Few if any Christians these days will regard the opening chapters of Genesis as in the remotest sense a scientific account of creation. Even fifth century Augustine was unsure about the six days of creation, siting the deuterocanonical book of Sirach which referred to creation being made in an instant (Latin: “Creavit omni simul” – Big Bang?!). Apart from which a “day” is of course a measurement derived from the heavens which Genesis said was created on “day” #4.
But what must not be regarded as purely figurative or symbolic in the Genesis account is the fact that man was made in God’s image (Gen1:26,27). Yet as Paul affirms God is invisible (Col1:15; 1Tim1:17), so that “image” must relate at least in part to God’s character or nature. Even fallen man is to be regarded in such a way according to Genesis (9:6). Of course, that image has been besmirched by the Fall but not obliterated.
And for the Christian, potentially he/she may attain the mind of Christ (1Cor2:16). God’s nature then cannot be entirely unfathomable to human reason for faithful Christians already partake of the divine nature (2Pet1:4). It’s God’s WAYS and methods that the Bible indicates are inclined to be incomprehensible, and so they have been according to this disclosure.
Returning to the divine nature, if man has been made in God’s image, and that is being restored in the Christian such that he/she may have the mind of Christ, it follows that such noble qualities that mankind at his best can possess must mirror, in measure, those same qualities possessed by God. Such have been delineated in Scripture, and have also been acted out in the earthly ministry and Passion of Jesus, the incarnated Word. God’s love, compassion and forgiving nature combined with His hatred of injustice, debauchery and cruelty may be different in degree but cannot be different in nature from how man understands such qualities.
That is contrary to the teaching of certain influential theologians of the past (including the aforementioned Augustine) in order to justify their paradoxical conceptions of God’s “love” within their theology and the dire cosmic outcomes that derive from it. When, on the other hand, God’s nature and the providential outcomes are seen to tally such that the teaching of Jesus and the apostles agree with each other, then shall not the mystery of God have been completed? (cf. Rev10:7-8)
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