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I am seeking answers from Protestant Trinitarians in regard to the statement in Genesis 1:27 that humanity was made in the image and the likeness of God ; and whether this actually refers to the revelation of Deity in humanity, since Adam was merely a 'figure of him that was to come', Romans 5:14.

In Hebrews 1:3 we read that the Son is the 'express image' [KJV] of God and in Colossians 1:15 that he is the 'image of the invisible God' [KJV again]. But the writer to the Hebrews uses the word χαρακτηρ, character, and Paul uses the word εικων, eikon. (These are two very different words in Greek.)

I wondered if the Greek of the New Testament is conveying to us the same concept as Genesis, 'image' and 'likeness'. Though I must confess that I am not certain which Greek word would convey which concept. Only that two concepts are definitely being expressed and the KJV has translated both as 'image'.

If the first account of creation in Genesis (the 'Elohim' account) is a spiritual account of creation as such, and therefore of creation as it will be in the future, a new creation ; then are we seeing in Genesis a precursor to Hebrews/Colossians, the conceptual expression of the Son of God, as yet to come in humanity ?

And does, therefore, the twin expressions of Hebrews and Colossians mirror the concept being conveyed in the beginning of creation ?


I felt that, although I am mentioning Greek wording, the question would be unsuitable for SE-BH as it is not an hermeneutic question, but is rather a theological enquiry ; and I do seek the input of Protestant Trinitarians in regard to it.


All references are to the KJV and the Received Text.


EDIT after comment :

. . . and we beheld the glory of him glory as of only begotten alongside father

Literal, John 1:14, there being no article.

As John sees Divine glory (expressed in humanity) so I am suggesting that 'image' and 'likeness' 'of God' are not human characteristics but are, nevertheless, being expressed in humanity. It is the image and likeness of Deity that is being expressed by the Son (both Colossians and Hebrews refer to 'the Son' - not 'Jesus' or 'the Christ').

την δοξαν αυτου δοξαν ως μονογενους παρα πατρος

John 1:14 TR - Beza, Stephanus, Elzevir and Scrivener are all identical.

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I believe that Adam prefigures "him that was to come" in the area of representational or 'federal' headship. This prefiguring is mentioned in the long parenthetic encompassing verses 13-17 of Romans chapter 5 and this section compares and contrasts Adam's one offense and it's attendant consequence passing to all men just as Christ's one righteousness extends the free gift to all men.

Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. - Romans 5:18

Since a Trinitarian believes that Jesus Christ is fully human, we believe that Jesus' humanity is made in the same image and likeness of God as was Adam (whatever that entails). But since we also believe that Jesus Christ is fully God we also believe that, in this, He is distinct from Adam.

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: - Philippians 2:6-7

Adam is image and likeness from dust, enlivened to be a living soul by the breath of God. Jesus is Deity (Word and morphe of God) inhabiting that flesh. Adam represents, federally, all who are flesh only and from him we inherit sin and death. The Lord Jesus represents, federally, all who are both flesh and spirit and from him we inherit righteousness and life.

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    ... and we beheld the glory of him glory as of only begotten alongside father [Literal, John 1:14, there being no article]. As John sees Divine glory (expressed in humanity) so I am suggesting that 'image' and 'likeness' 'of God' are not human characteristics but are, nevertheless, being expressed in humanity. It is the image and likeness of Deity that is being expressed by the Son (both Colossians and Hebrews refer to 'the Son' - not 'Jesus' or 'the Christ'). I think we are stating the same thing, Michael, but I am being very tentative in my wording for this is sensitive and delicate.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 8 at 12:20

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