This is part of an assessment I am being graded on. I hope there are no grammatical errors. But I thought this stuff was just too good not to share. It is stuff I have picked up on the past few years and I am finally starting to piece everything together. Note, this isn't sexist in nature. When I talk about man and woman, I think it goes both ways.
Humanity was created, in part, to rule the Earth. We are also representatives of God’s image. (Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. Gen 1:26-27)
Humans were to be, in essence, regulators and caretakers of the earth, but also naturally conquerors and rulers over all the Earth. In that sense, you see one image of God reflected in man.
Calvin states in his commentary of Genesis, “In the very order of the creation the paternal solicitude of God for man is conspicuous, because he furnished the world with all things needful, and even with an immense profusion of wealth, before he formed man. Thus man was rich before he was born. But if God had such care for us before we existed, he will by no means leave us destitute of food and of other necessaries of life, now that we are placed in the world.” God shows His rightful place in the Heavens, while allowing us that place on this Earth. In that aspect we are His representatives.
All the while, He shows that the man is incomplete as He creates the woman to walk with man through this life. It is just an echo of the longing in man to be a part of something larger than himself.
Augustine takes this thought of the image of God deeper and contends that our soul is reflective of the Trinity as it is in three parts – the intellect, the memory, and the will.
However in our fallen state, the image of God is but a shadow in our lives. As a result of sin, we are not inclined naturally to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Fallen man does not want God in any way, and would not be able to find Him if it weren’t for His prevalent grace reaching past the initial wants of our hearts into stirring our souls as we find that there are deeper needs that need to be met that are incapable of being met without God intervening. He illuminates the deepest desires of our souls, helps us recognize His place of authority over our lives, then meets that need as we choose freely to follow Him and place Him as the Supreme Authority of our lives.
Even though humanity has failed to live up to God’s standards, He has created us for love. He outworked His perfect love completely in His Son’s perfect sacrifice on the cross.
Luke points out to us in the book of Acts that Israel’s sacrifices were not always pure. This is just one example of the need for Christ’s intervention.
Hebrews shows that “Though He was [God’s] Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.” (Heb 5:8-9) It is important to see that God doesn’t judge from afar, but stepped into our world to win our hearts and souls. Christ was the perfect sacrifice after He learned our struggles. His entering into our world shows us that He understands every struggle and trial we go through because He experienced them Himself, yet without falling. Hebrews 4:15-16 clarifies this thought further saying, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
1 Timothy 2:5 lights the way for us to hold fast to the confession that Christ has made a way for us through His perfect sacrifice. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, a man, Christ Jesus.”
We see that Christ came to restore creation and to bring us hope. Colossians 3:10 tells us “… the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator. Ephesians 4 also speaks of our renewal.
Through this we see that we are still a work in progress; groaning to get back to the original state of purity and being the image of the perfect God. We understand that perfection is waiting based on the fact that we hurt now. We wouldn’t know pain if joy wasn’t possible, which leads me to believe that in perfection, there is no pain. However, through Jesus’ example, the Godly pain is what makes us perfect.
"the road marked with suffering"