If you have your Bibles I'd invite you to turn again to Genesis, chapter 1. We’ll begin tonight in verse 24 as we zero in on the sixth day. We've already said that Genesis lays the groundwork, the foundation not only for the book of Exodus, not only the rest of the Old Testament, but for all of the Scriptures. We've said that for the first two verses of Genesis, we're brought face to face with the ultimate reality. That is, not the universe, but God, who is in a sense bigger than the universe if we can think in special terms metaphorically for a minute. But the remainder of the chapter from verse 3 to the very end displays God's sovereignty in creation in the unfolding stories of the six days.
And we've over viewed the content and the lessons of those days. We’ll briefly recount those tonight. But we've also commented on the fact that one of the hallmarks of the interpretation of this passage, of Genesis 1, in the last 150 years has been the attempt on the part of biblical scholars to accommodate or attempt to harmonize the teachings of Genesis 1 and 2 with the findings of contemporary science. And we said one of the areas where that has brought some difficulty is the issue of the creation days themselves. Moses gives us an account of the Lord creating in six literal days. And modern science, of course, has a problem with that. Modern science conceives the process not so much of creation by God but of the evolution of the world that we know of spanning over millions and millions of years. And so many people when they pick up the first chapter of Genesis, the very first thing that their attention is drawn to is the fact that the creation is recounted in terms of God making the world in six days. And we've said that there have been various evangelical attempts to interpret that. In addition to the view that these are actual six literal twenty-four hour days, we mentioned at least three other views. There is the Gap Theory which says that these perhaps were something like twenty-four hour days, but in between them there were vast ages. So that between verse 1 of Genesis and verse 2 there were vast ages. And then perhaps even between each of the successive days there were vast ages. Now needless to say there's no indication of that in the passage at all. I mean there's nothing that says it – and then there were vast ages at the end and then we picked up on the second day. No indication of that in the passage. Furthermore, that really doesn't help us because it's not just the length of time that's involved, it's the fact that the order of the days of creation. That is, the things that we are told that God creates on the various days in Genesis 1 through 6. That order doesn't square up with the evolutionary order that we learn in our natural sciences. So that, for instance, the sun and the moon are said to be created on the fourth day. Now no one that I know of in modern science suggests that there were things already in existence on the earth prior to the creation of the sun and moon. And yet that is precisely what is set forth in Genesis, chapter 1. So it's not just the length of time that's the problem, it's the order. So the Gap Theory may give us a little extra time to work with, but it doesn't solve the order problem.
Then the second theory that we talked about was the Day-Age Theory, the attempt to interpret these days as symbolic in fact of vast geological ages. But again that theory has the same problem that the Gap Theory does. You don't just need extra time to harmonize Genesis 1 with science. You need an entirely different order of the days to make Genesis 1 square up with the typical report in modern geology, in modern anthropology, and the various sciences of origins. To that we said there was a new view on the market. If you happen to have, by the way, a New Geneva Study Bible you will see some of these theories listed in the footnotes of the New Geneva Study Bible and this view that I'm about to tell you about is also described there. It's called the Framework View. Basically it says this: Genesis 1 isn't trying to give us anything like a scientific or even an historical account of how the creation happened with regard to its mechanics. It's making a theological point and it's speaking in symbolic language. And so the Framework View claims to not be based on any concern for scientifically harmonizing the teachings of the natural sciences with the scripture. But as we saw last week, there is no indication from the text itself that this is anything other than a historical narrative. The grammar, Hebrew scholars will tell you, the grammar of Genesis 1 is no different than a historical account found say in the book of Chronicles. So you've got to go a far piece to rest in the idea that this is a highly poetic or symbolic passage. It's very structured, to be sure. And there are wonderful parallels in this passage, but it is written precisely in the kind of prose that you would recount the story of a battle that you found in the book of Chronicles. Furthermore, this approach that says we're not to believe that Genesis 1 and 2 is giving us a scientific account or an historical account succeeds only by considering to be “A” historical what the rest of the Bible treats as historical. And it opens up major problems for us elsewhere. For instance, when you open up Genesis 1 and 2, there are amazing things recorded which are difficult to conform or harmonize with what modern science teaches. But when you open up the last chapters of the gospel, you are faced with the truth and the claim that your Lord rose from the dead. Now that is no greater scientific problem for modern man than is the creation in six days. Now let me ask you this, are you going to claim that that resurrection is “A” historical and symbolic? Well Paul says you better not. Paul says if He's not raised from the dead in His body, then our faith is in vain. So we said last week that it's safe, it's very safe to take Genesis 1 at face value, realize that there's no problem with that theory that is not incumbent upon other theories.
