9-11:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

We can see a definite shift in philosophy and focus here as it no longer is simply about the individual, and their quest, but also relationships and their strengths. Solomon makes this transition by marking how a lonely man who had amassed great wealth by working hard had no one to share his toil and spoils with.

However this reliance upon relationships and family is also meaningless and empty in the end because Solomon wonders whether they will be wise or foolish with what he has amassed (Ecc. 2:18-19). Therefore, he concludes that relationships cause more worry and grief and in the end are in and of themselves meaningless.


In giving up all hope for earthly meaning in his other endeavors, Solomon then turns to the God of reason and nature. He sees a God of cause and affect. Things he cannot accept, understand, or agree with, merely should be thought of as from God himself. We see religion’s influence upon the writer concerning God in Ecclesiastes 7:13-15:

“Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these.”

In the end his beliefs about God deny any hope of a genuine faith and introduces a cold religion that at its best is a superstition that reduces God down to a mere First Cause.[18] Solomon sees God as nothing more than an unknowable quantity that lets the righteous perish and the wicked prosper. His beliefs inform his practices. He encourages a luke-warm religion where one is to be tepid at best, only doing what is required of them. His quest for religion left him with above all a meaningless God that demands and requires little of those who serve him.

Earthly Conclusions

The writer of Ecclesiastes clearly shows the reader the results of all of these fruitless journeys for significance: meaninglessness. Solomon would give five main reasons why all the earthly pursuits and quests are in the end vain and empty. Kreeft sums them up best: 1. the sameness and indifference of all things, 2. death as the final and certain end to life, 3. time as a cycle of endless repetition, 4. evil as the perennial and unsolvable problem, 5. God as the unknown mystery.[19]

What must be clearly understood here is that the author of Ecclesiastes is not stating that all of life is meaningless, but this earthly approach to life is. Many draw a broad conclusion that Qoheleth is indeed a pessimist, when truly all he is doing is thoroughly analyzing a common approach to life, and in the end proving how inadequate it is to answer the basic question of meaning for anyone. His conclusion is decisive and slamming. An earthly approach simply does not work, and will lead to nothing but emptiness.


There is however another message that lies within the pages of Ecclesiastes that often times is overlooked, another quest if you will. While Qoheleth sees that the life of one who pursues all that the world has to off will in the end be both short and meaningless, he is not without hope. For just as there is nothing under the sun that can truly satisfy, there is something above the sun that can, God himself. We are given this quest with the final verses of the book this enigmatic book in the 13th and 14th verses of Ecclesiastes 12: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

It is most fitting that the entire book, or the conclusion of the whole matter as the author (or perhaps final editor) puts it, is summed up with the whole of Hebrew wisdom itself, to fear the Lord. Though God’s ways may be unknown to us, though life may be fleeting and hard at times, though we walk in doubt and ignorance, we must walk understanding that everything we do will have some eternal significance.

The significance of our lives then is not found in our trivial earthly pursuits, but rather in their eternal consequences. In short, God makes all of our actions meaningful. This is why we are implored by the author of Ecclesiastes to find God in the details of our daily lives; this offers the readers the dread and delight of the everyday, and the glory of the mundane.[20] The author here is pointing the reader to the true crux of life itself: a right relationship with God, obedience, and a proper understanding of our future judgment.[21]

What does one say when confronted with the fact that clearly this epilogue seems to be a later edition to the text, and is not the original teaching of Qoheleth? While this may in fact be true, it does not change our analysis of Ecclesiastes as a whole. First there is much disagreement over how many authors or editors even contributed to this book, and secondly, we must take the text as a whole the way we have it, as it is found in the canon. We cannot simply escape the conclusion of this work simply because we are unsure about authorship. At minimum what one could say is that the final editor agreed with Qoheleth’s teaching but added the caveat that while it is true that life with an under the sun mentality is fruitless and empty, one spent chasing God in obedience is not.

We can also not forget that Qoheleth himself encourages his students to remember God while they are young (Ecc. 12:1). To remember God is no simple act of the mind, but recognition of our own inability, and a commitment to God himself.[22] So regardless of what one feels about the final section of Ecclesiastes, we can easily see Qoheleth looking above the sun as well.

The truth could not be simpler, God makes our lives significant. It is not in the chasing of pleasure, power, wisdom, relationships, or even religion, but in the chasing of God. Our meaning, fulfillment, and purpose are all found in our Creator, not in any of his creation. God alone gives meaning.


