Our eternal image was decided aeons ago.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’ So God created man in His own image…” Genesis 1:26-27
‘God’ in this passage is Elohim which is a plural noun, representing the Trinity. Plurality is substantiated by the nouns ‘Us’ and ‘Our.’
God ‘made’ or fashioned man after His likeness; however, He began by creating man out of nothing. ‘Created’ in this context means the initiation of something and can only be done by God. Thus ‘create’ precedes ‘make.’
‘Image’ and ‘likeness’ can be used interchangeably and they both mean representative, similitude or fashion.
Therefore, man’s image in the likeness of God began with Adam. God’s image includes life eternal and possession of His Spirit.
Well, Adam put a detour on man’s odyssey; however, due to God’s grace He bought man back and reinstated His original intent. The price He paid was the blood of Jesus, and redeemed man is once again on the path of life.
Let’s fast forward to the days following Christ’s birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, to the revelations given to the Church. Christ was resurrected with an eternal glorified body not subject to corruption.
We’ll examine the writings of Peter, John, and Paul. Their messages are the same.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” Romans 8:29
‘Foreknew’ means ‘foreordained’ while ‘conformed’ means to be ‘fashioned together in His likeness.’
“Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:29
Note that ‘glorified’ is the past tense; it is a sure thing.
Peter also addressed those whom God has called and have been given the knowledge of Himself and His Son.
“…by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world…” 2 Peter 1:4
The ‘divine nature’ amplifies the words Paul used in the previous Scripture passage, i.e. ‘glorified.’ Such awaits those who not only believe in Christ, but those who have committed their entire life and being to Him.
Paul, in his letter to the church in Philippi, confirmed God’s gift of grace through Christ…
“…who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body…” Philippians 3:21
‘Transform’ means to change the outward form or appearance of something. From corruption (decay) to glory!
John acknowledged the future transformation, but added that we don’t have full knowledge of exactly what redeemed man will be like until the glorified Christ is revealed as He returns.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2
Our future is sure, inasmuch as Jesus Himself prayed for our future glory.
“I do not pray for these (disciples) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (us); that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us…and the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one.” John 17:20-22
And then Jesus prayed that we would be with Him where He is.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me…” John 17:24
Jesus Christ was/is the exact image of the Father. Man was created in the image of God. Man sinned. Jesus took on the image (appearance) of man to fulfill that which man could not do. The price of Jesus’ shed blood for man’s sins assured us that God’s plan would be fulfilled – that in the future we would be given glorified, eternal bodies in the image of the One who saved us.
Perfect plan, perfect fulfillment.