- We discussed how the bible relates the struggle of humanity to a mother experiencing childbirth. (Romans 8:18-23).
- We covered how God’s creation was intentionally created to reflect His will and the unseen spirit realm while taking not of how destructive sin is to God’s creation.
- We talked about how God had to make the earth and His creation “subject to vanity” in hopes that the process would develop believers into the sons of God made manifest upon Christ’s return. (1 John 3:1-3).
- We talked about the significance of covenants, the power of God’s promises and the transcendent wisdom his plan to create children in His image. Satan’s sabotage in the garden infected but could never destroy the seed of promise.
Becoming the Image of God (The Imago Dei)
- You often hear people proclaiming that we’re all made in the image of God. It’s one of those phrases used to chastise perpetrators of social injustice or to guilt people away from criticizing someone’s extreme individuality. In either sense, this phrase is not the appropriate defense. In fact, we must be careful how we use it.
26 And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
- What exactly is the Image of God? What does it mean that we are made in His image?
- Being made in the image of God means we are equipped to act as His ruling ambassadors of the earth, exercising dominion over our domain the same way He does with His. The qualities that define His image of are more about more spiritual capabilities than they are physical or fleshly attributes.
- In fact, when you observe the construction Genesis chapters 1 & 2, you will notice a distinction between God “making” man in Genesis 1 and God “forming” man in Genesis 2. In Genesis 1, on the sixth day, we were made, created or purposed, but in Genesis 2, we were physically “formed.”
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
- This separation is most likely intended to delineate the qualities we share with God from those that tie us to the earth and it’s fate.
- Here, In the moment the breath of life is breathed into our nostrils, we became complex beings composed of an outer, physical shell and an indwelling spirit-man.
- Our physical bodies are not our key connection to the image of God but our connection to the earth. So, when Romans says we groan with the earth, it is because we are, in a way, connected to it. So why does the earth groan, and why do our physical bodies simultaneously endure pain and suffering? The answer is found in what they are designed to protect—Our spiritual power and purpose.
- Our spiritual power and purpose is what connects us to the image and likeness of God, and that purpose is what has needed protection from the beginning.
Now Let’s Talk About Veils
This is where we begin to understand the implementation and purpose of veils. Veils come in all sorts, but they mostly serve the same purpose. They conceal, contain, constrain, divide and protect.
They may exist as simple things like curtains, sheets and other types of material coverings, but they may also be much more complex. The “unveiling” of something signifies that whatever has been hidden has now reached a state mature/complete enough to be united with its intended purpose. In the business world, ideas and projects are placed under development to be unveiled later when they are ready to be used. Veils are also used in weddings as symbolic coverings of a woman’s purity, not to be removed until the groom commits to the covenant.
As we explore the spiritual application of veils, we should note their greater, deeper purpose. Veils are implemented to prevent the adverse effects of a premature consummation. In the appropriate time and season, veils are removed in order for the desired, positive effects of an arranged union to be accomplished. If veils are broken or removed before time or from in between unintended parties, the consequences upon those parties are depreciative, deforming and even deadly. Observation of the modern use of veils can provide some understanding into the way they are employed by God and the dangers of premature exposure.
“Cursed is the ground”
- Now, let’s take a closer look at the creation of man and the curse upon man as a result of sin. In order for man to become a living soul, God had to breathe the “breath of life” through the nostrils of the man’s form. Put another way, God personally deposited His living, spiritual nature into physical bodies. So to be “alive” is to be an eternally sustained spirit even before it is to be a moving physical body. The most valuable part of our being, the spirit man, was deposited into shells made of the dust of the ground, and this was critical for what would ultimately transpire in the garden.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
- Now notice to content of the Lord’s curse. God did not dispose of mankind’s purpose nor did he permanently condemn his spirit, but He cursed the body in which He operated. He decreed that our physical bodies would return to the earth..
The Lord is a highly resourceful teacher who knows the best methods of imparting information and understanding. He is a hands on teacher who utilizes situations and environments to impart knowledge and wisdom to humanity.
