What does “God’s image” refer to? Were we all made in God’s image, including homosexuals? Did God make us perfect? You asked, the Bible answers.
Were Homosexuals Made in God’s Image Too?
Brother Bob Pellien: As Christians, we believe that we were all made in God’s image, but some ask us, “Does that also include homosexuals? Were they also made in God’s image?”
Hello, everyone. Welcome to That’s In The Bible where the basis of the teachings here in the Church Of Christ is first and foremost, the Bible, the Holy Scriptures. And we want to clarify, as we regularly do, that the Bible does not answer just any and all questions, but regarding proper worship, right relationship with God, and most importantly, salvation. Those answers are most definitely here in the Holy Bible.
[On-screen logo graphic]
That’s in the Bible!
Brother Bob: I’m Bob Pellien, and welcome to the program, That’s In The Bible.
[On-screen text graphics]
Brother Bob Pellien
Minister of the Gospel
Brother Bob: On a recent episode, we addressed some questions about homosexuality, and gender identity, as well as same sex marriage. Today, we’ll be answering a viewer’s question about the nature of people, continuing though in the context of our community members who are homosexual. Patrick emailed and asked, “In Genesis, doesn’t God say He ‘made man in our likeness?’ What does that mean?” That’s from Patrick in Calgary.
Well, we thank you very much, Patrick, for your question. And what it means to be created in God’s likeness, well, it’s important for all of us to understand. Understanding this will also answer similar questions that we received like: “Were homosexuals made in God’s image too?” Remember, God is perfect. Therefore, does this mean God made us perfect as we are, since we’re in and created in His image? So, in today’s discussion, we’ll be learning more about being created in God’s image from these points of question like: “In what way were we created in God’s image?” And, “Did God make us perfect?” And, “What are the consequences of not upholding the image we were created in?”
So, dear friends, what does God advise to those, well, when they want to fulfill being created in God’s image, and they believe they were born without the ability to do so?
Let’s address these questions. In order to answer the first question regarding creation, let’s go to the verse being referenced by Patrick in his question, and that’s recorded here in the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, chapter 1, and we’ll read here, you can follow along on the screen, verse 27:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
[Genesis 1:27 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Here, dear friends, we can read that, well, as God’s creations we were made in the image of God. Yes. It should be clear, however, that the image being mentioned, it’s not the physical image. We’re sure of that. Why? Because well, for example, according to I Timothy 1:17, God is invisible. In John 4:24, God is referred to there as a spirit, and that proves He has no flesh and bones, as in Luke 24:39 that spirit does not have flesh and bones.
It’s clear then and in the image of God being referred to, it’s not then the physical human form. It’s not our body, it’s not our genetics, it’s not our functions, or our features. So in what way, then, are we all created in the image of God? And for that answer, we turn to the writings of Apostle Peter in I Peter 1:15, and 16, it says:
but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
[I Peter 1:15-16 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: So here, dear friends, we see in what way we were created in God’s image. We were created to be holy. We were created to reflect holiness. God himself said, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Would this mean that we’re automatically holy, that the personality, the characteristics, the essence of being, all that we know of ourselves, is automatically holy? Some might think, “Since I’m like this,” like you know referring to various tendencies or traits in themselves, including homosexuality, “therefore, I’m supposed to be like this.”
Is that how we should understand these biblical verses, dear friends? God made us perfect, no need to do anything, no need to learn God’s teachings. How can we follow God’s instructions to be holy? What can we use to reflect holiness? How can we become holy and reflect in the likeness of God? We can read the answer here in the book of John, chapter 17. Let’s quote the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, here in verse 17:
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
[John 17:17 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: So, dear friends, it’s God’s word, His truth, His instructions, commandments, His laws, is what can make a person holy. How so? Why so? Because it can sanctify someone. God’s laws, His commandments, they are what is good. That’s also mentioned in Romans 7:12, which is why when one follows them, he is sanctified. What’s the meaning of sanctified? To be purified, to be made clean in God’s eyes, or to be made holy, and therefore reflect the image of God, His image of holiness.