Let me explain what I mean by that. When you go about trying to harmonize Genesis 1 and 2 with science, and I'm not, as I made clear last week, I'm not wanting to pot shots at scientists and tell them what they can and can't study, and what results they can and can't come up with. I think it's good that science attempts to study origins and I think we ought to listen attentively. I'm not trying to engender a naive view towards science. But when we come to this account and we consider what modern science teaches, there are at least two areas where there is no way by any interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 that we can get any relief from the tension between modern science and the teaching of scripture.
The first of those areas is in the special creation of Adam. If Adam was created as God tells us he was created here, there is no way to reconcile the Genesis account with the modern view of how mankind developed. Now recently, it has become popular for people to say, “Well, there were human-like creatures that existed for millions and millions of years before Adam and then God came along and breathed a soul into Adam and that was what was reflected in Genesis 1.” But there's no way to harmonize that view with what the text says. The text doesn't say that there were millions of human-like creatures for millions of years before Adam and then God came along and breathed life into Adam. It says Adam himself was made out of the ground and God breathed the breathe of life into him and that his wife was made out of his rib. There's no way that you can find some theory that will allow you to harmonize Genesis teaching with modern science. Even B.B. Warfield, who believed in theistic evolution saw that problem. He said, “I would be satisfied that the whole Genesis account could be reconciled with evolutionary theory if it did not teach the special creation of Adam.” But it does, so don't get too worried about the view that says you've got to abandon a literal view of the days if you want to be scientifically respectable. There's no way to be scientifically respectable under any view and solve and believe in Genesis 1 and 2. There are always going to be mysteries in our understanding of the scripture and I'm waiting to be enlightened because I don't understand this one. But I do know what this passage says straightforwardly and we do well to follow it. Last week we said it's best to take the straightforward reading of the text. I was talking with some of our elders afterwards and one of the elders said that he had engaged in a very vigorous discussion with Richard Pratt on this issue, and he had argued the various merits of the different views and at the end of the day Richard came back to these elders and said, “As for me and my house, we shall believe in six literal days.” And I think that's a good place to start.
We also say that we should beware accommodation to current scientific theory because there are some aspects of the account that just can't be harmonized. I've already mentioned the special creation of Adam.
The second one that can't be harmonized is the fact that the Bible teaches that sin was in the world before death. By an evolutionary view that cannot be true. By an evolutionary view, death had to be in the world before sin. But friends, that undercuts the whole super structure of the New Testament of doctrine of salvation because Paul says, “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead.” So if you reverse that order, you've got to rewrite the whole of the Scriptures and indeed the New Testament story of redemption. Those two aspects we're just never going to be able to reconcile those with science. Does that mean we ring our hands and we say away with scientists, down with scientists? No. Does it mean that we modify our understanding of the scripture? No. It means that we're humble enough to say, “I don't understand everything. That's O.K., but I believe the straightforward teaching of Scripture and I’ll wait for the Lord to explain the rest to me.”
We also said last week that we should remember when we look at the creation itself that we're looking back through significant barriers. We have to look beyond the flood of Noah and it seems from the passages in which we've studied the flood of Noah, Genesis 6 through 9, that the world was just frankly different before Noah and after Noah. Furthermore, we have to look at the original creation through the fall. We, as fallen people, are looking back into an era of time when there was no fall, when there were no effects of the fall and that changes everything. And furthermore, we said that when you’re looking at the original days of creation, 1 through 5, you’re looking at the world in a time when there were no men. When Genesis 12 recounts God's meeting with Abraham, Moses is recording for you the secondhand report of what a man, Abraham, heard, saw and did. When Moses is recording for you Genesis 1, especially the first five days, he is recording for you events that happened before there were men. There weren't even men to observe those days. And so we have all those barriers as we look back at those original days. And so humility is the proper standpoint for us as we look at those days.
