In God’s image : made for intimacy

With this post I’m returning to the theme of our creation in God’s image.   As we’ve already seen, our creation in God’s image is a rich truth with many facets.  Each of these facets is of value in helping us to understand God’s purpose for our lives.   I want to close off this theme with a couple more posts before I turn to another basic principle of Christian faith and living.

HINT : If you want to see all the posts on this topic in sequence, click on the Category Basic Principles.

When God made the first man, we are told that He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ( Genesis 2:7 ).   The first thing Adam saw was the face of God, and the first thing he felt was the breath of God in his nostrils.  The Hebrew word for spirit is the same as the word for breath.   So the creation account gives us a clear picture : from the beginning, it was God’s intent that humans would have deep, intimate fellowship with Him ~ spirit to spirit communication.   We were designed to delight ourselves in God.

When God made the first woman, we are told that He made her from the man’s rib while the man was in a deep sleep, and brought her to him.  The man immediately recognized the close bond they were intended to share.  We are also told that they were both naked, and felt no shame.  Again, this is a clear statement that man and woman were  made to delight in both physical and spiritual intimacy in a life-long one-flesh marriage bond.   The bliss of sexual union is God’s idea; properly understood, it is both physical and spiritual; and it’s an expression of His goodness!  The intimacy of marriage is so central to God’s purposes that it’s used over and over again in Scripture as an analogy for the intimate, devoted relationship that God desires to have with His people.

We were made with the capacity for intimacy – that is a crucial part of what it means to be made in God’s image.   It’s no accident that intimacy with God came first, followed by intimacy between man and woman.   And just as true intimacy between man and woman flows from intimacy with God, so sin destroys intimacy, tainting all relationships with mistrust, suspicion, selfishness, shame, and regret.  This is why we sometimes think of sexual desire as unclean.  It is part of Satan’s deception to take something that was originally good and turn it into the cause of so much pain.

But the wonderful news is that in Christ, the image of God in us can be restored in all its aspects.  As we allow the reality of God’s forgiving love to penetrate and restore our hearts, we can rediscover both the delight of true intimacy with Father and the delight of true intimacy in the one-flesh relationship of marriage.  Although Jesus tells us that after the resurrection people will no longer marry, I can only assume that the spiritual intimacy that is created in a true one-flesh marriage bond endures to eternity. And as for intimacy with God, we are told that in the new heaven and earth, when all things have been restored, His servants will see Him face to face (Revelation 22:1-5).  Shame, fear and regret will be gone forever.

To think about :

  • What gets in the way of true intimacy?
  • What fosters true intimacy?