To Forgive and Not Forget

What do you do when people treat you badly? How do you respond when you are in a position to give them a dose of their own medicine? An eye for an eye? Do you bury the hurt deep in your heart and let it simmer till it explodes? Or perhaps try to forget not forgiving what was done to you? Or even try to forgive while trying harder to forget? Like mission impossible?

How about if the people who caused you pain are the people close to you? People you love? How painful, is it not?!

In Genesis 37, Joseph, a young lad of 17, was sold into slavery by his brothers because of jealousy. He became a slave in a foreign land – a long shot from being the favoured son of the family. After becoming the favoured employee, he was wrongly accused of adultery with his employer’s wife and imprisoned. For 13 years, from the pit to the prison to the palace, he suffered a lot – physical, mental and emotional pain, betrayed by his brothers, separated from his family to be among strangers in a foreign land, punished for wrongs he didn’t do.

When time came for him to confront his ‘enemies’ – the brothers who caused him so much suffering, what did he do? How did he treat them? What did he say?

Genesis 45:4-9

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!  And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt.

Joseph forgave his brothers because he saw the God behind all his sufferings – the God who saves, the One who sent him to save lives, the God who was with him throughout the journey. God in His providence, provided the way for Joseph to forgive without any regret or bitterness.

To forgive and not to forget – it is mission possible – only through the lens of the Godly perspective.

Inspirational Quotes Forgiveness Inspirational Quotes About Love Inspirational Love Quotes Amp

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How long, how long, O Lord?

A Psalm of David. My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. Psalm 62:1 NASB

Waiting, waiting, waiting… Are you waiting for something? I am. In life, we are often waiting – for someone, for something, for somehow… Everyday, on the road, I have to wait for the stoplight to turn green. I wait (impatiently) for the jeepney or bus drivers to take on passengers or let passengers get off. I wait for elevators that take too long because it stopped at almost every floor. I wait for my turn at medical procedures, I wait for the doctor’s secretary to call my name. I wait for friends to arrive when we are gathering to meet. I wait at the cashier counters.

I have to admit I am not a patient person when it comes to waiting. What do I do? I look at Waze or google maps to choose the shortest / fastest route. I keep asking when my turn would come. At the banks, movie theaters or airport immigration, I go straight to the PWD/Senior counter to avoid waiting. But even so, I still have to wait.
What do we get from waiting? What good is waiting? How do we make waiting more pleasant and bearable?

The most obvious virtue we get from waiting is patience. Patience is one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us to be patient. Patience is not a one-time lesson. It takes so much time to learn patience. I do not learn patience in fast-food services where everything and everyone is so efficient. I learn patience in circumstances when it seems time has never arrived, when it seems the long dark tunnel is unending. I learn patience when the stoplight does not tell me how many more seconds it will pass before the green light goes on.

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What good is it for me to wait? (aside from learning patience) Many times, I learn that the longer the wait, the sweeter the results of waiting. Just like children, delayed gratification is a lesson we need to learn. When I eat my favorite piece of food for last, the more delicious it tastes to me! There was an experiment done with young children to motivate them to wait. They were given one marshmallow to eat – but were told that if they could wait for the teacher to come back, they would be given a second piece. We can learn something from watching these kids learn waiting. Some were tempted to lick the marshmallow. Some kept glancing at the door to see if the teacher is returning yet. Those who waited got something more, which made the wait worthwhile.

On the other hand, how often do I miss out on God’s best because I do not want to wait! I tried doing things quickly only to find out that the results did not come faster or better. It just seemed easier to be doing something instead of idly waiting for something to happen.

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How do i make the wait more bearable? I think about the result – the possible result, the hopeful result of my waiting. In the meantime, while waiting, I occupy my time to have a joyful mindset. It is a determined, defiant nevertheless attitude. I count my blessings and maintain a heart of thanks and contentment. I make the waiting time worthwhile – doing something productive and not waste the time being grouchy, unhappy, impatient, stressed over things, people and events that I have no control over. It does not help to be impatient while waiting. When I am impatient at doctor’s clinic, will it make my wait shorter? If I keep pressing the elevator button, will the elevator arrive faster? When I am impatient with the jeepney drivers on the road or the passengers getting off/on their ride, will it make them move faster? Perhaps if I honked my horn louder and longer? How about if I put myself in their shoes? What if I were to earn a living from the fare of each passenger that rides on my jeep? What if I were the tired worker taking a ride home after a long day at work?

