Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 ESV)
Man was made in the image of God. John Frame points out three attributes of God that are summary terms for his lordship; Control, Authority, Presence. He then brings the three reformation terms of Prophet, Priest, and King together with God’s lordship attributes to help us understand what it means to be made in the image of God. I have read quite a lot from John Frame over the years and will seek to summarize today what I will teach in youth group this evening.
God as Lord has sovereign CONTROL as King over his creation. He has dominion over all of it and seeks to bring it under subjection to his control. Mankind being made in God’s image means that we image God’s control over his creation in a subservient and reflective sort of way. Our cultural mandate as image bearers is to bring our world under subjection to our control for good. Remember God declared his creation “very good,” when he finished chapter 1 of Genesis. This means that our cultural control over God’s creation is to make all things “very good” for God’s glory. We as image bearers are to have KINGLY CONTROL.
God as Lord has AUTHORITY over his creation. He alone declared the words and norms that are to be followed. He has given us his revelation of the Scriptures which are to be our laws, guidelines and norms by which we are to live and deduce all of life’s principles. Mankind as God’s image bearer is to display PROPHETIC AUTHORITY over God’s creation is a subservient and reflective sort of way. We are to use linguistics, words, song, music, poetry, government laws, books, emails, and whatever else requires the gift of language. We are to have authority over God’s creation for good and for God’s glory.
God is Lord by his covenant PRESENCE over his creation. He is immanent in his world and has come to us in Jesus. He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of his children to be an ever present help for all of their needs. Mankind as God’s image bearer is to multiply and fill the earth with his presence. He does this through marriage and by having children. He is also to intercede for those around him through prayer, and sacrifices of time, energy, and effort; all to benefit God’s creation and his creatures for good and for God’s glory. We are to have a PRIESTLY PRESENCE over his creation as his image bearers.
Summing up, we as image bearers of God are to display Kingly Control, Prophetic Authority, and a Priestly Presence over his creation. In these ways, we obey the cultural mandate to “subdue and have dominion” over the creation, while “multiplying and filling the earth.” What ways might you begin to impact the culture as an image bearer of God today?