Now in the world's longest introduction to a sermon, let me say one more thing. I told someone tonight I was listening to a preacher in Lester, England a few years ago and he preached three sermons for us on repentance and they were absolutely tremendous, but in each of the second and third sermons he recapped for us what he had taught us in the first sermon. And those recaps took about thirty minutes, you know, and you were looking down at your watch and you were saying, “How long is the sermon going to be if the introduction was thirty minutes?” We won't go thirty minutes, but this is the world's longest introduction. Last week we surveyed the creation days. We saw a number of wonderful things as we looked at each of those six days, and I want to review for you those first five days and see what we saw. First of all we said that God's sheer power was expressed in the first day of creation: “And God said.” God speaks the world into being in eight simple commands. God speaks the world into reality and that leaves no room for the idea that the universe has always been there or that the universe is part of God or that it came into being through a natural process. No, He speaks it into being. It's as though God speaks it into being.
Secondly, on the second day we saw God bring differentiation and division and distinction into His created order. That day recounts the creation of the sky and of the sea. Now remember that when Moses was writing this there were many people who worshiped the sky and the sea. You get the irony of what Moses is saying. God made them. There isn't make much for rival gods. He made the sky and the sea. What a beautiful corrective to the false idolatry of Moses’ day, where there were people who worshiped the sky and sea, and Moses could say right off the bat, on the second day God made the sky and the sea. They are his creatures. What better way to show His sovereignty over these things that some people worship?
Notice the third day. On the third day we are told that God is responsible for the earth's fruitfulness. On the third day God gives the word and the earth begins to produce fruit and trees of the field. And it's made clear that God is the one who empowers the earth to be fruitful. All the earth's fruitfulness comes from God. And again, that takes care of earth worship. In the ancient days and in modern times we have people who worship the earth. Earth Day celebrations here in the United States of America frankly often display absolutely pagan views of the earth. They treat trees like they’re divine so we're invited to hug them. And we are asked to treat the creation itself as if it were some sort of a living, personal organism. And over against that, Moses teaches that God created the earth and even gave it productivity. So ancient earth worship was again shot down by Moses’ statements in Genesis 1.
Notice on day four that we learn that God is sovereign in His creation of the sun and moon. Again, there were people who worshiped sun, moon and stars in the ancient times. Now of course we're too advanced for that. We only have horoscopes. We’re much smarter than they were. We only have horoscopes. But over against that again, Moses stresses that God created sun, moon and stars. It's even interesting that Moses recounts for us that the sun and moon and the stars weren't made until the fourth day. For these people who thought the sun, the moon and the stars were the ultimate controllers of our destiny, Moses says, ‘Hum, God didn't even get around to those until the fourth day.’ That's how sovereign He is over those things that some people worship.
On the fifth day we saw that God was sovereign over the most powerful earthly forces, the sea and sea monsters. Over and over again the sea is used in the Old Testament as a symbol of forces which are raging and out of man's control which man cannot control himself. And in Babylon the sea itself was seen to be as a god or as a force or a power which pre-existed all other gods. But in Genesis, on the fifth day, we see that the sea and everything in it is simply the creation of God. What a beautiful way whereby Moses stresses God's absolute sovereignty over the things that many people worship in this world.
And that brings us to the sixth day and we're finally through with the introduction. So let's hear God's holy word in Genesis, chapter 1, verse 24:
Our Father we thank You for this word. And as we pause simply to think about one thing tonight, what it means to be made in Your image we pray that You would teach us by Your word what it is to be human and what it means to be redeemed, that we might image Your glory. We ask it in Jesus' name, Amen.
