How was man made in God’s image?

made in God’s imageGenesis says we were made in God’s image. But we are also sinners? In what way do we resemble God?

In Genesis 1 we read:

Genesis 1:26-27 (NKJV)

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Remember God did not create man in his sinful condition. Man was created without sin but became sinful after Adam disobeyed, therefore Adam’s sin marred mankind. This makes our present condition not reflective of our original state prior to sin; in the image of God. The Godhead (i.e., “Us”) declares that Man will be made in the “image” and “likeness” of God. In the original Hebrew, the word translated image is tselem, which means a depiction or representation of something. For example, the same word is used in this passage referring to a drawing:  made in God’s image

Ezekiel 23:13-16 (NKJV)

13 Then I saw that she was defiled;
Both took the same way.
14 But she increased her harlotry;
She looked at men portrayed on the wall,
Images of Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion,
15 Girded with belts around their waists,
Flowing turbans on their heads,
All of them looking like captains,
In the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea,
The land of their nativity.
16 As soon as her eyes saw them,
She lusted for them
And sent messengers to them in Chaldea.

The word translated “images” in Ezekiel 23:14 is the same Hebrew word as the one used in Genesis 1:26. Notice in the Ezekiel passage that the word was used to describe a drawing or painting on a wall. Drawings are two-dimensional representations of real-life objects, and obviously, that depiction was merely reminiscent of the real-life objects they portrayed. A drawing on the wall would never be mistaken for the real object it represents. The drawing and its subject are very different from one another.

So, when Genesis says we were created in the image of God, it isn’t saying we are a carbon copy of God or a clone, etc. We are very, very different than God. Nevertheless, we were created to reflect aspects of God, in ways that set us apart from the rest of Creation (which is not made in His image). made in God’s image

Then in what way(s) do we resemble God? Do we mirror His physical form? As we pointed out, we know this can’t be true, because God has no physical form, as scripture says:

John 4:24 (NKJV)

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 1:18 (NKJV)

18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

John 5:37 (NKJV)

37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.

As scripture testifies, God the Father and God the Spirit are all Spirit, and therefore He has no physical form. In fact, the Son became flesh so that men could see God in physical form:

John 1:14 (NKJV)

The Word Becomes Flesh

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Colossians 1:15 (NKJV)

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Philippians 2:6-8 (NKJV)

who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Ironically, the Bible says we were created in the likeness of an invisible God, and it says that the invisible God sent His Son in our likeness (i.e., in human flesh) so that we could see Him.  made in God’s image

Therefore, we must conclude we are created in the likeness of God in terms of sharing aspects of God’s character, nature, and personality. We have the capacity to love and hate, to obey and to reason. We have the ability to worship Him and know Him in ways nothing else in His creation can equal. Therefore, we are made in His likeness in these ways, not in terms of His appearance (for He has no physical appearance).





“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at”


Join our mailing list

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.