In looking through the entire book of Ecclesiastes we can see a message of negativism, pessimism, and defeat. However, this is not the only message found within its pages. There is also a message of hope, love, and meaning. The crux is whether we as the readers are on the right path to finding it. Each reader stands at a fork in the proverbial road of life, and Qoheleth is the voice calling out in the darkness that we should all heed. He is calling out to each and every one of us that down the road of the world lies nothing but heartache, suffering, and in the end nothing. Down the other road we find nothing short of fulfillment within God himself. The choice is up to us.

At the heart of Ecclesiastes is the message that each person must choose which path they are going to take. It is this choice we are each presented with: to live life with our eyes under the sun (which in the end leads to death), or to truly live with our eyes above the sun and on God. That is the message of Ecclesiastes, which path will you choose?


Bullock, Hassell. An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books. Revised ed. Chicago:IL: Moody Publishers, 2007.

Dillard, Raymond, Tremper Longman, and T. Longman III. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: MI: Apollos, 1995.

Dor-Shav, Ethan. "Ecclesiastes, fleeting and timeless. Part II." Jewish Bible Quarterly 37, no. 1 (January 1, 2009): 17-23. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 17, 2010).

Eaton, Michael A. Ecclesiastes (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries). Reprint ed. IL: IVP Academic, 2009.

Kidner, Derek. The Message of Ecclesiastes (Bible Speaks Today). Leicester, England.: IVP Academic, 1984.

Kreeft, Peter. Three Philosophies of Life: Ecclesiastes, Life As Vanity Job, Life As Suffering Song of Songs, Life As Love. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989.

Longman, Tremper, III. "Challenging the idols of the twenty-first century: the message of the book of Ecclesiastes." Stone-Campbell Journal 12, no. 2 (September 1, 2009): 207-216. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed December 17, 2010).

Lucas, Ernest C. Exploring the Old Testament, Volume 3: A Guide to the Psalms and Wisdom Literature (Exploring the Bible: Old Testament). IL: IVP Academic, 2008.

Parsons, Greg W. "Guidelines for understanding and proclaiming the book of Ecclesiastes. part 1." Bibliotheca sacra 160, no. 638 (April 1, 2003): 159-173. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 17, 2010).

Shuster, Martin. "Being as breath, vapor as joy: using Martin Heidegger to re-read the book of Ecclesiastes." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 33, no. 2 (December 1, 2008): 219-244. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 17, 2010).

[1] NASV

[2]Dor-Shav, Ethan, “Ecclesiastes, fleeting and timeless Part I”, Jewish Bible Quarterly 37, no. 1, pg. 215.

[3] Michael Eaton, Ecclesiasties, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. IVP Academics, IL: 2009. Pg. 66.

[4] Dor-Shav, Ethan, “Ecclesiastes, fleeting and timeless Part I”, Jewish Bible Quarterly 37, no. 1, pg. 215.

[5] Ibid, Pg. 215.

[6] Ibid, 216.

[7] Shuster, Martin. 2008. "Being as breath, vapor as joy: using Martin Heidegger to re-read the book of Ecclesiastes." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 33, no. 2, Pg. 238

[8]Derek Kidner, The Message of Ecclesiastes (Bible Speaks Today) (Leicester, England.: IVP Academic, 1984), pg. 28.

[9] Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life: Ecclesiastes, Life As Vanity Job, Life As Suffering Song of Songs, Life As Love (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), page 38.

[10] NASV

[11] NASV.

[12] Ernest C. Lucas, Exploring the Old Testament, Volume 3: A Guide to the Psalms and Wisdom Literature (Exploring the Bible: Old Testament) (IL: IVP Academic, 2008), page 168.

[13]Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life: Ecclesiastes, Life As Vanity Job, Life As Suffering Song of Songs, Life As Love (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), page. 40.

[14] Longman, Tremper, III. 2009. "Challenging the idols of the twenty-first century: the message of the book of Ecclesiastes." Stone-Campbell Journal 12, no. 2. pg. 212.

[15] Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books, Revised ed. (Chicago:IL: Moody Publishers, 2007), page 198.

[16] Michael Eaton, Ecclesiasties, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. IVP Academics, IL: 2009. Pg. 79.

[17] Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life: Ecclesiastes, Life As Vanity Job, Life As Suffering Song of Songs, Life As Love (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), page 41.

