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  • Chad Werkhoven

Genesis 1:26-28 - Imago Dei

Don't let the world crush your core identity!


Genesis 1:26–28 (ESV)

26 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.”

27  So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”


Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 14: The Creation and Fall of Man

We believe

that God created man from the dust of the earth

and made and formed him in his image and likeness—

good, just, and holy;

able by his own will to conform

in all things

to the will of God.

But when he was in honor

he did not understand it

and did not recognize his excellence.

But he subjected himself willingly to sin

and consequently to death and the curse,

lending his ear to the word of the devil.

For he transgressed the commandment of life,

which he had received,

and by his sin he separated himself from God,

who was his true life,

having corrupted his entire nature.

So he made himself guilty

and subject to physical and spiritual death,

having become wicked,


and corrupt in all his ways.

He lost all his excellent gifts

which he had received from God,

and he retained none of them

except for small traces

which are enough to make him


Moreover, all the light in us is turned to darkness,

as the Scripture teaches us:

“The light shone in the darkness,

and the darkness did not receive it.”

Here John calls men “darkness.”



This is the third time now this year that we've turned to Genesis 1, and the second time that we're reading these verses in particular. This makes sense, since our theme this year is to build our houses (lives) on the solid rock of scripture, so it's critical that we know these foundational passages well, since the whole rest of the Bible is predicated on them.

When we read this passage last month, we concentrated on the plural pronouns our singular God used to describe Himself. This time, we're going to focus on the other being that we're introduced to here: ourselves.

The first thing you learn about yourself is that you are created in God's image. This might seem a bit confusing, since we've already learned this year that God is a spirit, and as such has no physical appearance. So how is it that you resemble His image?

Our Confession describes this well: As an image bearer of God, man was created "good, just, and holy; able by his own will to conform in all things to the will of God." No other creature has been given this honor!

Dig Deeper

This passage impacts your life in three significant ways. First, as an image bearer of God, you have infinite intrinsic value. In other words, the world wants you to think that you're just the product of a random collision of molecules that somehow has evolved into a complex living, thinking and self aware creature floating around in a cold, vast universe that's trillions of years old. What a depressing thought! But God tells you the truth here, that you were very intentionally designed and formed by Him, and that you have been given dominion over His entire creation.

Yet it quickly becomes clear that things are not way supposed to be. You know yourself well enough to realize that you are no longer 'good, just and holy,' and that you push against the will of God that you were created to conform to. You've see how the dominion you've been given to care for what God has made has been wielded for selfish gains. Sin has greatly diminished God's image in all of us!

So right away as we read these opening words of the Bible, we're already being pointed towards the need for a Savior! It's showing us that fallen, sinful humanity needs salvation from the One who has fulfilled every last detail of God's original intent in creating us imago Dei (in the image of God). That perfect man who is our Savior is Jesus Christ.

Having been saved by Christ, you are now being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. This simply means that by using Spiritual Disciplines like daily Bible reading and gathering on the Lord's Day with His people to worship Him, you are slowly being "renewed in knowledge in the image of your Creator" (Colossians 3:10). As you follow Christ step by step, you are becoming the perfect image bearer you were created to be.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Triune God who created man in His own image and likeness and gave us dominion over all of His creation;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that as you trust in Christ and walk the narrow road, that more and more you will be renewed in His image.



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Matthew 7


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