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We know from Genesis that we are created in God's image.

Genesis 1:26: Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness"

Genesis 1:27: So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

But then in 1 Corinthians 15:49

Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

So we can know that God's image is not of the earth or earthly.

The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:47

Because Christ IS the image of God.

He is the image of the invisible God... Colossians 1:15

When did/does the true image bearing begin or recommence?

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It is obviously true that mankind was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26, 27) but that this image was marred by sin (Gen 3).

The whole purpose of the plan of salvation is to restore that image in us which the the Bible describes in a variety of ways. Since Jesus is the image of God (Col 1:15) the language of the NT is usually to make us like Christ.

  • 2 Cor 3:18 - And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
  • 2 Peter 1:4 - Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
  • Eph 4:15 - Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head.
  • Col 2:7 - rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
  • 1 Tim 6:11 - But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
  • Gal 5:16 - So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Note that this is present reality whose culmination is discussed in 1 John 3:2 -

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

That is, the Christian walk is one of becoming more like Christ by the miracle of the Holy Spirit. This whole idea is often summarized by the doctrine of the "Imitation of Christ" which is very widely discussed in the NT, such as:

  • Love as Jesus loved. John 13:34, 35, 15:12, 1 John 4:8, 11, 19, Eph 5:1, 2.
  • Lay down life for friends. John 15:13, Eph 5:2.
  • Jesus’ suffering leaves us an example. John 16:33, 1 Cor 7:28, 2 Tim 1:4, Heb 13:12, 13, 1 Peter 2:21.
  • Because Jesus was persecuted, so are His followers. John 15:20, 21.
  • Conformed to the likeness of the Son. Rom 8:29.
  • Transforming our will and bodies to conform to God’s will. Rom 12:1, 2.
  • Jesus was baptised (Matt 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21, 22) and so should we be baptised, Matt 28:19, Acts 2:38, 10:48, 16:31, 22:16, Rom 6:1-9, etc.
  • Forgive as Jesus forgave. Matt 6:12, 14, 15, 18:35, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13.
  • Be imitators of God. Eph 5:1.
  • Be holy as Jesus is holy. Lev 11:44, 45, 1 Peter 1:15, 16.
  • Be pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3.
  • Partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4.
  • We are being changed into Christ’s glory (= reputation). 2 Cor 3:18.
  • Pray as Jesus prayed. Luke 11:1.
  • We are to have the mind of Christ. Phil 2:5, 1 Cor 2:16.
  • Be kind because God is kind. Luke 6:34, 35.
  • Be merciful because God is merciful. Luke 6:36.
  • Be servants to others as Jesus was. John 13:15-17, 1 Peter 4:11b, Matt 20:24-28.
  • Be patient as Jesus was patient. 1 Tim 1:16.
  • Talk/speak as Jesus speaks. 1 Peter 4:11a.
  • Be “perfect” (= mature and generous to enemies) as the Father is. Matt 5:48.
  • Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved His people and gave Himself for her. Eph 5:25.
  • Keep the commandments as Jesus kept the commandments. John 15:10.
  • Abide in Christ as Christ abides in us. John 15:4.
  • Jesus is the “beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13) and Jesus is the beginning and end of our faith (Heb 12:2).
  • We are co-heirs with Christ of glory. Rom 8:17.
  • Jesus gave his all and we must give up all things for Him. Rom 8:32.

... as much more.

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  • Another relevant passage: Matthew 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. – Spirit Realm Investigator Mar 1 at 0:50
  • I liked the first part. I think you have then deviated to form a position that we are becoming in the image of God by doing things. – user48152 Mar 1 at 0:50
  • @user48152 - not so - we do things (keep the commandments etc) because we are being made into the image of God. – Dottard Mar 1 at 0:52
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator - I would very careful about using that because Adam, before his fall into sin, did not have that characteristic - Adam and Eve could procreate but we still in the image of God. – Dottard Mar 1 at 0:53
  • Ok, but then this should be made clear in the answer. The Q asked for a time frame which I don't see expressed anywhere. – user48152 Mar 1 at 1:12
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What does it mean to be in God's image? (Eph. 4:24 NET)

"and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth."

What is the equivalent of being in God's image? Paul said, "in righteousness and holiness". Hence, one is in God's image when they live a holy life.

However, have ordinary people been able to meet this standard? (Rom. 3:23 NKJV)

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

Have ordinary people been able to maintain God's image of righteousness and holiness? Paul said, "all have sinned". This occurred at the Garden of Eden.

Who alone has not sinned? (I Pet. 2:21-22 NKJV)

"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth;'"

Who alone did not sin? Peter said, "Christ". Hence, why Jesus is said to be in the image of God.

Who made the Son of God holy? (John 10:36 NKJV)

"do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?"

Who sanctified Jesus? Jesus said, "the Father". Hence why Jesus was able to maintain God's image of holiness.

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