Tonight I want to concentrate on one thing, and one thing only. One issue raised from this passage and that is what does it mean to be made in the image of God? We’re going to come back to the sixth day and we're going to look at the commands that God gave to Adam and Eve when they were created. We’ll do that later. But for now I simply want to look at the issue of the image of God. Everybody here who knows a little bit about Christian theology knows how important is the claim that we are made in the image of God. But that phrase often times comes up in our head as a blank. In other words we know the phrase, but we don't have any content for that. But what does that mean to be made in the image of God? There have been various attempts to define what it means to be made in the image of God. I want to look at Genesis 1 and particularly at four Old Testament passages that speak about man as created in God's image in order that we might have a more specific, a more definite, a more biblically rounded understanding of what it means to be a made in God's image. And that's all I want to try and do tonight. Let me tell you the passages we’ll look at. Genesis 1, verses 24 through 31 is the first passage, of course, in the Scripture that speaks of our being made in the image of God. The second passage is Genesis 5, verses 1 through 3. The third passage is Genesis 9, verse 6 and its context, and the fourth passage which doesn't use the phrase image of God but which talks about man as in the image of God is Psalm 8, verses 1 through 9. Let's look then at this passage, because it's made clear that on the sixth day that man is made to resemble God. Now that's an extraordinary phrase, and Genesis want you to be shocked by it. Genesis wants you to be shocked by the phrase that man has been created in the image and likeness of God. Genesis wants you to be a little bit nervous about that assertion because it's a glorious assertion.
I. It is made clear on the sixth day that man is made to resemble God.
What does it mean then to be made in the image of God? Let me suggest five things that it means to be made in the image of God from the passage that we look at tonight. First of all it is clear in Genesis 1, verses 24 and 25 that to be made in the image of God is to be distinct from the animal creation. Man is distinct from the animal creation. Look at Genesis 1:24 and 25. Note that five times in Genesis 24 and 25 we are told that the beasts of the earth are made how? After their kind, after their kind, after their kind. But in Genesis 1:26 and in 1:27, we are told that man was made in our image and according to our likeness, that in his own image and in the image of God He created him.
What is Moses trying to tell you? Man is unique. He is not just another animal. He's not just a higher animal. He is of an entirely different genus than animals. He is in the image of God. It's not just that he's smarter than animals. It's not just that he grew legs and can outrun fish. It is that he is an entirely different genus. He's not just more highly developed, he is of a different kind. Today it is not uncommon for human anthropologists to refer to man as the human animal. From Moses perspective that is a contradiction in terms. We are more than animal and we are other than animal. We are human. As Nigel Cameron said it in the most shocking of ways, but what he said was true, “We are in the genus of God.” That's precisely what Moses wants us to see here in Genesis 1.
The second thing that we see about the image of God is that we are endowed with the capacity to rule. In fact we are given the responsibility to rule. Man is endowed with the capacity for and the responsibility of dominion and rule. Look at verses 26 and 28 of Genesis 1: “Then God said ‘Let us make man in Our image according to Our likeness and let them rule.’” Notice how in such close proximity to this assertion that we're made in His image and likeness, God says, ‘Let them rule.’ Now what does God do? Well, you've already learned from Genesis 1:1 through 25 that He rules. If you wanted to sum up the theme of that passage: God rules. As He creates, He rules. He rules over the earth, He rules over the sky, He rules over the sea, He rules over the animals, God rules. And immediately after we're told that man is created in His image. What are the first words? “Let them rule.” So man is given the capacity for dominion and that, of course, implies that he's able to think, and that he's able to act morally, he's able to act with righteousness and that aspect of God's image is stressed in the divine command that is given to Adam in Genesis 1:28. Look at that passage. In Genesis 1:28 God blesses man and God says to him be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and rule. In that passage again, man's capacity and responsibility to rule is stressed. That declaration, by the way, is continued in verses 29 and 30 and it is repeated in Genesis 9, verses 2 and 3 where this passage is reiterated in the time of Noah and that is precisely what is celebrated in Psalm 8. If you have your Bibles handy, please turn with me briefly to Psalm 8 because this is precisely what the Psalmist is celebrating. Pick up in verse 3. “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? Or the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? You understand that what the Psalmist is doing in verses 3 and 4 is, he's saying, ‘When you look at this world around us, it's so big, it's so powerful, it's so intricate, it's so beautiful. Man is a tiny thing in comparison.’ I mean what are we in the context of this huge universe? And then the Psalmist sort of has to take a deep breath because he realizes – look at these words in verse 5: “Yet thou hast made him in a little lower than God and dost crown him with glory and majesty. Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hand. Thou hast 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.” You see what he's doing, he's saying isn't it amazing that God in His grace in Genesis 1 gave us the responsibility to rule over all that. It's amazing, he said. Man has been given the capacity to rule.
