Christian Worldview 5 – Made in the Image of God

(For Part 1 click here)

In the Bible class I teach we are discussing how to develop and defend our Christian worldview. This week we are investigating the creation narrative and what it tells us about being made in the image of God. Along with that we are discussing the position God has given mankind in subduing and having dominion over the creation.

What does it mean to be made in the image of God? We know that God does not have a physical body like we have. He is a spirit being. So that can’t be what the Bible means. There are certain characteristics that God has given us that he also possesses. For example, he is able to think and we are able to think. God is creative and he has given us the ability to create. God can communicate and we have the ability to communicate. I’m sure you can think of others. Internally we are a spirit as well. God says that his spirit bears witness with our spirit. So we are spirit beings inside of a physical body.

God has given us the dominion over his creation and has told us we are to subdue it. To subdue means to bring it under control. We are God’s representatives to be the stewards or care-takers of his creation. One of the first things that Adam did was to name the animals. Naming things is one way we make sense of and gain control over our environment. After Adam’s fall, this stewardship responsibility became much more difficult. Work was harder and more laborious.

As God’s managers we have the responsibility to take good care of the created world, the environment we live in. But we are to remember that God has created this world with resources for us to use. Some of the creation has been given to us for food and so we should not be afraid to take plants from the ground or kill animals for our nourishment. On the other hand, having dominion doesn’t mean we should wantonly waste resources or pollute them so that they are unusable by others. There’s an important balance that we must maintain as we serve God by managing his creation.

(Part 6)

Thoughts on Psalm 104

Take some time and read Psalm 104 thoroughly and carefully. It will help you in your appreciation of God and his might power and creative design. I’m not going to discuss every verse but just reflect on some of the things that stood out to me.

Verse 1 “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” Take time to talk to yourself. Encourage yourself to be focused on the praise that God deserves. Acknowledge God’s greatness to him. Don’t just rest on the fact that you know it in your mind. Tell him, “O Lord, you are very great!”

Verse 5 “You laid the foundations of the earth…” We realize that the Bible is not a science book per se. We recognize that the earth does not have foundations or pillars to rest on. But its stability is amazing when we think about the fact that it is just floating in space obeying the laws of gravity which God designed for it.

Verses 6-9 speak of God’s control over the waters. This could be a description of creative action at the beginning or of the great flood of Noah’s day. All of this is attributed to God’s active involvement.

Verses 10 and 11 give evidence of God’s active involvement and design and planning to give water and nourishment to the animals. God is not just far away in some corner of heaven. He is involved and aware and observant of all of his creation. Jesus encouraged us not to worry but to trust God because he takes care of the birds and clothes the field with splendor,  Matthew 6:28-31.

Verses 13 and 14: He waters the hills and causes the grass to grow. The earth is satisfied with God’s provision and care. His provision for mankind is included since man is able to bring forth food from the earth with which he can provide himself with bread and wine for his sustenance.

Verse 18 : God provided specific habitats for the creatures he had made.

Verse 19: He uses the sun and moon to mark off the days and seasons and to allow the various animals to follow their instincts for hunting and sleeping. Some sleep during the day and hunt at night. God has created, designed and provided for all of these differences.

Verse 23 shows us that his provision includes man and the provision for him to go out to work and return for a night’s rest. Psalm 127:2 tells us that God provides his beloved sleep.

Verses 24-26: How manifold are God’s works. He created innumerable creatures for the sea as well as the earth. Many of these man has never seen. And yet they are there, playing. I believe God enjoys watching what he has made, even when we can’t see it.

Verses 27-30 explain how all creation waits upon God for their food. Just as in Jesus’ parable, God provides for every sparrow and every other creature as well. We need to learn to trust him. I’m also impressed to see God’s continuous creative process at work. He takes away their breath and they return to dust. He sends his spirit and new ones are born renewing the face of the earth.

Verse 33: The response is one of rejoicing and praise demonstrated by the outburst of song.


Do we pay enough attention to all that God s created? Do we meditate on the amazing wonder of his works displayed throughout the earth and sky? Perhaps if we did, we would be more prone to praise and magnify his name and be thankful for all he is and does.

Christian Worldview 4

All of the things we have looked at picture what things were like before time began. It seems to me that if we take a look at what things will be like after time is over, we might get a better idea of The Point. In the whole scheme of things from the biblical point of view, the period of time from the beginning until the end is very short compared to all of eternity before and after. So if we can see what is taking place at the end, we will be able to see what God accomplished during time. That will give us insight into the purpose of it all.