[18] Derek Kidner, The Message of Ecclesiastes (Bible Speaks Today) (Leicester, England.: IVP Academic, 1984), pg. 69.

[19] Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life: Ecclesiastes, Life As Vanity Job, Life As Suffering Song of Songs, Life As Love (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), page 45.

[20] Greg Parsons, “Guidelines for understanding and proclaiming the book of Ecclesiastes, Part 1.” Bibliotheca Sacra 160, no. 638, Pg. 169.

[21] Raymond Dillard, Tremper Longman and T. Longman III, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: MI: Apollos, 1995), page 287.

[22] Derek Kidner, The Message of Ecclesiastes (Bible Speaks Today) (Leicester, England.: IVP Academic, 1984), pg. 100.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Implications of the Fall & Regeneration


Over the centuries no greater subject has been the object of debate and discussion than that of the image of God within man. Little agreement has been made regarding this issue that is at the heart of many doctrines concerning the believer. Is the image substantive, functional, or relational in nature? What affect did the fall of man have regarding the image? Is the image of God something that regenerates within the believer as part of their spiritual journey? These questions and more need to be answered if we are to truly grasp the fullness of this issue.

At the heart of this doctrine is the creation account as found in the first chapter of the book of Genesis. It is here we see, in the 26th and 27th verses the locus of the image of God in man:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

It is with these verses in mind that much debate has taken place, and will continue to do so.

While many theologians have attempted to amplify the total depravity of man at the expense of the image of God in man, in that the image was almost totally lost or so badly tarnished as to no longer be recognizable after the fall, this position holds little biblical weight to support it. While clearly the affects of the fall did in fact have an effect on the image of God within man, the total depravity of man does not compete with or diminish the image of God in man to the extent that is believed. In order to see a more harmonistic approach to these two vital theological topics one must look at the nature of the image of God in man, the implications of the fall of man, and the regeneration of man as it applies to both the fall and the image of God.

It is the components of the nature of the image of God in man, the affects of the fall, and the implications of regeneration, that will be focused on throughout the rest of this paper to find what exactly is at the heart of this most critical doctrine.

The Nature of the Image of God in Man

The first question that must be satisfactorily answered is what exactly is the nature of God in man? The answer to this question will determine in many ways the outcome of the other categories as well. If the image is substantive or structural in nature than it is inherent in humanity and cannot be lost. If it is functional than it is only present in the act of functioning and thus can be lost without the act itself. If it is relational in nature than the image is a choice that is determined by each person. As one can easily see, determining the nature of the image is of critical importance.

Let us first look at the three options available to us before we make such a determination. The first theory that has been held the longest by theologians but is not necessarily looked at as strongly today is that the image of God is substantive in nature. This view identifies the image as some definite characteristic or quality within the human.[1] It is inherent with humanity. What must be noted here is that there is a plethora of views concerning just what that characteristic or quality is within man. Some view it as the physical ability of man to walk upright, while other view it as a psychological or spiritual quality in humans, while still others see it as man’s ability to reason. Clark would assert that it is indeed reason in that this view preserves the unity of man and saves theologians from splitting the image into multiple parts.[2]

It must also be noted that in the beginning many early theologians thought of the image of God in dualistic terms. This is due to the fact that in the Genesis account the word image and likeness is used. Origen would be the first to hold to this view as he saw the image as something given immediately at creation, while the likeness was given by God at a later time.[3] Irenaeus would take this duality even further in his theology, believing that the image was humanity’s resemblance to God (specifically the powers of reason and will), and the likeness was a gift added by God later.[4] However, this thinking does not rightly interpret the text as it is seen in Genesis 1:26, in that image and likeness reinforce one another, and the author does not use them as two distinct expressions.[5]

While there is much variation within the substantive view the agreement can be made that the image in man is within man, and is inherent in a quality or characteristic. It is not something man does, or chooses, but rather is.

