Genesis 1: 26-28-: Answering Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati

If Adam is created in the image of God, then is God a material being and Adam an all knowing being?

Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.

"And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness: so God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them. (1:26, 27, 28.)

C. If God made man in his own image, why is not man then All-holy, All-knowledge and All-bliss, etc., like God in nature?
Ch. – Out of the dust (of the ground).
C. What did he create the dust out of?
Ch. – Out of his power
C. Is his power beginningless or has it a beginning?
Ch – It is beginningless.
C. – It is clear that His power being beginningless, the cause of the (material) world is also beginningless. Why do you, then, believe that something came out of nothing?
Ch. – Nothing but God existed before the beginning of creation.
C. – Where did this world come from?

Is the power of God a substance or an attribute? If it be a substance, there was then something besides God (before the creation of the world). On the other hand, if it be an attribute, as not substance can come out of an attribute (the world could not have been produced out of it), as for instance, fire cannot proceed from light nor water from fluidity. Had God been the Material cause of the World, the latter would have possessed all the attributes, nature, and characteristics of God but such being not the case, it is certain that it was not produced out of God but out of the Material cause, the primordial matter in atomic condition.

It behoves you therefore to believe that God is the Efficient Cause of the Universe as is recorded in the Vedas and other true Shaastras. If, as held by the Christians, Adam's inward nature be that of the soul and his outward (appearance) that of man, why is not God's nature the same, because since Adam was made in the image of God the latter must necessarily be like Adam.

Answer: I have already answered citing both scientific and philosophical reasons as to why the universe cannot be eternal and how the Holy Bible has clearly taught that all things are created. I will not dwell on that.

I will only address the new arguments brought forward by Maharishi that “since Adam was made in the image of God the latter must necessarily be like Adam” and also “If God made man in his own image, why is not man then All-holy, All-knowledge and All-bliss, etc., like God in nature.”

In other words, Maharishi seems to be arguing that if human beings are images of God, then human beings must be all-knowing, all holy and God must be having a material body.

When the Holy Bible said Adam and Eve are in the image of God, the Holy Bible qualified it by saying that they are “created” or “made”. That qualification alone is sufficient to say that there are differences between God and man though man is created in the image of God.

What then is the meaning of created in the image of God?

Rather than imposing our meaning on the text, we must look at the Holy Bible itself to see the meaning.

The term that Maharishi has taken from the quoted text is the “image of God”. There are two terms that the Holy Bible has used- likeness and image in relationship to human beings.

If only Maharishi had carefully read the same book Genesis, he would have understood that the same term has been used in Genesis 5.

Genesis 5:3, “And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image and named him Seth.”

Here, a son is said to be in the image of his father.  

Moreover, 1 John 3:2 “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.”

In the first Epistle of John, Apostle says that “now we are the children of God” “we shall be like Him.”

Children and the likeness are once again related.

In Romans 8:29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

When one reads the Romans 8 (v 16-17, 21 which we shall read shortly) where it discusses about the children of God, the image of His Son is again connected.

In other words, “the image and likeness” seems to be equivalent of being the children. 

This is not surprising since Adam is said to be the son of God in Luke 3:38.

If so, how can human beings be called as the ‘image and likeness’ or the “children of God.’

The Holy Bible itself clarifies what it is to be the child of God and what it is not.

Being the children of God means having the following aspects though not limited to it:

(a) Having Freedom: Rom 8:21: “Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God”.  Also, read Galatians 5:2.

(b) Being Co-heirs: Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

Stewardship of Adam and Eve are an example of this. Later, those who were in some authority (Genesis 6, Psalms 82) were called as the sons of God.

(c) Being Holy: 1 Peter 1: 13-17 “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest [your] hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;  as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, [as] in your ignorance; 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." And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay [here] in fear.

(d) Righteousness and Love: 1 John 3: 10 “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”     

Adam and Eve were created with freedom to choose as stewards of God’s creation in holiness and with the capacity to love each other.

In fact, being made from dust is not said as an image of God.

1 Corinthians 15: 47-50 – The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are thos

e who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.   And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

So the Christian understanding that it is not the earthly human body that is said to be in the image of God but rather the spiritual being is thoroughly supported by the Holy Bible. Whereas Maharishi’s meaning is imposed upon the text.  

Therefore, the argument to prove that the material world is eternal falls flat on the face.

However, now we come to another passage in the Holy Bible where it speaks about the image of God again.

Hebrews 1:1-4 “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,  having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”

One must observe that when Adam was said to be in the image of God, the Holy Bible had qualified it by saying “created” image. However, Jesus Christ is said to be the creator (through whom also He made the worlds) bearing the express (exact) image of His person.

In other words, Jesus Christ should be All-Holy, All-Knowing, etc as Maharishi says. And we certainly agree that Jesus Christ has all the attributes of God. He is the second person in the Godhead.

While all other human beings are the created image of God, Jesus Christ is the express/exact image of God and not a created being.

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