If we could “visit” the end, what would we “see”? First we would find that the Triune God was still there. But we would notice that God the Son now has a glorified human body and further we would notice that that body has been wounded. What Christianity pictures for us at this point is astounding! The Spirit-God of the universe has somehow taken on a human body that had lived a life on earth, died a gruesome death and is now back in heaven with a wounded human, but glorified, body.

Along with the trinity we will see countless other glorified human beings. As we watch and listen we learn that these are one spirit with the Son and of His flesh and bones. We learn that they share in the divine nature, are variously called brothers or the bride of the Son. They are called joint-heirs with the Son putting them basically into the family of God. And furthermore we see that they share in ruling and reigning along with the Son of God. (see Hebrews 2:11; Eph 5:30-33; 1 Cor 6:16-17; Romans 8:17;2 Peter 1:4; Rev 20:4)

We hear countless groups giving praise to God with sayings such as these:


Holy, holy holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!

You are worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.


You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.


Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!


Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!


In addition to these glorified human beings we see other created beings that we would call angels who are serving and ministering. But the sad thing we see is that there is a terrible place of torment where both humans and demons are being punished eternally for crimes they have committed against God.


What do we learn from this picture of what is taking place at the end?  1) God created all things for His pleasure, glory and honor. 2) We learn that God is just and must punish evil and rebellion. He doesn’t just sweep everybody in and wink at sin. 3) We learn that God was willing to sacrifice Himself to redeem a people for Himself. 4) We learn that there will be people of every tribe and nation participating. God does not discriminate. 5) His people will rule and reign with Him. 6) Finally, we learn that there will be enduring praise forever and ever for God and the glory He demonstrates in all His ways.


So what this tells us is the same thing all of the Bible is telling us. God created and then sent Jesus to redeem a people for Himself for the eternal praise of His glory. That’s why we’re here! As John Piper puts it, “The purpose of God is the ingathering of the nations to worship His Son. The magnifying of Christ in the white-hot worship of all nations is the reason the world exists.”

(Part 5)

Christian Worldview 3 – God’s Eternal Plan for His Glory


Last time we saw some of the things that the Son of God agreed to do in relationship with the creation of the world and redemption of His people. God the Father promised that He would prepare a body for His son (Luke 1:35; Heb 10:5). He promised that He would give Him everything He needed for His mission (Matt 12:18; Isa 42:1-8; 49:8; Ps 16:8-11; John 3:34; Acts 2:25-28). He promised that He would make Him the surety or guarantor of the New Covenant (Heb 7:22). As a reward He would make Him head of the church, His spiritual body (Acts 2:33; 1 Cor 12:13; Eph 1:22). He promised Him a numerous seed in reward for His work (Ps 72:17; John 6:37; Romans 5:18-19; Col 2:9; Hebrews 2;13; Isaiah 53:10, 11).

God the Holy Spirit’s role was to empower Christ for His ministry (Luke 4:1, 14, 18; John 3:34) and to apply the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work to God’s people after Jesus left (John 14:16-17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 2:17-18, 33).

So as we look at the big picture and try to answer the big questions about what is the purpose and meaning of life and the world, we see that at the beginning the only thing that existed was an all-powerful, all-knowing God existing in three persons. All were spiritual beings, meaning they didn’t have physical bodies. They communicated with each other, loved each other and had fellowship, all within the Godhead. Before anything had been created they planned together to create a universe and world that would have creatures of all kinds, but the pinnacle was to be human beings who would have many characteristics that God had. Humans would be able to love and communicate and fellowship. They would be conscious beings who would be able to plan, create and appreciate their surroundings.

Why would God plan this? The Bible tells us that God does everything He does for the glory of His great name. By creating other conscious beings, His glory would be able to be seen and appreciated by a host of beings who would share in His joy and delight in all He had made.

(Part 4)

Hymn for Easter – See What a Morning!