The next view concerning the nature of the image of God in man is the functional one. Theologians who espouse this view of the image of God believe that man’s chief uniqueness isn’t in their characteristics or relationships, but rather in their function as it relates to the rest of creation.[6] Proponents of this view hold that verse 26 and 27 in Genesis chapter 1 are conjoined and that when the author states that God made man in his image, that image is man’s dominion over the earth. As Stephen Herring so aptly puts it:

“The function or purpose of making humanity as the extension of the deity is found in the blessing to create a humanity which produces progeny in keeping with that image and likeness, and, further, is to subdue and rule over the cosmic temple.”[7]

Humans then only exercise the image of God in the act of their dominion or procreation, it is not something within them, but an action made possible only by God himself. Just as God himself rules over the entire Cosmos with absolute sovereignty, man rules over the earth as his appointed representatives. It is in this act of dominion that the image of God is present within man. This view draws heavily from the philosophical thinking known as pragmatism which stresses function and purpose over all else.[8]

The final view concerning the image of God in man would be the relational view. This view holds that the image of God in man is displayed when practiced within a particular relationship, which in fact is the image itself. One of the most famous theologians to hold this view would be Karl Barth. Barth believed that man was created capable of action and responsibility in relation to God, a partner as it were although not in the fullness or same level as God. Thus in man’s ability to act in relation to God, others, and creation, they manifest a similarity to God.[9] Barth saw the image of God as consisting of not only the vertical relationship between humanity and God, but also in the horizontal relationship between humans themselves.[10] This means that in humans the quality that resembles the divine original is relationship, such as it exists within the Trinity.[11]

This places the image of God squarely on the side of choice. Individual humans exercise whether or not they wish to have relationship with God and others, and thus choose whether or not to exhibit the image of God. Put simply, humanity chooses whether to resemble God or not.

A more critical look at each of these views is warranted. Substantialists run into trouble on a few different fronts. The first being their penchant for dualistically approaching the concepts of image and likeness as found in Genesis chapter one. While it is true that the author of Genesis did in fact use two different terms in these verses, they do not spell out two different concepts. To read this into the text is to stretch the true sense of the text too far.

Another potential weakness within the substantialist view is idea that the image is a physical manifestation within man; most notably held by Mormons. That the image of God in man is physical in nature is a direct contradiction to the make-up of God as He clearly has no body.

As far as the functional view is concerned, it misplaces the role of the divine image within man. The dominion over all creatures is not the content of the image, but the consequence of it.[12] The image is not the act of dominion itself, but rather man has the ability to rule over creation precisely because of the image of God placed within them. To put it simply, when a young boy sees his father mowing the lawn and then begin to mimic him, we do not say he is in his father’s image, but rather that the young boy is acting like his father. The act of the young boy does not imply image. The young boy is in the image of his father because he is his offspring, not because he is mowing the yard in mimicry. This also holds true concerning the concept of the divine image in man. Man is not made in the image of God because we copy a characteristic (in a much lesser degree) of Him, but it is because we are his creation.

One aspect of the functional view has brought focus though to a very important issue concerning Imago Dei and the relationship that this doctrine has to ecological responsibility. Man has been put over creation to have dominion over it, and as such humanity must maintain a conscious about our stewardship and how we as rulers in fact, rule. I would wholeheartedly agree with David Bryant when he states that the image of God in man, “also gives humanity a unique responsibility before God and requires self-awareness, freedom, and creativity.”[13] One could in fact goes as far as Niskanen, in saying that human rulership over creation could be a finger pointing to the image of God.[14]

Finally, we look more critically at the relational view. While it answers many questions concerning the image of God in man, in many ways it mirrors the functional approach. Man is in God’s image only when he is acting in relationship to God or others. The function of relationship is the locus of the image. It is precisely man’s ability to have a relationship that is in fact the image of God in them. This makes God’s image a choice rather than an attribute. I choose whether or not I will have relationship with God. Barth’s counter to this, that man is in constant relationship with God whether it be negative or positive is weak at best. How is no relationship negative? If I choose not to have relationship with another person, how is that negative. It has a sum zero impact. Would this not apply to God as well?

Having looked at all these views of the image of God in man, it is easy to see that clearly the divine image is substantive in nature, rather than functional or relational. While one can appreciate what these other approaches have brought to the table concerning the image of God in man, they clearly have more holes and lack sufficient biblical support to back their claims up. The image of God is something that we are, not something that we have or do.[15]

This view is not without its dangers or pitfalls. One must be quick to understand that there is in fact a unity between image and likeness as they are found in Genesis one. Secondly, one must guard themselves from narrowing in on the nature of the image of God too much. It becomes very easy to attempt to singularize or minimize the image of God in man into one concept or one area, where clearly no distinctions reside. The Bible does not clarify the exact nature of the image in the sense that it is this or that component. It could in fact be many components or characteristics, or it could be singular in nature. Without clear biblical support it is impossible to know for sure.