This is the precise reason, dear friends, that the only thing that we, here inside the Church Of Christ, base our faith upon and share to all of you is what is actually written here in the Holy Bible. Because following God’s law is what we were created to do. We were created to reflect the holiness of God, so that we can be and live in the image of God or in His image of holiness.
Now, we realize that it can be confusing when, especially leaders of different religions, while supposedly leading people to follow the Bible, say things that contradict the Bible. For example, when the Pope tells a gay man, “God made you like this.”
[On-screen text graphics]
“Pope Francis tells gay man: ‘God made you like this’”
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Brother Bob: In an earlier program, we studied the biblical truths regarding God’s prohibition against same-sex relationships. So anyone who tells a person who is currently living a lifestyle contrary to God’s words, and they would say something like, “God made you this way, so it’s therefore okay,” is obviously not speaking on God’s behalf, not speaking God’s words, but rather from their own opinions and how they have been influenced to believe in their own life, contrary to the word of God.
Many studies, even debates, have already been done and much research has been published, all in an effort to find a biological or an environmental cause of homosexuality. Scientists have studied, for example, the human anatomy and even neuroanatomy to find out if the cause of homosexuality is biological. But up to now, they still have not found any conclusive proof that it is. The reality is that, up to now, no scientific evidence has been shown that homosexuality is inherited or that an individual is, in fact, born homosexual. So, what does the Bible say about people being created in God’s image, with the instruction to be holy as God is holy, but who have chosen to live a life outside of God’s law? The answer I quote from the Holy Bible once again. Ecclesiastes 7:29 reads this way:
Lo, this is the only reason for it that I have found: God made man upright, but they [men and women] have sought out many devices [for evil].
[Ecclesiastes 7:29 Amplified Bible]
Brother Bob: Dear friends, is there any one of our viewers right now living a life against God’s law? What you have to accept—it’s not the Creator’s fault. The Bible clearly says that God made us upright. He made us the right way. He made us able to be holy with every ability to follow his law. That is the image of God that we were created in, to live a life of holiness and obedience to His law. So why, then, are there those who are not remaining upright? As we just read here, the Bible said because people “have sought out many devices [for evil].”
So, the people living a life against God’s law: No, God did not make you that way. No. God gives us the choice of how to be and how to live. And, dear friends, what are the consequences if we do not live by or, we choose to live, breaking the laws of God? Listen once again to the answer of God. First John chapter three, verse four says:
Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law.
[I John 3:4 Good News Bible]
Brother Bob: The biblical definition of sin, dear friends, is the breaking of God’s law. This is why we cannot accept that there are people born homosexuals, created by God to be on the path of a homosexual lifestyle, or that it is an innate character trait. Because if that were true, it would contradict God’s own teachings written in the Bible. God did not create us to break His law or to be lacking in the ability to abide by it. Remember, dear friends, the Bible says, “God made man upright.” In fact, in other translations of the Bible, it says that God made people good or uncorrupted. Although some would have us believe that there’s nothing wrong with always following one’s own passions and desires, we have to be aware that it is very wrong to do so, if the passion or the desire is what God regards as evil or wrong.
Those that find themselves proudly identifying as homosexuals, how does the Bible describe this kind of passion being that it is outside of God’s law? Well let’s, again, let God answer. These responses are not coming from us. We’re just reading them here in the Holy Scripture. So, for example, in the book of Romans, chapter 1, we’ll read first verse 28, and we’ll also read verse 25, 26, and 27:
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchange the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
[Romans 1:28, 25-27 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Dear friends, it is the Bible that describes people, women with women, men with men, and described it as going against the nature God created for them. The Bible describes their acts, even calls it shameful, and the kind of passion that they have was called what? To quote the word of God, a “vile passion.” Therefore, living this way, it would not be living in the image of God.
