Battle of Definitions

Q. How did God create man?

  1. God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness with dominion over the creatures.

It is hard to calculate the many number of issues in our modern day that this single, brief answer confronts. It confronts evolution, feminism, male chauvinism, homosexuality, lesbianism, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, suicide, environmentalism, dualism, trichotomy, determinism, reductionism, religion, aesthetics, ethics, and morality. The Longer Westminster Catechism gives the answer with further detail, “After God had made all other creatures, He created man and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written on their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and dominion over the creatures.” Naturally we have not the time to answer each of these cultural confrontations today. Therefore I will dissect this answer of the next few lectures, based on the significance and relevance of the issue and doctrine at hand. Today I will be addressing the doctrine of mankind being made in the image of God. Furthermore, I will also make observations on how the image of God in mankind is being desecrated and deformed through our Canadian culture of death. Firstly, I must confess this is not a subject I find enjoyable to teach on. I am disturbed at my lack of being disturbed while living so apathetically in the midst of death, not just figuratively, but literally. In the morning before this lecture I have barely touched the issue with my research, and yet find myself standing ineffably depressed before you at my own failings in this matter.


As stated in a previous lecture, I am assuming each of us recognize the infallibility of the Bible in accepting the reliability of Biblical Chronology. In the Biblical Chronology of Genesis we see on the sixth day the creation of the first man and woman was a special, direct and personal act of the Triune God.  “Furthermore let us make man in our image according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the beasts, and over all the earth, and over everything that creepeth and moveth on the earth. Thus God created the man in his image: in the image of God created he him: he created them male and female.” Now to clarify man is the image of God but he is not God or part-God. We read in Genesis 2:7 that man was made of the dust of the ground and God breathed into his face the breath of life and man so became a living soul. Saving the issues of trichotomy, dualism, and such for later we can nonetheless recognize that man is a part of creation and not a part of God. Similarly with Eve in the same chapter we read that Eve was made from one of Adam’s ribs and so too was part of creation and not a part of God. However, what does distinguish man from creation is the fact that he was created in the image of God. The image of God is our essence. The meaning of “Let us make man in our image” simply means that we resemble God. Image here simply means an impression, a reflection, a mirror. John Calvin wrote, “Man was created therefore in the image of God, and in him the Creator was pleased to behold as in a mirror His own glory.” As the Catechism goes on to clarify the primary attributes of this image is knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. Colossians 3:10 reads, “And have put on the new, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” Additionally, Ephesians 4:24 reads, “And put on the new man, which after God is created unto righteousness, and true holiness.” This special knowledge is a sufficient understanding of our calling as human beings. Bearing fruit to this knowledge comes righteousness and holiness. Holiness meaning we were first created beyond sin, and righteousness, likewise, conveying we acted in accordance to our holy knowledge of God’s divine ordinances. This image, although deformed, was not obliterated in the fall of the garden. As Bavink astutely observed the significance is not that we know, live, and will, but rather in what we know, how we live, and in what we will. “The main thing is not that we think and hate and love and will. The likeness of man and God gets its significance from what we think and will, from what the object of our hatred and love is. The powers of reason and will, of inclination and aversion, were given to man precisely for this purpose that he should use them in the right way – that is, according to God’s will and to his glory. The devils, too have retained the powers of thought and will, but they put these solely into the service of their hatred and enmity against God… And so, too, the human likeness to God comes out not chiefly in the fact that man possesses reason and understanding, heart and will. It expresses itself principally in pure knowledge and perfect righteousness and holiness, which together constitute the image of God… and with which man was privileged and adorned at his creation.”  Furthermore, it is necessary to note that all of man was made in the image of God. That is to say, both body and soul. Nowhere in Scripture do we observe that only man’s soul was made in God’s image. As Dr. Morecraft notes, we are a  physical-spiritual being. We are not a body with a soul, and not a soul with a body. Both sides were inescapably and immortally interwoven together at creation an are only temporarily separated at death until the physical resurrection with the return of Christ. Furthermore all of mankind, male and female, young and old, of all skin pigments, of all abilities reflect the image of the God who both created and beholds them.