Now that we have a clearer understanding of the nature of the divine image in man, it is critical to look at the implications of this nature as it applies to the fall of man. Here we will look at the sustainability of the image of God.

The Divine Image and the Fall of Man

What must be asked now, after determining the nature of the Imago Dei, is what affect if any, did original sin and the fall of man have upon it. Here again much debate has been brought forth with little consensus being found. What’s at stake here is whether or not the divine image can be lost, forfeited, or chosen. Is it something given by God that can easily be taken back, or is it something inherent in man regardless of the fall? These are critical questions to look at because they truly cut to the heart of man and theologically how we see humanity.

As theologians over the centuries began to grapple with the consequences of sin, beginning as early as Augustine as he faced off against pelagianism, more and more the doctrine of total depravity came into focus. Total depravity is a belief that because of the effects of the fall of man, the original fellowship with God has been broken and man’s entire nature has been corrupted.[16] Those who adhere to total depravity also believe that this corruption afforded by the fall spread to the entire nature of man, leaving nothing untouched in its wake, including the divine image. Simply put, Imago Dei was sacrificed at the altar of total depravity. No longer did man carry the image of God as it was originally intended, but it is somehow marred, lost, broken, or forfeited.[17]

Irenaeus, who was a proponent of total depravity, believed that God had always intended to give humanity a share of his divine nature, but over time as it would take some getting used to. This belief sprung from his differentiation between image and likeness that was talked about earlier. He believed that man forfeited their opportunity to share in this divine nature by sinning, and grasping for what can only be given.[18] Thus, the fall of man into sin destroyed a major component of the image of God in man.

The question needs to be asked though, does the doctrine of total depravity where man is no longer capable of doing good on his own demand that the image of God within man be destroyed, tarnished, or broken? Secondly, is there any biblical support for the destruction of this doctrine? The answers are a resounding no.

Let’s look at the biblical data first regarding humanity after the fall regarding the divine image. The first such verse is found in Genesis 9:6: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” Here we have a verse in Genesis that comes after Adam and Eve’s original sin that once again strongly states that man is made in the image of God. Not only does this verse state such, but is tied to a direct law by God that no man should kill another precisely because man is still in God’s image. All life is God’s and even more so human life. At minimum one could gather that the author of Genesis himself did not believe that the divine image was lost after the fall. At best, without arguing for the inspiration of Scripture, one can see that God himself does not believe that his image has been lost in man. We are left with no ambiguity here; God does not state that we still bear a flawed or partial image of him, or that we have a tarnished image, but we are still in the image of God.

One can also see the concept of image being present through the use of “children of the Lord,” or, “children of God,” throughout the Bible (Deut. 14:1). Just as a child bears the image of their parent, so the children of God bear his image as well.

Another critical verse to look at is found in Ephesians 4:22-24:

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

This verse has been used many times to show that according to Paul the image of God had been lost in man and there was a need for regeneration of it. This, however, distorts the context of the text and the purpose for which Paul is writing. Paul is not asserting that the divine image has been lost, but rather that man is lost in sin. The “old self” as it were is corrupted and polluted, but the “new self”, which believers inherit when they come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, makes them more and more like God in the ways of righteousness and holiness.

If one were to say that Paul is talking about the doctrine of Imago Dei here, they would also have to come to the conclusion that according to Pauline theology the image was righteousness and holiness. It’s not God’s image that is at stake here, but rather his nature and qualities. The fall of man then damaged man’s nature and way of life, hindering humanity’s ability to be like God in righteousness and holiness.

Another verse that is looked up concerning the image of God within man is also by Paul, and is found in Colossians 3:9-10: “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” This verse speaks more strongly concerning the image of God than the previous one in Ephesians. However, is Paul talking about the doctrine of Imago Dei, or is this another example of Paul alluding to a new life in Jesus Christ as opposed to the old life that was dead in sin? A closer examination of the text is warranted.