Waiting.. waiting.. waiting… Patience, patience, patience… 1 marshmallow.. 2 marshmallows.. yummy marshmallows… Joyful waiting, grateful waiting, hopeful waiting… My soul waits in silence for God only.

When I first wrote this piece, I was waiting. Now the wait is over. Are you waiting too, my friend? Be not discouraged. Fret not. Draw comfort from God’s Word.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth. Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,

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Restoration: The Re-Creation of Man (Part 4 Imago Dei: Likeness of God – To be or Not to be)

Restoration: The Re-Creation of Man, Image of God in Sinful Flesh

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)[1]

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)[2]

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17)[3]

After the Fall, God provided a plan of restoration for the marred image of sinful man by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, even as He is the image of the invisible God. The Adam in Genesis is said to be “in” the image of God whereas Christ in the New Testament is said to “be” the image of God. (Colossians 1:15)[4]

What Christ is as the uncreated Son of God who images his Father, he is also in his incarnation as the created human being he has become. So in his humanity that reflects what he is in his divinity, he becomes the eschatos Adam, the ultimate human being that Adam was made and meant to be.[5]

The apostle Paul attested in Romans 8:3

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.[6] 

The humanity of Jesus Christ is a converted and a converting humanity. He utterly identified with us in our “created-ness,” as well as our sinful alienation from God. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul stated

He who knew no sin has been made sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.[7]

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Jesus entered our created finitude in all its frailty bringing upon Himself the consequence of sin and God’s righteous judgement upon it. According to Martin Luther, this verse describes the “great exchange.” In joining Himself to us, Christ takes our sin to Himself and gives His righteousness to us.[8]

Athanasius sees the incarnation of Christ as God’s creative response to the dilemma of seeing His handiwork disintegrating and not wanting to violate the integrity of the human beings whom He had made free and who had use their freedom to choose death.[9]

What then, did God have to do? Or what had to happen, except that that which is according to the image would again be renewed, so that through it human beings might again be able to know God? And how could this happen except by the coming near of the Image of God himself, our Savior Jesus Christ?… Therefore the Word of God came near through himself, that as Image of the Father he would be able to recreate the human being according to the image.[10]

Paul also affirms in Ephesians 4:20-24

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which “in the likeness of” God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.[11]

When we have Christ in us, we put away our old self (the corrupted, sinful self) to put on the new self (restored likeness of God) – re-created in the righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Athanasius compares this restoration to the work of an artist restoring the painting he has created:

You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel become obliterated through external stains. The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to come and sit for it again, and then the likeness is redrawn on the same material. In this way, also the all-holy Son of the Father, being an Image of the Father, came near to our place, that he might renew the human being made in accord with himself… Therefore also he said to the Jews: “Unless one is born anew…” (John 3:3, RSV). He did not mean birth from one’s mother, as they suspected but the rebirth and re-creation of the soul, showing forth that which is according to the image.[12]

Implications and applications: Romans 8:28-30 tells us,

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.[13]

God causes all things, from creation to the fall to redemption, to “work together for good to those who love Him, whom He called for His purpose, whom He foreknew, whom he predestined and created to become conformed to the image of His Son.”[14] Thank you, Lord, for creating me, knowing me, calling me, and declaring me righteous according to the image of your Son. As I am called according to your purpose, please help me love you and obey you, so I will become more and more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

[1] New American Standard Bible.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Smail, 59.

[6] New American Standard Bible.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Smail, 274.

[9] Harrison, 38.

[10] Cross, Athanasius, On The Incarnation: An Edition of the Greek Text. 13.7 (London: SPCK, 1939): 21 quoted in Nonna V. Harrison, God’s Many-Splendored Image: Theological Anthropology for Christian Formation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 39.

[11] New American Standard Bible.

[12] Cross, 21-22 quoted in Harrison, 39.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

Mandate: Man’s Dominion (Part 2: Imago Dei: Likeness of God – To be or not to be)

Mandate: The Dominion and Stewardship Given to Man

“…and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26b)[1]

Genesis_1-26

You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen.

And also the beasts of the field,

The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea;

whatever passes through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:6-8)[2]

Both NASB and NIV use the word “rule” to describe man’s God-given mandate to manage His creation, particularly, the animals. NKJV uses “have dominion” to refer to the same.