In several ways, God built our earthly environments to reflect his heavenly environments. By doing so, we are both trained to operate in His image and made to appreciate how perfectly He is able to be God, the sovereign ruler of the universe. When we fail to take dominion within our domains, we are made to acknowledge the One who never fails in ruling His domain.
As it pertains to mankind’s earthly occupation, we were originally made to work and care for the ground, and this is a responsibility parallel to the Lord’s work to care for His “ground”—men made from the dust of the ground. As we deposit seeds in the dirt to reproduce life, He deposits seeds of Himself into bodies of dirt to reproduce life.
So, when the Lord curses the ground for man, He is simultaneously cursing the physical bodies of men. When He pronounces that the ground would produce thorns and thistles in sorrow, He is acknowledging that men, intended to be spiritually fruitful only, would now produce sorrow for him through the spread of sin. Thorns are an allegory for sinful men, and this sheds light on the powerful reason Jesus bore a crown of thorns—He came to redeem the sinner, and become a king to fallen men!
- In the end, the physical body reveals its purpose as a veil, itself, predestined to die with the earth after the process of sin has run its course. Without an outer body—without a protective veil—the curse of sin would have had no place to land but upon our spiritual being. “Cursed is the ground” is a phrase that denotes the permanent contamination of the earth as well as the painful limitations place upon our physical bodies. Furthermore, this also provides insight into why among Cain and Abel, Cain’s sacrifice of the ground was not accepted—it was cursed. On the other hand, Abel’s offering, which symbolized the future sacrifice of Christ, the lamb that would be slain, was accepted by God. The lesson to be learned is that man’s fleshly works are not accepted, but man’s obedience to follow God and tend to His sheep is the only work accepted by the Father.
- Even before we sinned, our spiritual essence was made separate and prior to our physical bodies, and the powerful revelation is that it was intentional. Our physical bodies act as a wastebasket or trash bag making it possible to dispose of the curse without disposing of our spirit. We are not our flesh, and Paul eloquently articulates this truth.
14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
- The only real danger comes when we adorn our wastebaskets or “Hazmat suits,” as they are effectively utilized, and choose to remain connected to them. To worship the flesh is to seal our fate with it, but to accept the salvation of Christ is to be delivered from our “body of death.”
Our Redemption; Jesus Came Through the Veil
- Thanks to the transcendent wisdom of the Lord and His plan for redemption even before the fall, we are able to be saved. Our bodies were designed as veils, to conceal, contain, constrain, divide and protect our spirit man from permanent destruction. The pain that our physical bodies endure is but a small price to pay to retain the eternal life of our spirit and soul. If Jesus considered it worth the cost, then surely should we.
1 Peter 1:17-21
17And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
- Now notice how we are saved, legally speaking; observe what was required. Not only is it wonderful that we are saved, but it is significant how we are able to be redeemed by Jesus and what was necessary to produce salvation. According to spiritual law designated by God in the beginning, salvation could only be affective one way—through the cursed veil.
Hebrews 10:19-20 19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
- Not only does Christ dwell within our veil to save mankind, he is also crucified on an object known for growing directly from the accursed ground.
- Before Christ, we had lost our connection with the Father due to the controlling nature of our exterior flesh. But through Christ’s subversion of sin in the flesh, we are able to regain control of our bodies so long as they are crucified with Christ. In essence, Jesus showed us how to be freed from the bondage of sin—that part of us must die, and we must be willing to let it go. We must acknowledge that we are currently unable to achieve the original plan of God in our current state. In fact, only Jesus could live a life without sin, within a body of dust, to satisfy the Father’s curse and bring us deliverance. In order for us to be reunited with the Father, we must follow the path of Christ
5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
1 Peter 4:1-2
1Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
- Notice the difference in these two scriptures:
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. *****
- In this psalm, we observe David marvel at the purpose and power of man. But notice the additional context in Hebrew 2.
5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
1 John 3:1-3
1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.