R.J. Rushdoony said this fateful remark, “He who defines wins.” In the past sixty years we have observed in our culture a battle over the definition of a human life between the Church and secular humanist state. After having reviewed the Christian definition of mankind, that is, made in the image of God, we will review the secular humanist’s dogma. The view of the humanist is deterministic and reductionist in thesis. To the evolutionist man can be reduced to the chemical and physical properties produced by his environment that go into making up the DNA structure.  In accordance with such an observation Sigmund Freud, Horace Mann, and Margaret Sanger taught that all people can be understood based on the manner in which they have been conditioned by their environment. Man thus being reduced to a electromechanical object determined by his properties there is little moral or ethical challenge to engineering society, never mind devaluing his very life. Therefore, to control man they are determined to first artificially manipulate the environment he is contained in. This cannot be misunderstood to mean an overnight change, but rather a subtle inertia towards more encompassing and effective manipulation of the individual. This sublet inertia is achieved through controlled environments such as schools, and the fantasy environments of social media, television, radio, theatre, literature, news, music, art, and internet combined with the encouragement of such from companies, celebrities, activist groups, media and governments. All of which worked, in Sanger’s words, “To undermine the authority of the Christian Churches.” They rightly understood that the basic unit of the Church is the family and to kill the Church you have to kill the family and to kill the family you have to kill the father. Fatherhood has been openly displayed as revoltingly deformed and stupid selfishness. Motherhood has been shackled and chained. We have been told to keep our children on a leash. Our post-Christian society has labelled the Christian model of the family as an antiquated nuisance. Men have become effeminate, women masculine, children adolescent, and babies terminated at the hand of the new religious order of statism. What we must not deceive ourselves with as Christians is the notion that this all happened in isolation. As Francis Schaeffer rightly observed, the statism of our day has only filled the vacuum left by dissipation of the Christian consensus which once gave us freedom within the Biblical form. As our definition of the image of God has been neglected and forgotten the enemy has marched without interruption over the undefended carcasses of untold millions.


Abortion and birth control is nothing new, what is new is the rapid expansion of its application in our day and age. You will find on the face of first century gold and silver Cyrenian coinage the image of the laserwort. Laserwort was a plant farmed in Cyrene during the Roman Empire which functioned as a contraceptive. It became the edifice of their economy until the time of Nero where it became extinct due to its rapid consumption and demand. One can remember also in recent time the most notable culture of death in being the Nazi’s. May we take heed that those who were murdered in Nazi Germany were people just like us, and more importantly, those who murdered them were also people just like us. Due to moral impotence and ineptness the German people lost the battle for the definition of the sacredness of human life, just like the Canadian and American population today. One notable sign of the times in the battle of definitions came with The Declaration of Geneva adopted in September 1948 by the General Assembly of the World Medical Organization. This has become the model for medical school graduation oaths. Within this oath is the statement, “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception.” Since the seventies this line has been eradicated from numerous universities including the University of Toronto School of Medicine. In similar fashion, the consensus of our society is founded no longer upon a Judeo-Christian base, but rather on a humanistic one where man is the measure of all things. This has resulted in a secularized society and a liberal theology. Moreover,  with the erosion of the Christian consensus which gave the base for law we now have an arbitrary sociological law. Now whatsoever society wishes is law. The Christian principle held that neither the majority nor the elite is sovereign. Only God gives us standards and value that is binding upon all persons in all places of authority. Christianity gave us freedom without chaos. But as Eric Hoffer said, “When Freedom destroys order, the yearning for order will destroy freedom.”


Man is made in the image of God from conception. “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wondrously made: marvellous are they works, and my soul knoweth it well. My bones are not hid from thee, though I was made in a secret place, and fashioned beneath in the earth. Thine eyes did see me, when I was without form: for in they book were all things written, which in continuance were fashioned, when there was none of them before.” Psalm 139:13-16. “Behold, I was born in iniquity, and in sin hath my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5 “Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee, and before thou came out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and ordained thee to be a Prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5. Furthermore the Scriptures emphasize the sovereign and personal activity of God in conception and birth. He opens and shuts the womb Genesis 1:28, “I have obtained a man by the Lord.”Behold children are an inheritance of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb his reward.” Psalm 127:3. “Now the Lord visited Sarah, as he had said, and did unit her according as he had promised.” “God hath given sentence on my side, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son.” Genesis 30:6. “Now Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.” 1 Samual 1:19. “He that hath made me in the womb, hath he not made him? hath not he alone fashioned us in the womb?” Job 31:15 “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Job 33:4 But remember as stated earlier that we are not just a soul with a body, we are a physical-spiritual entity. During the same moments these verses recall, God is forming our person. At twenty-one days the first heart beats can be heard from the human’s developing heart. Forty-five days after conception we can identify brain waives. By the ninth and tenth weeks, before the woman is even aware of the child’s presence, the baby can squint, swallow, and move his tongue. By twelve or thirteen weeks the child has fingernails, can suck their thumb, and recoil from pain. Fingerprints have already formed on the hands and they will never change, except in size. By the fourth month the baby is eight to ten inches long and continues to lengthen and strengthen through the fifth month. Skin, hair, nails, sweat glands, and oil glands all begin to operate. Now the mother can feel the child’s presence. In the sixth month the child can recognize and respond to light and sound. They can sleep and awaken, they can get hiccups and can hear their mother’s heart beat. By this time survival outside of the womb is possible. In the seventh month the nervous system become radically more complex. The infant is about sixteen inches long and in the mark of three pounds. Throughout the remainder of the pregnancy the baby fattens and gains size. So is the child made in the image of God fashioned thus far.