Dominion is royalty, a facet of the divine image in every man, involving dignity, splendor, and a legitimate sovereignty rooted in one’s very being.[3]

This implies how Christians are encouraged to treat every human with equality, respect, and dignity, regardless of differences in wealth, education, or social status. Under the Roman Empire, men were regarded superior to women, slaves were despised, and lepers outcast from their families as homeless beggars. Christian theologians believed these marginalized peoples are fully human, created in God’s image, and, consequently, worthy of respect.

Genesis 1:27 states that God “created man in His image – male and female.[4] This connects both genders, simultaneously created and gifted, to a distinct relationship closely linked to their being made in the image and likeness of God. Man and woman belong together, as God intends, for mutual dependence and complementarity. The woman is man’s helper – equal in status and responsibility in divine dominion over the earth. Man and woman, as husband and wife are, firstly, relational, before procreational – mandated to co-manage God’s creation before commanded to “go forth and multiply.”[5]

Human dominion over the non-human world inadequately defines what it means to be in the image of God. Stanley Grenz reports

Although at one time, some scholars linked the imago Dei directly with dominion over the creation, the near consensus in recent years has been that in the Genesis text, dominion is not to be viewed as an explanation of the imago Dei but as a consequence of creation in the divine image.[6]

Human stewardship of creation must reflect the image God’s affirmation and care for what He has made.

Eden without Adam is and will remain a potential paradise; whether or not it becomes perfected paradise depends on what Adam and his children do with it.[7]

Endowed with speaking, knowing, and doing, humans express the truth of their being made in the image of God. The likeness of God includes responsibility or conscience in some cultures. As God’s counterparts, humans must account for and be responsible for the meaning of their existence. Often directed against God, this question on the existence and meaning of life is universal – not bound to any particular religion and is true even when religion is rejected.[8]

Harrison[9] tells us to find a task that corresponds to our gifts and glorifies God while serving our neighbor or caring for the created world. We are to discover ways to affirm “the royal dignity” in all people, especially the marginalized – those who society is inclined to despise.

Implication and application: Man, created in God’s image, is to dominate and rule over God’s creation. This is our social responsibility – to human and non-human portions of creation. God intends for man to take care of the world He has made for him. In naming God’s creatures, Adam was authorized to oversee and be mindful of their welfare. Today, our earth is endangered by man’s abuse with pollution of every kind. The abuse extends to all forms of abuse, violence, and extermination. Sadly, thus is the plight of the “good” world God created for us! Each child of God must contribute to loving his neighbor and his surroundings in the least possible way – even saving a glass of water to share with the poor and thirsty. Social responsibility and social justice must bring about equity and equality to society’s needy – those in our immediate family, school, church, and community at large. This God-given mandate is all about relationship – one that God originally intends for us to enjoy with Him, being created in His image. How is our relationship with fellow human beings? Are we diligently working out our responsibility toward each other – to help, to take care of, to love as God wills, as He relates to us when He created us in His own image?

[1] New American Standard Bible.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Nonna V. Harrison, God’s Many-Splendored Image: Theological Anthropology for

     Christian Formation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 90.

[4] New American Standard Bible.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Stanley Grenz, The Social God and the Relational Self (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001): 197 quoted in Tom Smail, Like Father, Like Son: The Trinity Imaged in our Humanity (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006), 47.

[7] Smail, 49.

[8] Scullion, 111.

[9] Harrison, 106.

No Fear

The strong and the brave… these words are often associated with super heroes; victories against villains; supernatural strength and unbelievable courage… Each
time we watch movies like Iron Man, Superman, Spiderman, we are filled with a sense of power and optimism – we know that there is nothing they can’t do and
there is nothing they need to be afraid and ultimately we know they are not going to die.

Yet, we know that all these superheroes are just fiction. In life, strength and courage are virtues – realistically attainable even though not as simplistic as the fictitious.

Strength and courage… are they synonymous? Which is first… is it easier to be brave when one is strong? Or is it also about being strong because there is no fear? Or is it having both at the same time?

Be strong and courageous is a favourite verse that Christians like to give to each other – to en-COURAGE one another to face problems, challenges, and trials in life. Be brave – we say to our friends who are facing financial troubles, to those who just
lost a loved one, to those who are faced with uncertain future. Be strong – we say to those who are terminally ill, to those who are left behind by their spouses or
betrayed by their loved ones.

