The Image of God, the Fall and the way back home from the far country

 

 

We have spent a few weeks looking at the Fall and how people are not in their own power able to rebuild their relationship with God.   Before the fall it was beautiful and after the fall darkness fell on to the human race and onto creation.  In the grand scheme of things God became a man in the Person of Jesus Christ.  Being more specific; the God-Man Jesus Christ came into the world and opened the way of salvation for us.  It was a very high price to pay but God paid this price through the atonement. He paid the price, the propitiation for our sins.

Although God is a God of love this cannot be decoupled from his justice.  Christians talk about a ‘Holy God.’  According to the Genesis story humanity rebelled against God thus judgement needed to be meted out.  The death of Jesus Christ was the means used to turn away the wrath of God from us and by faith in Christ we can have eternal life. Jesus Christ our Lord took the complete and utter wrath of God on himself.  This is the propitiation.  The death and suffering of Christ was the propitiatory act; the act of turning God’s wrath away from us.  This is true love that Christ died for his church even while we were outside of God’s kingdom.

In simple terms:

propitiation = the turning of Gods wrath away by sacrifice.

There is a theory that the Devil held humanity as a ransom and Jesus paid it.  This is absolutely not true.  It was disproved by Anselm in the 12thcentury in a book called Cur Deus Homo? (Why did God become a man?).  Humanities problem was the Fall.  We messed up big time and we deserved to die but a way was made for us to return to that pristine condition at the end of time by being brought by the Holy Spirit in Christ to have fellowship with God for all eternity.  Anyhow this is by way of an introduction to Bavincks next section which is to do with us as the fallen image of God and then he talks about the conscience and on the latter topic he goes really deep.

Thus, we have been created in the image of God but if it wasn’t for God we would have been completely separated from the Divine life for all eternity. Bavinck writes in his intro:

“Sin seeks to destroy and annihilate everything. But God did not allow that to happen because he had a different and higher purpose for humanity— namely, a people to proclaim his praise. God maintains his creation and tempers the inclination to evil. He did not need to do it; that he does is a gift. All of life and all of humanity” are under judgment and fall within the purview of patience, of God’s forbearance.”(Bavinck Ethics volume 1, page 147 page reference updated 06-02-2021)

We spent a long time looking at sin and what we learned is that it pulls us away from God into complete separation from God.  God did not forget the human race as He created it.  Bavinck in his introduction reminds us that God see everything.  Purview is an interesting word he uses. A synonym for purview is remit.  If you were a manger it would point to the limits of your authority in the place that you work.  God’s remit is the whole of creation and he watches over it.  Bavinck here in the introduction basically says that God holds back evil from the totality that it can go to.  So how evil can humanity be.  I think we already know the answer to that question.  Millions of people have already been killed due the evil that human societies have carried within them.

We were created in the image of God and the Fall caused us to become prodigal and rebellious.   As Bavinck says God did not need to temper the dark side of humanity but he does.  We will continue working on this later on in the Week.  It has been a busy Week but by God’s grace I will add more to this very soon.

 

 

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