Community Group Study “Genesis: Image of God — Separate and Distinct”

Before your community group meets:

Read Genesis 1:26-28 and Psalm 8

What are three or four ways the creation of humanity (Genesis 1:26-28) is different from the rest of the creation story?

Who is made in the image of God? Are there any types of individuals who are excluded?

Why would “looking up at the heavens” (Psalm 8:3) give human beings a feeling of being small (Psalm 8:4)?

How does Psalm 8:5-8 show humanities distinctiveness from the rest of creation?

Write down a one or two sentence definition of the “Image of God” based on Genesis 1:26-28 and Psalm 8. 

Study Information:

In the Ancient world only kings claimed to be the image of God and they would often set up images of themselves to be worshipped. The Bible says something radically different, it says that all human beings are created in God’s image, not just the elite or the powerful. This makes the words of Genesis 1:26-28 counter cultural, especially when you remember that the first people to hear these words were the people of God 3500 years ago as freed slaves who had been wandering the wilderness for 40 years and were about ready to head into the promised land.

The image of God does not mean that we “look” like God in our physical appearance. Instead it is a way that God is elevating human worth, pointing to the distinctness of his people and highlighting that we are designed to reflect God and rule on his behalf in his good creation. To summarize, in God’s good world of Genesis 1 and 2, human beings were given the task and responsibility to reflect God’s glory to the ends of the earth in how they ruled and cared for God’s creation.

However, if we flash forward to Genesis 3 we learn that the presence of sin distorted what God had made “good” and that the image of God is part of what gets distorted. No longer do people naturally do what is right and good in the eyes of God. If we think of the image of a mirror, in Genesis 1 and 2 humanity reflected God like a mirror reflects an image of the person looking into it. The introduction of sin into the world didn’t remove the mirror, but “cracked” it. The image of God is affirmed throughout the rest of the Bible, but we learn in the New Testament that the image of God needs to be remade as we follow Jesus as we are made more and more into his image. Some of the study passages and questions below will explore this idea.

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week?

Scripture and Discussion Questions:

How does the image of God show us human dignity and worth?

In what way have you been tempted to devalue other people?

As a group read Psalm 139:13-16, James 2:1-7 and James 3:2-10. What examples do these passages give us about how people defame the image of God in others?

Read Romans 8:19-23. How did sin damage God’s good creation?

Read Colossians 1:15, 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Romans 8:28-29. How does Jesus relate to the “image of God”? What happens to the image of God in us as we follow Jesus?

Application/Looking Ahead:

Are there any people you’ve not treated with dignity and respect that you need to repent of?

List out 2-3 places that God has you where you can reflect his image. Spend some time praying for those places and how God is using you there to show his glory to the world.

Read Genesis 2:1-25. We’re going to spend the next 4 Sundays learning more specifically what it means to reflect God’s image in the world and what we are called to do as his people. Take down 15 observations about the garden of Eden, how God formed Adam and look for any commands God gives his image bearers.

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