What exactly is being strong and courageous about? These two words which are mentioned 4 times in the first chapter of Joshua..what exactly are they about?

I. The Basis of strength and courage: God’s Character

God spoke these words 3x to Joshua. First, who was Joshua? Joshua was Moses’ aide (helper) He was no super hero like his predecessor – Moses. He was not strong like Samson. He was one of the 12 spies sent to check out Canaan before they enter the Promised Land. He was one of only two who believed that God will give them victory over the giants in the land.

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Joshua believed God and it helped him to overcome his fear to be brave.

God said ‘I am about to give..’ (v.2) ‘I will give..’ (v.3) ‘I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ (v.5) ‘The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ (v.9) These words are the basis of strength and courage. It is all about God.

To be strong and brave is to stand on God’s presence, who He is and what He does. We can be strong and courageous because God is with us.

II. The Guide to strength and courage: God’s Word

More than just head knowledge of who God is, what He said He will do, Joshua was called to act on it. He was to obey God’s law – not to turn to the left or to the right – but to keep a straight path – it’s like the horse with both its eyes covered to
keep it focused in one direction – stick to the path ahead. (v.7)

How does one obey unless one knows what to obey? And how does one know what unless one study it, remember it, think about it? We are to keep God’s word –
say it, meditate on it – act on it – day in day out. (v.8) And there’s a promise that comes with it – prosperity and success. Now hold on, this is not a simplistic solution
of being good and have a great life. Being prosperous and successful in life is about being strong and brave amidst difficulties, sufferings and adversities of life.

To be strong and courageous is to stand on God’s Word, His promises, His commands. We can be strong and brave because God speaks to us. He promises to be with us wherever we go… not to leave us or give up on us.

Strength and courage are paradoxical virtues. Strength is manifested through weakness. Courage is attained through fear. To be strong is to be weak in total
dependence on the true source of strength. To be brave is to overcome fear in utmost reliance on the true source of courage.

Courage comes from the root word
‘couer’ which is French for heart. The heart pumps blood to all the parts of the body – when the heart is strong, the whole body gets its source of strength and energy.

Do you know the source of strength and courage? Know the Lord, read His word, meditate on it day and night, obey it and persevere at it. Be assured that the Lord our God is with us – he will never leave us nor forsake us.

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.” What Blessed Assurance! This is what it means to live life with ‘No Fear’ – to go out and ‘Just Do It’
with courage and strength.

Joshua 1
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people,
get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so
I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their
ancestors to give them.

7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful
wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you
will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be
with you wherever you go.

The Dignity of Man (Part 1 of Imago Dei: Likeness of God – To be or not to be)

This is an excerpt of a paper I wrote for my theology class on theological anthropology at the seminary.  The image of God defines my existence and directs my purpose on earth towards my ultimate destiny in the presence of my Creator. This study expounds on five facets of humanity, namely: status, mandate, fall, restoration and sanctification.

Status: The Dignity of Man

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26a, 27)[1]

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The two Hebrew nouns in Genesis 1:26 are selem (image) and demut (likeness). Bible scholars agreed that the two are “nearly equivalent in meaning,” except that selem refers to the image which represents that from which it derives and demut is the image which resembles that from which it derives. Moberly quoted Middleton stating,

the context of ancient Near East where kings were described as the image of a god influenced the biblical imago Dei.[2]

This ideology suggests that humanity is

dignified with a status and role vis-à-vis the nonhuman creation that is analogous to the status and role of kings in the ancient near East vis-à-vis their subjects.[3]

Genesis chapter one is, therefore, “a genuine democratization of ancient near Eastern royal ideology.”[4] As imago Dei, humanity in Genesis 1 is called to be representative and intermediary of God’s power and blessing on earth.[5]

Although selem was derived from ANE context, referring to pagan gods and kings, it was to include all humankind, not just royalty.

