Updated: Mar 23, 2019
by Dave Miller
I grew up in the age of rainbow-haired rebounders, Chicago Bull threepeats, and Air Jordan. There was no Youtube, so witnessing the indescribable free-throw-line dunk required catching the news or a sports replay whenever we could. No ‘80s kid will ever forget how Mike launched from 15 feet just floating forever. It seemed as if he was running on thin air, stretching for the rim, and defeating the impossible. The iconic Jumpman was born.
Never again would an adjustable driveway goal be complete without a sidewalk crack leap with tongue out and hand outstretched, wearing our Air Jordans. We wanted to be like Mike. We wore shoes like Mike. We gave our all in 1 on 1 to win three in a row like Mike. We faded every jump shot, regardless of the air balls to be like Mike. Our friends knew we were like Mike by any clothing that paraded the Jumpan no matter the cost of the tank top, shorts, or shoes. If image is everything, in the basketball world #23 was the standard.
In the beginning God’s image was the standard. His glory was captivating, mesmerizing, iconic. All of creation shouted His renown, but none like the one formed from the dust. God’s image was everything and in the beginning man had it.
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” God said. (Gen. 1:26).
Man was designed to be like God. God’s image revealed his attributes of Glory in Adam and Eve like no other part of creation. Adam and Eve were the summit of God’s miraculous work of creation.
A man named Adam and a woman named Eve had been created on the sixth, and last day of creation. A beautiful garden full of fruit trees, vibrant colored flowers, flowing crystal-clear rivers, animals as magnificent as lions and gentle as lambs awaited their care. An entire planet anticipated the arrival of their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and thousands more generations. The whole earth would be filled with the glory of God, as the incomprehensible beauty of Eden spread to the ends of the earth at the hands of the newly created image-bearing ambassadors. This was the plan.
Central to this plan was man. Adam, the first man, was created “in the image of God.”
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).
The image of God is more than body and look. It goes beyond arms and legs. Paul tells us in Colossians1:15 God is invisible. So what does the image of God look like?
The image of God means a reflection of God’s characteristics in our relationships. For example: God is love therefore I can love. God is truth therefore I can know. God is creator therefore I can be creative. God is relational therefore I need community. God is just therefore I can know right and wrong. Man represents God like an “ambassador from a foreign country. As an ambassador represent his country’s authority, so man (both male and female) … represent the authority of God.” Simply put, the qualities of God are represented as we act as God’s ambassadors in relation to, God, fellow man, and creation. 
God created the image-bearing ambassadors to fill the earth with image-bearing ambassadors.
“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” (Gen. 1:28).
Adam and Eve would multiply the beauty of the Garden to the ends of the earth through multiplying children who joined them in the task.
God entrusted the spread of his Glory in all the earth to the image-bearing ambassadors. If the image-bearing ambassadors take their delegated authority seriously then the creation shouts more and more of the Glory of God. Worshippers fill the whole earth with more worshippers. To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen!
Even though we know the story takes a tragic turn, the plan doesn’t change. God said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, give up, and to the south, so not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43: 5-7).
And again through the prophet Habakkuk:
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).
The mission of God goes into high gear with the creation of Man and nothing will stop the completion of God’s will.
We know and have seen the end of the story. The Lamb, Jesus Christ, is seated upon the throne receiving the glory and worship he deserves from people of every tribe, tongue, and nation (Rev. 7:9-10). The new earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:1-4).
At this moment, God’s mission, to be glorious in the person of Jesus Christ, reaches the climax for this side of eternity and moves into an everlasting glorious restoration, God with man in perfection. God overcomes the sin and death of man through our Savior, the God-Man Jesus the Christ. In so doing, God is glorified restoring both his creation and his creation’s purpose. But you and I experience brokenness in the tragic middle that looks nothing like the promise of God’s original design or the glorious restoration for eternity. The image of God is everything in man. Paul Tripp said, “We are inescapably worshippers,” created for a purpose far beyond ourselves. Therefore the image of God defines our purpose, our beginning, our middle, and our end.
But what happens when sin corrupts this glorious purpose?
Up Next: Broken Image, Broken Lives
Until there's #NoPlaceLeft...
Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative. Kindle Edition, 74.
Anthony Hoekema, Created in God’s Image(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 82.
Paul Tripp, “What did you expect?" Video
Sentergy: When Jesus, People, Practice and Theology Collide
Chapter 1: The Glory of God
Chapter 2: The Glory of God in Jesus
Chapter 3: The Glory of God in the Gospel
Chapter 4: The Glory of God in Disciple Making
Chapter 5: If You Love Me You Will Obey What I Command
Chapter 6: Monday Morning Disciple Making
Chapter 7: Monday Morning Disciple Making Part 2
Interlude: The Father's Heart
Conclusion: The Lump In Your Throat