And let me just say very briefly that our rule over creation is not for the purpose of exploitation. A lot of times you hear anti-Christian environmentalists say Christianity is responsible for all the pollution in the history of the world, because we teach that man can use the earth however he wants to. That's not true. God has given man responsibility to rule over the earth but in accountability to whom? To God. We rule not as the owners but as stewards. Our Landlord will one day call us to account. And therefore the earth is not there simply for us to use as we wish, but we are to utilize the earth and rule it in such a way as to bring pleasure to the one who owns it. And so we have an answer to those who say that Christianity promotes exploitation of the environment.
Thirdly, Genesis teaches us that being in the image of God means that we bear certain of God's attributes. To be in the image of God is to bear certain of His attributes. And let me give you an example of that if you’ll turn to Genesis 5. That's the second of the passages that I mentioned to you. In Genesis 5 the only other place in the book of Genesis, with the exception of Genesis 9, that speaks of image and likeness and look what it says. Genesis 5, beginning in verse 1: “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and he blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.” Now there in that passage are correlated two things. First, the language of our being created in the likeness of God and then the language of Seth, Adam's son, being created in the image and likeness of Him. What do we learn from that? It is made clear by this analogy in Genesis 5, verses 1 through 3, that as Seth was in the likeness and image of Adam, so we are in the likeness and image of God.
Now the attributes are not spelled out there in so many words, but there are indications, especially in Genesis 1 and 2, what it means to be bearing certain of God's attributes. Let me just mention three. It is apparent from Genesis 1 that as God is rational, so we are rational. This is implicit in Genesis 1:1 through 25 where God is seen to be rational. That is, He has intelligence; He has a will; He is able to form plans and He executes them. He's rational. Man, too, is endowed with rationality, with knowledge, with understanding. And that is seen in Adam's naming of the animals. In Genesis 2, verses 19 and 20, where Adam names the animals, that's not only an exercise of rule, it's an exercise of rationality, of understanding, as Adam gives appropriate names for the various animals. And this is confirmed in the New Testament teaching about salvation. In Colossians, chapter 3, verses 9 and 10, the Apostle Paul indicates that that aspect of the image is restored in redemption. Listen to what Paul says. “Do not lie to one another. Since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices and have put on new self which is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the one who created him.” So in salvation we are being renewed in a true knowledge of the one who created. And of course this knowledge, this rationality, includes the fact that man is inescapably aware of God and has a law from God written on his heart. And so man's rationality is reflected in his rule, his understanding itself is a bestowal of God, and this image of God in man is the basis of our evangelism. There is no one that we can speak to about the gospel who can say I have no idea or concept about God. There's no such thing as that kind of an atheist. Every man and woman ever brought into this world has God impressed on their hearts and even has God's law impressed in their hearts. And they simply repress that reality. We do not have to build from nothing to something. There's already something there as we engage in evangelism.
We also learn in this passage another attribute of God's that man shares, is that God is personal, so also man is personal. Isn't it interesting that in Genesis 1:26 God says, “Let us make man in Our image and according to Our likeness and let them rule.” It's interesting phraseology. It goes on in verse 27 to say “God created man in His own image. In the image of God He created him male and female, He created them.” It seems then that God's creating of man as male and female is reflective of the fact that God is personal. As God, the triune God is eternally in personal fellowship, so also man is created as a personal being, male and female. We are complimentary. We need one another. And so the very differentiation of the sexes, maleness and femaleness, to stress the personalness of ourselves as human beings is part of the image of God.
By the way, that has massive implications for all sorts of things, everywhere from role relationships to homosexuality. That means, for instance, that homosexuality is actually a denial of our humanity because it refuses to appreciate that God has uniquely given male and female to be the compliments of one another, to be the completion of one another and that that was not to be expressed in male male or female female relationships ultimately. That the oneness of fellowship experienced by God would be mirrored in the male-female marital relationship in mutual self giving. That's an amazing thing all the way back in Genesis 1.