Whereas Egyptian writers often spoke of kings as being in God’s image, they never referred to other people in this way. It appears that the OT has democratized this old idea. It affirms that not just the king, but every man and woman bears God’s image and is his representative on earth.[6]

Smail pointed this out as the first biblical basis for seeing the imago as the affirmation and guarantee of the inalienable dignity of every human person by virtue of his creation. God further confirmed this in His covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:6

Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed. For in the image of God He made man.[7] 

The only NT passage on God’s image applied universally is found in James 3:8-9

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God.[8]

Human beings are neither to be killed nor cursed because they are made in the selem of God. Selem, more closely explained, is made precise by demut (similarity). This image is to correspond to the original and to “resemble it”[9]. Von Rad further pointed out that man is

at the topmost of the pyramid of creation and there is nothing between him and God; indeed, the world, which was in fact made for him, has in him alone its most absolute immediacy to God. Unlike the rest of Creation, he was not created by the word; but in creating him, God was actuated by a unique, solemn resolve in the depths of his heart… God took the pattern for his last work from the heavenly world above.[10]

This image and likeness refers to the whole of man – not only to his spiritual and intellectual being, but also equally to his bodily form – grace, nobility, and majesty.[11]

The psalmist further stressed this dignity and status of man in Psalm 8:3-5:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers;

   The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

What is man that You take thought of him;

   And the son of man that You care for him?

Yet You have made him a little lower than God;

   And You crown him with glory and majesty![12]

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On the other hand, this creaturely dignity has also an upper limit.[13] How come? I used to think that the phrases, “Let us” and “our image” in verse twenty-six of Genesis 1 refer to the triune God. Von Rad asked

Does the image in v. 27 refer to God Himself or to the heavenly beings who surround His throne, or to both together?[14]

1 Kings 22:19, Job 1:6, and Isaiah 6:1-3 are biblical references to God’s heavenly court. According to Von Rad,

in His resolve, Jahweh associates Himself with this court and also hides Himself in their plurality to prevent the image from being referred directly to God alone.[15]

Why should God hide Himself in the plurality of His heavenly court to prevent the image from being attributed to Him alone? After much thinking, I believe Genesis 1:26 and 27 are referring to the plurality of God – the triune God, for two reasons: 1) angels do not create, and 2) man is not made in the image of angels.

In the NASB, Psalm 8:5 refers to “God,” while NIV states “the angels.” The God in Psalm 8:5 is Elohim (not Yahweh) – implying that man, in OT concepts, was created in the form of Elohim. The Hebrew word translated “God” is El or Elohim (Elohim, being the plural of El). Not only is the word for God usually appear in the plural form, but several verses also refer to God in the plural pronoun “Us.” An example of how the Hebrew word Elohim is used in the plural is that it is translated “gods” (referring to idols) 235 times in the Old Testament.[16] It is exactly the same word that translates to “God,” referring to the Almighty

I am the LORD your God [Elohim], who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods [Elohim] before Me.[17]

The plurality found in these verses (Gen 1:26, 27, 3:22, Psalm 8:5) is therefore not referring to the heavenly court of angels but to God Himself.

Two OT passages with using Elohim (2 Sam 14:17, 20; 1 Sam 22:9) describe God as good and wise.[18] In the ideas of Jahwism in the OT, Israel did not regard God as having the characteristics of man, but rather, considered man as theomorphic. God set man in the world as the symbol of His own sovereign authority, in order that man should uphold and enforce his God’s claims as lord.[19]

We owe our being to the will and purpose of God. Our distinctive is that God mirrored Himself in us and made us to be like Himself so He can relate to us and we to Him in a way that is unique.[20]

Westermann puts it this way:

A human being created in the image of God is the unique expression of the unique God…. God created man in his image means that God created humanity to be his counterpart so that something can happen between God and man.”[21]  

J puts in narrative what P expresses in the idea of the image and likeness of God by linking the creation of humanity to a relationship between God and man. Thinking about this connection should help to free man from feeling worthless or down-trodden – no matter what his status in society is, no matter what race or ethnicity he belongs to.

In Genesis 5:1, it is again stated that God made man in his likeness. Verse 3 says Adam begat Seth “in his own likeness after his (Adam’s) image.[22] This means God authorized man to transmit His supreme dignity along the process of continuing the procreation of generations. Therefore, this image of God cannot be said to have been lost after the Fall, although the story of the Fall tells of grave consequences in the creaturely nature of man. As to the manner by which these affected the image of God in man, the OT has nothing explicit to say.[23]

Westermann reiterates that “man, being created in God’s image” means that human dignity cannot be “abrogated by distinction between groups or sorts of people, that it is inherent in the will of the Creator and embraces all.”[24] This carries the most stringent political-social implication imaginable – that all classes of people have their respective limitations; dissimilarities cannot be abolished, but neither can they be rendered perfect.