See, what a morning, gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem
Folded the grave-clothes, tomb filled with light
As the angels announce, “Christ is risen”

See God’s salvation plan
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice
Fulfilled in Christ, the man
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead

See Mary weeping, “Where is He laid?”
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name
It’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again

The voice that spans the years
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us
Will sound till He appears
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead

One with the Father, Ancient of Days
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty
Honor and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow’r and authority

And we are raised with Him
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered
And we shall reign with Him
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead

Worldview 2 – Agreement between God the Father and the Son

Continuing our discussion of the big picture questions, we find out in John 1:1 that something called “The Word” was with God in the beginning and also was God. This Word, or logos, is God the Son who ultimately became a man and lived here on earth among us as Jesus Christ. Jesus told his disciples that He had shared glory with the Father before the world began (John 17:24), and that the Father had loved Him before the world began (John 17:24).

The Bible indicates throughout that the three persons of the Godhead counseled and planned together concerning the creation of the world and the redemption of a people to be God’s personal possession. If you have time you might check out some of the following passages of Scripture: Psalm 33:11;  Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 46:9-10; Matt 25:34; Eph 1:4, 9-12; Eph 3:9-11; 2 Tim 1:9; Rev 13:8.

Even though this plan was an eternal plan before the world began, it was implemented in time, at the right time: Galatians 4:4; Romans 5:6; 1 Peter 1:20; Titus 1:2-3; 2 Tim 1:810; Ps 139:16

Because God is trinity, there was an agreement or covenant among the members of the trinity, agreed on before time began, as to how our redemption would be accomplished. Among other things the Son agreed in participating in the creation of the world and mankind. He would become a man and assume human nature (John 1:14; Gal 4:4-5; Heb 2:10-15). He would be placed under the law, obey it perfectly, and yet die in order to pay the penalty for sin (Ps 40:8; Matt 5:17,18; John 8:28, 29; John 10:18; John 17:4;  Gal 4:4,5; Phil 2:6-8; Heb 10:7-9). He would provide believers with forgiveness and renewal of their lives through the new covenant (Luke 22:20, John 17:12, 19-22; Heb 2: 10-13 7:25). He would give His people eternal life (John 17:2). And also that He would be the representative of a people (1 Cor 15:45; Heb 9:24).

(Part 3)

Worldview Thoughts 1

Sometimes when I contemplate the Christian faith I like to step back and try to get a grasp of the big picture. In philosophy and even in our own personal lives we ask the big questions: “Why I am I here?” “What is the meaning of life?”  I’ve been thinking about these things recently as I a write a book and as I teach a series on the Christian World View in my church. I thought I would take some of these ideas and condense them for my readers. So let’s begin at the beginning.

In the beginning, before time began and before anything had been created, what was there? The Bible tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). In the beginning nothing existed except God. We learn from Scripture that is Trinity, that is, He is three persons in one Godhead.  There is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Christians believe that this is not just a religious teaching but it is the truth about the way things actually are.

We also know from Scripture that there was love, fellowship and communication among the persons of the Godhead. This is important because the question often comes up among modern thinkers about where love comes from, or why we enjoy fellowship with one another as human beings. The Christian answer is that these traits don’t come from evolution nor are they just figments of our imagination or neural responses to stimuli. According to the Bible, we were made in the image of God and since God has love, He communicates and is a fellowshipping being, it makes sense that we would also have those traits.

(Part 2)

Food from the Fallow Ground

As I was reading in Proverbs this morning I came upon Proverbs 13:23: “Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor.” We all heard the saying that it is better to teach a person to fish than to give him a fish. There is a lot of poverty in our world and in our country. The United States government has spent billions of dollars to tackle the poverty problem and the percentages are not much better now than they were 50 years ago. My purpose here is not to provide a naïve remedy for a complex problem. But I thought that this principle from Scripture was interesting.

There is a lot of fallow ground where the poor live, even in cities. What if people could be shown how to till up some ground for a small garden and be shown how to plant a few vegetables? What if several neighbors could get permission to garden on a vacant lot near their homes in a big city? I know this is being done in many places, but there is an underlying truth here in this proverb. There are resources available within reach of most poor people, but they may not know how to access it. They may not have the motivation to access it. They may just not want to do that much work. But whatever the reason, it would be worthwhile to continue helping, teaching and showing how individuals can be more productive where they are using the resources that are right around them.

Reading the Puritans

I don’t know when it happened, but early on in my Christian life, perhaps in my teen years and certainly in my twenties, I developed a taste for Puritan writings and more modern writers who themselves had been steeped in Puritan and Reformation thought. As a pastor, my dad accumulated quite a library which included many Puritan and Reformation works. Even though he was a dispensationalist, he gravitated toward Reformation works and was able, in his own mind at least, to mesh the teachings together in a coherent thought pattern. I think I inherited some of this from him.