We also learn in this passage that as God is moral, so also is man. In Genesis 1:31, God pronounces everything that He has made to be very good. And it's clear that He is acting in righteousness in all that He does. Man, too, is endowed with righteousness and holiness. He is given things that he is to do in Genesis 1, and in Genesis 2 he is given things that he is not to do and therefore he is to act in righteousness. His heart is to be given over to God. He's to possess holiness and again, in the New Testament, Paul talks about our recreation in Christ in moral terms. Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians 4:24: “Put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” And so as God recreates us in Christ, He restores that original righteousness and holiness with which we were created.
That's of course an active aspect of the image of God and the more sinful we are, the less we reflect that image. The more sinful we are, in other words, the less human we are. So often people will say something like this: “To err is human. Or I'm sinful, after all I'm just human.” And we understand what they’re saying. I'm not wanting to be picky about the phrase. I'm not wanting to censure anybody who ever uses the phrase. I'm just saying that hidden in that phrase is the assumption that it is of the essence of humanity to be sinful. That is wrong. The more we sin, the less human we are. Satan would like us to say, to believe that the delights of life are in the areas which God has forbidden. That is wrong. The delights of life have all been given to us by God within the constraints of His command. Everything outside of those things that God has given us is self-destruction and so sin dehumanizes us and progressively eradicates the image of God in us. Grace always grows that image in us. Let me rapidly conclude.
Fourthly, in this passage not only do we see that man is distinct from the animal creation, that he has a capacity for rule, that he's a bearer of certain attributes of the Lord, communicable attributes as opposed to incommunicable attributes. We’re not omnipotent, we not omniscient, we not all powerful, we don't have those attributes. But we do have certain attributes of likeness to God. Fourthly, we see that man's life is sacred because of the image of God. If you’ll turn with me quickly to Genesis 9, verse 6, you’ll see this. In Genesis 9, verse 6 we are taught that man's life is sacred because of the image of God in him and so man must be treated in such way. This is stressed in Genesis 9, verses 5 and 6: “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it; and from every man, from every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.” Notice the argument there. And by the way, that whole passage from Genesis 9:1 through 8 reiterates the creation ordinances that have been given to Adam back in Genesis 1, verses 26 and following. Compare that sometime, it would be a great Bible study to do. But in this passage we are told that it is precisely because man is created in God's image that capital punishment is required for capital crimes. Basically, God is saying to Noah that ‘I take life so seriously that if you unlawfully take the life of another human being, you must forfeit your own life in order to uphold the sacredness of human life.’
I want you to note that the argument of the Lord to Noah is not the capital punishment as a deterrent to crime. His argument is: capital punishment is necessary for the upholding of God's standard of the value of life. And so when you start saying that human life is not worth another human life, you are inherently devaluing human life. You’re saying that it's worth less than what God originally created it as. And so this passage, I might say, in addition shows that the image of God was not completely lost at the fall. There have been some theologians that said that, especially of the neoorthodox school. They would say that the image of God was completely lost at the fall. But Genesis 9, verse 6, of course, occurs after Genesis 3 where the fall occurs. And God is still speaking to Noah about having to respect human life because of the image of God. It happens after the fall. So the image is not completely lost, though it is effaced. Therefore, we see in this command the only adequate basis for the establishment of basic human rights and mutual respect.
Let me say that there is no other view but the Christian view of man. There is no other view but the Christian view of man which can protect against racism and wicked nationalism. Only the biblical view of man can protect against those things. Jettison Christianity and you condemn yourself, logically, to the crassest and meanest forms of racism and nationalism.
And finally one last thing. The image of God means that we are endowed with an immortal, spiritual aspect to our being. Turn with me briefly to Genesis 2:7. There we are told that we have a spiritual aspect to our being: “The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Adam is endowed with a soul, with a spirit. He has an aspect to his being which is personal and spiritual and immortal. It will go on and on and that is part of the image of God. Man goes on forever. Personal, self-conscious in knowledge and in thought and in action. And that is why it is so important for us to preach the gospel. For if we deny God in this life, that immortal, self-conscious aspect to our being does not cease to exist, it must go on eternally apart from God eternally becoming less human but never being extinguished. And that is a fate that we would wish upon no one and only the gospel can save us. Let's pray.
Our Father, we thank You for this word and ask You that You would bless us, spiritually nourish us by it, for Christ's sake. Amen.