What is abundantly clear here is that Paul is talking to the Colossians about the opposing lifestyles concerning their old sinful habits and way of life versus their new lives as they are found in Jesus Christ. Humanity in sin is out of shape and distorts everything whether by manipulation, anger, or lying. Once they accept the new life in Christ they are straightened out as it were by the perfect example set forth in Christ.[19] This is an all too familiar doctrine of Paul’s; since one has been renewed, they should live like a renewed person.[20] The standard for this renewal that Paul talks about is none other than the image of the one who created it.[21]

Paul is clearly not talking about the doctrine of Imago Dei here, but rather the nature or qualities of the new self that we put on in Jesus Christ. That new self is renewed in the knowledge of the image of its creator, not man himself. To be renewed then in accordance with the image of God really refers to the process of becoming more and more like Christ.[22] To draw the conclusion from Colossians that the divine image is in disrepair or distorted within man is to read too much into the text that simply isn’t there. It is the new life in Christ that is renewed in the image of its creator, not the divine image.

In looking at the biblical data that is presented to the reader one can clearly see that there is no biblical support for the distortion or destruction of the Image of God within man. If anything, Genesis 9 shows that the divine image is still very much present within humanity after the fall. The only logical conclusion to draw from Scriptures is the view of a sustained image of God within man. Man did in fact fall, man did in fact distort and corrupt many things, but through the fall and original sin, man maintained and continues to maintain the divine image.

The question then becomes, can the doctrines of total depravity and sustained Imago Dei coexist? Like most circumstances in life, the answer lies a little more in the middle than one would think. While it can be agreed that Augustine was right in declaring that man was incapable of doing good for good’s sake, and that man was rightly totally bad after the fall, this does not mean that God’s image is no longer with humanity. Perhaps a little license is due to pelagianism in the arena of this critical doctrine. While man is totally corrupt and in the absolute wrong, he still bears the indelible mark of the Creator. While the fall of man effectively tarnished the entire nature of man, it did not destroy or hurt God’s image. These are not contradictory views in the least.

The Divine Image in Regards to Regeneration

In answering the critical question of whether or not the fall of man had a direct and negative consequence on Imago Dei, we have in affect, answered the question of what role regeneration plays within this doctrine. Since the image of God has not been tarnished or destroyed by the fall, it stands to reason that man is not in need of regenerating, as it were, through salvation.

While man is not in need of regeneration in regards to the inherent image within, there is a most definite link between renewal and the process of living up to the image that we bear. For example, we cannot state that Paul is delving into the topic of the divine image in Colossians 3:10, but what we can see is that Paul is overly concerned with those who have put on their new life, that they live a life that lives up to the image of it’s Creator. That same image is not only in the new life, but is also found inherently within all of humanity. According to Paul, old humanity which is lost in sin is incapable of living up to the new life which is based on the image of its creator. Those who have accepted the new life though are perfectly capable of living that life out though. This coincides very nicely with what the writer of Genesis was alluding to concerning Imago Dei.

In drawing parallels with other near eastern cultures concerning the concept of the divine image, the writer of Genesis was showing that humanity was and is little statues or representations of God on this earth.[23] Humanity then has a representative function in that they must live out that image. Paul shows that once humanity fell they were incapable of doing so, but through the power of Christ all can live up to the standard God has set forth. The representative possibility is again restored as a means has been achieved to do so through Christ. The innate image isn’t gone, but the ability to live up to that image has been restored.


In conclusion, the Image of God within man is clearly inherent within all of humanity, and is substantive in nature. In essence, the divine image is something that we are, not something that we do or choose. It is not simply the relationship between humanity and God, or humanity with humanity for that matter. Nor is it merely an action or function which reduces it to nothing more than mechanical in nature. It is a characteristic or quality that is within man, and it resembles God.

It has also been concluded that the fall of man into sin did nothing to tarnish or destroy God’s image in man as was clearly seen in Genesis 9:6. While man’s nature may be totally corrupted and distorted, the image remained through the fall and is still present to this day. Simply put, the image of God has been sustained even through sin. This does not put the doctrine of Imago Dei at odds with total depravity. Man is totally and absolutely in sin and corrupt, but that does not preclude that humanity no longer bears God’s image, and what’s more this thinking lacks any real biblical support.

In regards to regeneration, the image itself needs no regenerating as it has been sustained through the fall. However, man’s ability to live up to that image and be the representative that God created him to be is in need of regeneration. A new life through Jesus Christ is the means by which all of humanity can begin to live up to the image placed in them by God.


Bryant, david J. 2000. “Imago Dei, Imagination, and Ecological Responsibility.”

Theology Today 57, no. 1:35-50. ATLA Religious Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed Oct. 10th, 2010).