Implication and application: All human beings are created in the image of God – the image of a good and wise God – Elohim. Man was created to represent God, being positioned at the top of the hierarchy in His creation. This image is one of dignity, which cannot be erased even when man is weak and frail in his physical limitations as a consequence of his disobedience. How do I apply this truth in my life? I must not look down on marginalised and less fortunate, the poor, the despised or lowly, and those with disabilities –whether mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. Even to those living in sin, may I extend my compassion and kindness to love them as God loves me.

[1] New American Standard Bible. (La Habra: The Lockman Foundation), available

from <http://www.biblegateway.com>

[2] J. Richard Middleton, The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Grand

Rapids: Brazos Press, 2005), 121 quoted in R.W.L. Moberly, Old Testament

     Theology. The Theology of the Book of Genesis (Cambridge: Cambridge University

Press, 2009), 53.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Tom Smail. Like Father, Like Son (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

Co., 2006), 46.

[7] New American Standard Bible.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Smail, 47.

[10] D.M.G. Stalker, trans. Old Testament Theology Vol. I The Theology of Israel’s

     Historical Traditions (Edinburgh: R & R Clark Ltd., 1962), 144.

[11] Ibid., 145.

[12] New American Standard Bible.

[13] Stalker, 145.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Richard Deem. “The Trinity: The Oneness and Plurality of God,” God and Science (2001) [home page on-line]; available from http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/trinity.html; Internet; accessed 21 September 2013.

[17] New American Standard Bible.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Stalker, 146.

[20] Smail, 47.

[21] John J. Scullion, trans. Genesis: An Introduction (S.J. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1909), 111.

[22] New American Standard Bible.

[23] Stalker, 147.

[24] Scullion, 111.

Tips on Reading the Bible

Why read the Bible? When to read? How to read?

I once heard a speaker at a theological forum teaching a Psalm of lament. A lament is a passionate expression of sorrow or grief. The psalmist set an example on how he coped with his sadness – complaining and crying out to God.

The speaker shared one striking truth: the biblical principles of living life in stride and coping with adversity are better read and remembered during good times. Why? Because taking vitamins is most useful when one is healthy. Eating healthy and keeping healthy are means recovering better when one gets sick.

Do we read labels of cough medicine when we are not coughing? That is how we sometimes treat the Bible – is it not? We open it when we are seeking for answers; we scan the pages for comfort and encouragement when we are in despair, worried and at the end of our ropes.

While it is good to read God’s word for comfort, encouragement and assurance in difficult times, it is so much better to discover Biblical truths on a moment to moment, day by day, bit by bit, step by step basis. Many of us remember Bible verses we learned as a child – and these verses became our weapons against the enemy’s lies. The daily intake of vitamins helps to immunise the body against illnesses – fighting off bacteria and viruses – a reality all around us. Healthy diet, exercise and enough sleep do not of themselves prevent us from getting sick. But we will have a better chance to recover and heal when we keep healthy habits.

So with reading the Bible… knowing, memorising and applying God’s word do not guarantee a problem-free life. The evils of this physical world are a reality we cannot avoid. But when we put our time to reading, remembering and living out God’s truths in the trivial details of daily life, we have a better chance of standing firm when the storms come. Practice makes perfect.

An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. God’s Word is more than just defensive weapon against trials of life – it is an offensive artillery to triumph in life.

Tips on reading the Bible:

1) Regularise – fixed time and place everyday. Just as we eat our meals regularly to stay healthy, we need to read regularly to stay fit spiritually.

2) Right size (downsize then upsize) – Start small.  Read short passages regularly. It is much better than long passages once in awhile. Same applies in our eating habits – it’s much better to have many small meals in a day than few big meals in one go.

well fed.jpg

3) Personalise – put your name into passages of prayers and verses of assurance. Borrow words of the psalmists to pray as your own prayer. Put yourself in the shoes of Biblical characters – think how they think, feel how they feel. Learn from their mistakes. Discover how they win their battles.

Francis-Bacon-Christian-Quote-Reflecting

4) Memorise – store precious nuggets of your readings – take away into the rest of the day what you read by memorising verses. You will be amazed at how these verses come to mind at just the right place and time to encourage, to comfort and to calm your fears.

5) Internalise – apply God’s word into the small details of your daily living until it becomes a part of you.

transformation

Last but not the least, JUST DO IT!  Start reading.