What attracted me to these writings was the way the authors in that tradition focused on the greatness, glory and sovereignty of God. The God described in the churches I attended was the same God and the beliefs were the same, but the emphasis was more on us and what we should be doing in our efforts to serve Him and please Him. The God of the Puritans was in charge. His followers could trust Him completely and more than that, they were able to rest in His goodness and in His plans for His people. It’s hard to describe but there was a difference. The God that was described by many people I heard had made salvation available, but His hands seemed to be tied by the “free will” of man. The offer was made, but rather than being the God described in the Bible as the one who goes out to save with His mighty right hand, we were given a God who was somewhat impotent while awaiting the outcome of what everyone was going to do with His Son. I was impressed with the purposes of God in the intention of increasing His glory among the nations and in worshipping this God with the spirit of reverence which is due His great name.

So who were some of the people I began to read and/or listen to? Here are some of my favorites: John Own, Jonathan Edwards, William Gurnall, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John MacArthur, John Piper, Arthur W. Pink, J. I Packer, Martin Luther, R.C. Sproul, to name a few. Now I don’t want to write this disclaimer in every article I write, although I may I have to. But, I don’t agree with every single thing these men say or write and you probably won’t either, but I don’t agree with everything anyone says. So my recommendation to read these men means there is good, meaty substance here even if you don’t agree with every statement or conclusion.

What are some of the works I would recommend? Any of the commentary series by Lloyd-Jones are good. He has a great set of books on Ephesians and Romans among others. These are mainly transcriptions of his sermons which he preached in London to a regular group of folks so these are not the kind of works meant for a scholarly audience. In addition, there is a website dedicated to presenting his audio sermons. The site is I highly recommend it. I can remember my dad listening to his sermons on the radio back in the 50’s and early 60’s.

A publisher I became familiar with early on in my adult life was Banner of Truth. This organization republishes Puritan works that had gone out of print. One of my favorite was a three paperback series called “The Christian in Complete Armour” by William Gurnall. This is an excellent devotional read. This is a modernized version so it is easier to read than the original. But who would think this much could be written from Ephesians 6 and the armor of God? They also publish a book of Puritan Prayers and Devotions called The Valley of Vision. This book helped me see the difference between the way I pray and meditate from the way the Puritans did. What I saw in them was a deeper reverence for God than what I have and a greater distrust of the flesh and therefore our need for deeper repentance and dependence on God for the living of our lives.

Other good books include Indwelling Sin in Believers by Owen, Practical Christianity by Pink, The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther, The Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards, The Pleasures of God by John Piper and any of the books and commentaries by John MacArthur. There is a very difficult book by John Owen titled The Death of Death in the Death of God. But the introduction by J.I. Packer is great if you can find it on line anywhere. Mark Dever and J. I. Packer quote this introduction in its entirety in chapter 4 of In My Place Condemned He Stood.

Some other good books include The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Plight of Man and the Power of God by Lloyd-Jones, Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer, The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink and Knowing God by J. I. Packer.

Jonathan Edwards is sometimes hard to follow and Ben Stevens has done us a service by taking Edwards’ book Dissertation Concerning the End for which God Created the World, and simplifying it in modern English for the rest of us. Stevens’ book is entitled simply Why God Created the World. These are very important ideas to think about and I heartily recommend the time it may take to read and think about what Edwards through Stevens is telling us.

For those of you who, like me, are from a Baptist background I’ll mention one more book that was helpful to me a number of years ago. It is called By His Grace and for His Glory by Dr. Thomas J. Nettles. In this book Dr. Nettles shows us how the Doctrines of Grace prevailed in the most influential and enduring arenas of Baptist denominational life until the end of the second decade of the twentieth century. This is a book that traces theological history in Baptist life from Reformation teaching down to the present. So if you’re the type of person that likes history and theology, you might find this an interesting read.

Hopefully this hasn’t been too overwhelming, but I wanted to give you a flavor of the kind of books that were formative in my Christian life and were powerful in propelling me forward in my love for God and His word. Perhaps something in this article will trigger your curiosity and might deepen your love for God and your appreciation of His grace as well.