Clark, Gordon H. “The Image of God in Man”. Journal of the Evangelical TheologicalSociety Volume XII (Fall 1969): 215-222. (accessed September 1st, 2010).

Elwell, Walter, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Reference Library). 2 ed. Edited by Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology, 2nd Edition. (Grand Rapids, Baker Books). March, 2000.

Herring, Stephen L. 2008. "A "transubstantiated" humanity: the relationship between the divine image and the presence of God in Genesis i 26f." Vetus testamentum 58, no. 4-5: 480-494. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed September 14, 2010).

Munyon, Timothy. “The Creation of the Universe and Humankind,” Systematic Theology, Edited by Horton, Stanley. (Springfield, MO: Logion Press), Pg. 252.

Johnson, David H. 1992. "The image of God in Colossians." Didaskalia (Otterburne, Man.) 3, no. 2: 9-15. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed September 14, 2010).

Kidner, Derek. Genesis (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries). Illinois: IVP Academic, 2008.

Krötke, Wolf. "The humanity of the human person in Karl Barth’s anthropology." The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth. Ed. John Webster. Cambridge University Press, 2000. Cambridge Collections Online. Cambridge University Press. 15 October 2010

Niskanen, Paul. 2009. "The poetics of Adam: the creation of." Journal of Biblical Literature 128, no. 3: 417-436. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed September 14, 2010).

Towner, W Sibley. 2005. "Clones of God: Genesis 1:26-28 and the image of God in the Hebrew Bible." Interpretation 59, no. 4: 341-356. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed September 14, 2010).

Vogel, Jeff. 2007. “The haste of sin, the slowness of salvation: an interpretation of Irenaeus on the fall and redemption.” Anglican Theological Review 89, no. 3: 443

459. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed October 8th, 2010).

Wright, N. T. Colossians and Philemon: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries). Illinois: IVP Academic, 2008.

[1] Erickson, Milliard. Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books), Pg. 520.

[2] Clark, Gordon H. “The Image of God in Man,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Volume XII (Fall 1969): Pg. 219.

[3] Erickson, Milliard. Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books), Pg. 522.

[4] Ibid, Pg. 522.

[5] Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries) (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2008), page 55.

[6] Johnson, David H. 1992. "The image of God in Colossians." Didaskalia (Otterburne, Man.) 3, no.2. Pg. 10.

[7] Herring, Stephen L. 2008. "A "transubstantiated" humanity: the relationship between the divine image and the presence of God in Genesis 1:26." Vetus testamentum 58, no. 4-5, Pg. 491.

[8] Erickson, Milliard. Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books), Pg. 529.

[9] Krötke, Wolf. "The humanity of the human person in Karl Barth’s anthropology." The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth, (Cambridge Collections Online. Cambridge University Press), Pg. 167.

[10] Erickson, Milliard. Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books), Pg. 524.

[11] Towner, W Sibley. 2005. "Clones of God: Genesis 1:26-28 and the image of God in the Hebrew Bible." Interpretation 59, no. 4, Pg. 343.

[12] Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries) (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2008), page 56.

[13] Bryant, David J., “Imago Dei, Imagination, and Ecological Responsibility.” Theology Today 5 no. 1, Pg. 37.

[14] Niskanen, Paul. 2009. "The poetics of Adam: the creation of." Journal of Biblical Literature 128, no. 3, Pg. 128.

[15] Munyon, Timothy. “The Creation of the Universe and Humankind,” Systematic Theology, Edited by Horton, Stanley. (Springfield, MO: Logion Press), Pg. 252.

[16] Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Reference Library). 2 ed. Edited by Walter A. Elwell, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic), Pg. 337.

[17] Clark, Gordon H. “The Image of God in Man,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Volume XII (Fall 1969): Pg. 218.

[18] Vogel, Jeff. “The Haste of Sin, the Slowness of Salvation: An Interpretation of Irenaeus on the Fall and Redemption,” Anglican Theological Review 89, no. 3, Pg. 443.

[19] N. T. Wright, Colossians and Philemon (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries) (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2008), page 142.

[20] Johnson, David H. 1992. "The image of God in Colossians." Didaskalia (Otterburne, Man.) 3, no.2. Pg. 11.

[21] Ibid, Pg. 11.

[22] Ibid, Pg. 12.

[23] Bryant, David J., “Imago Dei, Imagination, and Ecological Responsibility.” Theology Today 5 no. 1, Pg. 36.