Is there anyone here in this program, joining us in this program today, that wants to live in the image of God but has homosexual inclinations or desires? What is the advice of the Bible? What guidance can be found in the Holy Scriptures, because God also holds out an invitation for those who hope to live within God’s laws but feel like these desires are out of their control, or these desires are too much for them to deny. Do you feel like you were born that way? There’s an important reminder of our Creator, spoken of by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 13. Let’s hear this wonderful pronouncement of our Lord God:
But remember this—the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it.
[I Corinthians 10:13 The Living Bible]
Brother Bob: The Bible reminds us that we “can trust God to keep that temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. That’s His promise. That’s the love of God. Again, we can see that love of our Creator here, right? He will not place us in a situation where we’re not able to live in His image, or to reflect His image of holiness, to reflect the obedience that will sanctify and purify us. He won’t make that too difficult for us. He will help us. He will help you if you’re feeling those passions, and you know that you need to change them. God is here. It is true that we as human beings, well you know, we have weaknesses right? Which is why it is necessary to follow God’s guidance, follow His laws on our path to holiness.
What should we remember if we ever feel alone in battling the desires to commit sin? Remember what we just read, dear friends. I quote, “remember this—the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different.” So, you’re not the first one to have encountered this problem. How then can a person who realizes that he’s not living in the true image of God, which is being holy and upright, and they adjust his or her lifestyle to the way God intended? The answer is also recorded here in the Bible. We turn to the writings of Apostle Paul in Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 21 through 24, he said:
You certainly heard about him, and as his followers you were taught the truth that is in Jesus. So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.
[Ephesians 4:21-24 Good News Bible]
Brother Bob: The Bible mentions, dear friends, the first step to renewing our life is to be taught the truth, and it’s only by hearing and learning the truth, which we learned earlier when we read John 17:17 is God’s words that will sanctify, God’s words, that one would then realize the error of their ways.
Does merely realizing it, though, or admitting the error of one’s ways mean that we’re now living in the image of God.? No, of course not. Not yet. So what’s the next step? What do we do now if, “I know that I need to change, I know I need to do something different, I need help?” The next step, what did the Apostle Paul instruct? “Get rid of your old self.” “Which self is that old self that I need to get rid of?” one may ask. Well, the Bible said, it’s the one that “made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires.”
So what is needed then, dear friends, to truly get rid of our old self one may ask? Well it says, “Your hearts and minds must be made completely new.” So our idea, our own mind, our own opinion, our own idea of what we call right and wrong, can change, must change. How would a person be able to prove this change in their life? The Bible also said you have to “put on the new self.” What is this new self referring to? The kind of person “created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in true life that is upright and holy.”
God gave us clear instructions on how to pursue the holiness that He created us for. We started this discussion with a few main questions that we hope everyone understands now, as they have been answered by God.
Brother Bob: Yes, we were all created in God’s image. Yes. But that image was not the physical nature but was the image of holiness, it was our capacity to live upright and to follow God’s commands. God did not create us cookie-cutter perfect specimens of utmost obedience. No. We have weaknesses, failures that are our own responsibility to correct. Thankfully, we have His laws. We have His commands, the guidance He provides to follow, so He’s there with us helping us attain that holiness, that upright stature of being in His likeness that he asks us, asks from us. This is the way of life we were intended to live in the first place, a life in the image of God.
We have learned today the starting process to truly live in God’s image. And that is what we have to do, because That’s in the Bible.
You know, dear friends, there are many similar topics regarding sexuality and self expression that we’ve been covering and discussing here on the program That’s In The Bible. Some of these have included: How many genders did God create? and Does god support same sex marriage?
Continue learning about the Iglesia Ni Cristo, the Church Of Christ. Visit us. Visit us online as well and browse the different topics.
[On-screen text graphics]
Brother Bob: Set up an appointment if you’d like to meet with a minister of the gospel. If you have any questions about the Bible, about salvation, please email them to us.
[On-screen text graphics]
Brother Bob: I’m Bob Pellien. Thanks for watching. See you next time, right here, on That’s In The Bible.
[On-screen logo graphic]
That’s in the Bible!
[On screen graphic]
INC Media Services
© All Rights Reserved 2022