Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 2:26-27.

Likeness: 1823. ἐξαστράπτω exastrapto, ex-as-trap´-to; from 1537 and 797; to lighten forth, i.e. (figuratively) to be radiant (of very white garments): — glistening.

Image 2 Cor 4:4 | G1504. εἰκών eikon, i-kone´; from 1503; a likeness, i.e. (literally) statue, profile, or (figuratively) representation, resemblance: — image.

Image Gen 1:27 | H6754. צֶלֶם tselem, tseh´-lem; from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure, especially an idol:—image, vain shew.

Biblical scholar D. J. A. Clines, in his groundbreaking article “The Image of God in Man” (Tyndale Bulletin 19, 1968, 53-103) argues that the Hebrew preposition be (“in”) in the phrases betsalmenu, “in our image,” and betsalmo, “in his image” (Genesis 1:27), should be taken as an instance of “ beth essentiae” or “beth of the essence.” We realize that this may be difficult to grasp if you don’t know any Hebrew, but the point is that the grammar favors the translation “God created man as His image” over “God created man in His image.” As Cline puts it in his concluding remarks: “Thus we may say that according to Genesis 1, man does not have the image of God, nor is he made in the image of God, but is himself the image of God.” Humankind, then, was created to be a “copy” or a “graphic image” of the Creator – a formal, visible, and understandable representation of who God is and what He is really like.

Who are We?

The ‘Who am I?’ question creates a canyon between the problem and its answer. The problem may start with personality, trauma, adverse childhood experiences, mountaintop experiences, societally approved careers, socioeconomic status, spiritual beliefs, marital status, and other social or culturally defined identities. 

The answer may vary as much as the person asking the question. Moses asked this question of God. Who am I that you would send me? Who are we that God would use us for his purposes? How can I learn to embrace foundational truths and learn to ‘just be’ in my created identity so that I can have this joy and abundant life? And, what is my created identity and why does that matter?

The created model is the only model that states that all humans are equal. Each person is created in the image of God and thereby has intrinsic value and worth based on their formed components: male and female.

Crucial Distinctions

It is important to remember that because of the Fall of Man and the awareness of The Knowledge of Good and Evil, the only way that we can KNOW who we are is to be in a relationship with the Creator. We are a representation of God. The enemy’s primary goal is to destroy the identity that repels him. Since he cannot kill the Creator, he goes after us, the created.

This relationship is hindered by life in a place that we were not meant to be, impacted by an evil out to steal, kill, and destroy. Unfortunately, those wounds and adverse experiences often keep us from the very intimacy needed for the knowing.

This distinction is important because society tells us we can determine our identity. The truth is that our identity is not what we feel, think, do, or desire. Our desires and experiences may be things we identify with or roles that we play, but from a created perspective are not identities but a false self, a distorted view from a fallen place.

Known and Formed

The Call of Jeremiah — Jeremiah 1:4-5

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Psalm 139:13-18 | Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart | To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

In the Womb

Research Substantiates

We have what is referred to as Cellular or Intrinsic Memory. This means that what is going on around us, or what our mother is feeling is etched in our brains and our cells. We have memory that isn’t always cognitive, which means we cannot recall the memory, but is impacting our identity and how we view ourselves.

  • In the Womb—Beethoven makes babies smart! No conceptualization.
    (This means we cannot recall the memory, but it impacts us.)
  • Many things can impact development in the womb
  • Babies can sense love, hate, fear, trauma.
  • This can impact our foundation, identity, our perspective.
God Given Emotional Needs—His Designed Connection

These needs begin in the womb, not after we are born. We can already develop trust, connection, or feel like our world is already in chaos. Research is finding that people who were adopted from birth or did not bond with their birth mother can develop Adult Reactive Attachment. Some can go through life wondering why it is difficult for them to connect with people, or always pushing people and God away.

  • Relationship with God, Other, and Self.
  • These needs are good. Amazing!
  • Security
  • Boundaries, Safety
  • Attention | give and receive
  • A sense of Autonomy and Control
  • Touch Connection
  • Friendship, Intimacy
  • Comfort, Closeness
  • Forgiveness
  • Love, Care, Delight
  • Acceptance, Have Purpose
  • Support
  • Trust
  • Positive View of Self
    —I’m valuable
    —I have a sense of
    —I’m understood
    —I’m protected