- 1 The Invisible God speaks to His image
- 2 The “Us” statements of Genesis
- 3 Jesus Christ has always been the image of the invisible God
- 4 We were predestined to be made in the Spiritual image of Christ
- 5 Jesus Christ became the perfect and holy image of God on the cross
- 6 Christ was YHVH ELOHIM, in Genesis Chapter 2
The Invisible God speaks to His image
We have heard the words of the Psalmist and the Apostles. We understand the plural meaning of ELOHIM and why it is used in the singular. Our next step in proving that Christ existed with God, in the beginning of creation, is to explain the “let Us statements” in Genesis.
There are actually six statements, spoken by the invisible God to His image. These six statements began in the six days of creation. They describe God’s plan of salvation. We will summarize all of them in Chapter 30 (May They Be One in Us).
The “Us” statements of Genesis
In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let Us make man in Our own image.” In Genesis 3:22, He said, “Behold the man has become like one of Us.” In Genesis 11:7, He said, “let Us go down and confuse their language.” Many have suggested that God was speaking to Angels, Messengers.
There were no Messengers in any of these passages, except for the Spirit of Christ. Christ was the “ELOHIM” who normally spoke with singular verbs and adjectives. But, in these verses, He spoke with plural verbs and adjectives because He, as the Word, was speaking about Himself, on behalf of the invisible God.
We discuss all of these incidents in detail in Chapter 10, to explain why God used the phrase “Us” in each instance. The most powerful “Us” statement is in Isaiah 6, where Isaiah looked at the Spirit of Christ, who appeared as the image of the invisible God, the coming Messiah, and YHVH of the Armies, and said, “who will go for Us?”
Jesus Christ has always been the image of the invisible God
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Jesus Christ always has been the image of the invisible God, the speaker of God’s words—the Word, the mediator between God and man, and the Lamb upon the throne, “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
There are five roles that the Spirit of Christ as the firstborn of creation has played from the beginning of creation:
- as the Speaker of God – He is The Word;
- as the image of the invisible God;
- as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;
- as the High Priest, or Mediator, between God and Man; and
- as the Ruler of Angels.
Perhaps the most significant role the Spirit of Christ plays is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3). This was introduced for us in the very first chapter of the Bible: “Let Us make man in Our image” (Genesis 1:26). Through this statement, the invisible God expressed His plan to make man into the physical and spiritual image of Christ.
Of course, the Spirit of Christ had no real physical image of His own. As a Spirit, He can assume whatever image He likes. The “appearance of God” in the Old Testament had a variety of different forms.
Christ appeared in the beginning of creation in the form of a man and in the form of God, to make man after His image. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul described Christ as being “in the form of God”: “though being in the form of God, He did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped” (Philippians 2:6).
We were predestined to be made in the Spiritual image of Christ
On this surface, the words, “Let Us make man in Our image,” seem only to be the work of one of the six days of creation.
But, the Apostle Paul explained God’s plan to make man in the spiritual image of Christ, in the Book of Ephesians and Romans: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons of Jesus Christ . . .” (Ephesians 1:4-5).
Jesus Christ became the perfect and holy image of God on the cross
God is love, and through the cross, Jesus Christ became the perfect image and holy image of God.
Through Christ’s death, God presented us with His true image, the perfect image of love (1 John 3:16). It is this image we worship. We are all being transformed into that one same image, as Paul wrote:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Lord, the Spirit 1 ἀπὸ Κυρίου, Πνεύματος. (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Jesus Christ is not only “the image of the invisible God,” but as the writer of Hebrews said, He is the “express image” (Hebrews 1:3) of God. As Jesus told us, “the Son can only do what He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19; 8:28).
Through the imitation of Christ, we are made into the image of God, by “the Spirit of the Lord.”
Christ was YHVH ELOHIM, in Genesis Chapter 2
From the Jewish perspective, YHVH ELOHIM is the name for the God of personal relationship, because He can interact like a man. In Genesis Chapter 2, the personal relationship of YHVH ELOHIM with man is described. The Jewish people understood that the YHVH who “appeared” to men was their ELOHIM, the Angel who said, “I, YHVH appeared to Abraham . . . as God Almighty” (Exodus 6:2-3).
In Genesis 2, we understand Paul’s description of Christ as the “Image of the invisible God.” YHVH ELOHIM was in every way in a human image: “breathing” His breath into Adam; walking in the cool of the garden, and making tunics of skin for Adam and his wife and clothing them.
The Spirit of Christ was the “face” or “presence” of God. In Genesis 4:14, we see that Cain was removed forcibly from the presence of YHVH, and said, “You have driven me from the face of the ground and from Your face I will be hidden.” In verse 16, we read that Cain “went out of the presence (face) of YHVH.” The Hebrew word for “presence” is actually “face,” פָּנִים (panim).
- “who is the Spirit” – NIV ↩