I concur and have tasted something this morning of what R.C. Sproul Jr. said in the following quotation, “In my judgement abortion is like the doctrine of hell. Hell is real, the Bible teaches it an it ought to alter how we live our lives. But I understand that is such a real horror that the human mind can’t enter into it and think on it very long before the horror of it just drive you crazy. Abortion is like that. We can’t think about it too long, because it is just to ghastly. And yet our calling is to enter into, to push the boundary, and to go into it.” As I stated earlier I find myself deeply disturbed that I and even the Church is not so deeply disturbed. Francis Scheffer in his book, “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” stated, “Of all the subjects relating to the erosion of the sanctity of human life, abortion is the keystone. It is the first and crucial issue that has been overwhelming in changing attitudes toward the value of life in general.” If we loose the battle of definitions, if man is not seen as made in the image of God, nothing then stands in the way of inhumanity. There is no good reason why mankind should be perceived as special. There are several forms of abortion, all of which far to ineffable to expound upon in detail. For the sake of younger listeners present all I need say is that it is a each procedure was designed in hell itself. [Dilation and Curettage – a small instrument of death shaped as a hoe is used to cut and scrape the baby out of the body. The infants body is then reassembled on a table to ensure all pieces have been retrieved. Suction Abortion – The human child is sucked into a jar. Within the jar one can recognize the arms, legs, head, and other parts of the human anatomy. Saline Abortion – A long needle is inserted through the abdomen directly in to the sac with a solution of concentrated salt. This burns off the outer layer of skin over the duration of an hour. The next day the mother will go into labor and deliver a shrivelled, darkened baby.] Abortion and birth control are the sacraments of our culture. Babies are the sacrifices we lay upon the alter of beauty and licentious freedom.


Firstly, Abortion is not a private, personal medical procedure. Abortion is murder. It is the premeditated and committed termination of the life of a human being made in the image of God, given by God for a role in the world.  “Who so sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God hat the made man. But bring ye forth fruit and multiply: grow plentiful in the earth, and increase therein.” Genesis 9:6-7.  “And if death follow, then thou shalt pay life for life.” Exodus 21:23 Secondly, the mothers are not innocent and they are not victims. The idea of a poor, misguided, innocent girl is a myth. They are cold, heartless women, who although possibly in a difficult place, find their solution in murdering their children. Thirdly, it is not a woman’s or a feminist’s issue. Abortion is no more a feminist issue any more than slavary was only a slave owner’s issue. As Schaeffer wrote, “The fate of the unborn is a question of the fate of the human race. We are one human family. If the rights of one part of that family are denied, it is of concern to each of us. What is at stake is no less than the essence of what freedom and rights are all about.” Fourthly, you cannot legislate against Abortion unless you have experienced Abortion or pregnancy under strenuous circumstances. This is a humanistic lie which reduces all things to the test of man’s experience and thus under-cuts the law. I do not have to attempt murder before I can legislate against it. Fifthly, As Sproul Jr. observed, Christians are limited to only two forms of protest. The first is hateful, screaming, and authoritarian. The second is loving, forgiving, and non-judgmental in nature. There is however a third option, the same which Christ practiced with Mary the prostitute and Mary at the well. Identify and confront the sin. Which turns us back to confronting the first myth, abortion is murder.


What is our response as Christians? This all started with the acceptance of the attitude that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived which only the Gospel can provide a sufficient and true answer against. The second is to cultivate in ourselves and instil in our children a pious, righteous, godly rage against the unspeakable horror of the slaughter of countless millions in the Abortion mills of North America and the world. It is not enough to have an emotional unease about abortion. As Schaeffer implored, “A significant percentage of people within our society must adopt and live by a world-view which not only hopes or intends to give a basis for human dignity but which really does.” The third which follows from this is not merely to have children not murdered, but to provide them and their mothers with a real life. Even if this means sacrificing some of our own personal peace and affluence. Furthermore, exert all your influence to fight against the loss and desecration of the image of God. “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all the children of destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and judge the afflicted, and the poor.” Proverbs 31:8-9. I will end with one final quote from Schaeffer’s book, “Whatever happened to the human race?” “Future generational will look back, and many will either scoff or believe in Christ on the basis of whether we Christians of today took a sacrificial stand in our various walks of life on these overwhelmingly important issues. If we do not take a stand here and now, we certainly cannot lay any claim to being the salt of the earth in our generation. We are neither preserving moral values and the dignity of the individual nor showing compassion for our fellow human beings.”