My mother got hooked on tracing the generations of our relatives on her father’s side of the family. We understand that this branch of the family began with two brothers who were Bible salesmen who escaped persecution of being Christians in France, left and then settled in North America. One brother went north to French speaking Canada, the other brother went south. The southern branch settled in Oklahoma in subsequent generations. My grandpa’s family spoke French in the home but insisted that he and his siblings speak only English so they would “fit in”. And the stories of faith, trials and celebrations go on…
As interesting as genealogy studies are, we all must realize that God provides our genealogy in His Word! By starting at the beginning, Genesis, God gives us our ancestry line after many generations have been created. We are only a few chapters in and we discover and realize once more that the human race began with Adam and Eve. ALL of us were produced from the line of Adam and Eve who were created by God. There, God did our search for us! BAM! DONE!
“Live long, and prosper” wasn’t just a line from Star Trek, it was God’s method to populate the earth He created “in His image”. Let’s camp on this thought for a moment and realize the full meaning of “made in the image of God” expressed in the first chapter of Genesis:
“Imago Dei” comes from the Latin version of the Bible, translated to English as “image of God.” “Image of God” is defined as the metaphysical expression, associated uniquely to humans, which signifies the symbolical connection between God and humanity. The phrase has its origins in Genesis 1:27, wherein “God created man in his own image…”
This biblical passage does not imply that God is in human form, but that humans are in the image of God in their moral, spiritual, and intellectual essence. Therefore, humans reflect God’s divine nature in their ability to achieve the unique characteristics with which they have been given. These unique qualities make humans different than all other creatures: rational understanding, creative liberty, the capacity for self-actualization, and the potential for self-transcendence.
The term imago Dei refers most fundamentally to two things: first, God’s own self-actualization through humankind; and second, God’s care for humankind. Do we see the enormous responsibility here? In other words, for humans to have the conscious recognition of their being in the image of God means that they are the creature through whom God’s plans and purposes can be made known and actualized; humans, in this way, can be seen as co-creators with God. The moral implications of the doctrine of imago Dei are apparent in the fact that if humans are to love God, then humans must love other humans, as each is an expression of God.
Humans differ from all other creatures because of their rational structure – their capacity for deliberation and free decision-making. This freedom gives the human-centeredness and completeness which allows the possibility for self-actualization and participation in a sacred reality. Only God is God. We are not God. But God is in us.
However, the freedom which makes the human in God’s image is the same freedom which manifests itself in estrangement from God, as pronounced and defined by the Fall of Adam and Eve. As shown by their decisions, humans can, in their freedom, choose to deny or repress their spiritual and moral likeness to God.
The ability and desire to love one’s self and others, and therefore, God, can become neglected and even opposed. Striving to bring about the imago Dei in one’s life can be seen as the quest for wholeness, or one’s “essential” self, as pointed to in Christ’s life and teachings.
The significance of humans being created “in the image of God” is our responsibility to recognize and understand rationality and ability to create abstract conceptions from the natural world. This gives us the capacity to create a glorious peaceful world or a fallen chaotic environment, depending upon our motives and understanding. Just as Satan fell from God, we are capable of falling from God and suffering the consequences. We must realize our dual potential (good vs evil) and act in accordance with God’s will and law to create prosperous and benevolent communities and nations. “Go forth and prosper!” has even more meaning!
Genesis 5, The Message
The Family Tree of the Human Race
1-2 This is the family tree of the human race: When God created the human race, he made it godlike, with a nature akin to God. He created both male and female and blessed them, the whole human race.
3-5 When Adam was 130 years old, he had a son who was just like him, his very spirit and image, and named him Seth. After the birth of Seth, Adam lived another 800 years, having more sons and daughters. Adam lived a total of 930 years. And he died.
6-8 When Seth was 105 years old, he had Enosh. After Seth had Enosh, he lived another 807 years, having more sons and daughters. Seth lived a total of 912 years. And he died.
9-11 When Enosh was ninety years old, he had Kenan. After he had Kenan, he lived another 815 years, having more sons and daughters. Enosh lived a total of 905 years. And he died.
12-14 When Kenan was seventy years old, he had Mahalalel. After he had Mahalalel, he lived another 840 years, having more sons and daughters. Kenan lived a total of 910 years. And he died.
15-17 When Mahalalel was sixty-five years old, he had Jared. After he had Jared, he lived another 830 years, having more sons and daughters. Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years. And he died.
18-20 When Jared was 162 years old, he had Enoch. After he had Enoch, he lived another 800 years, having more sons and daughters. Jared lived a total of 962 years. And he died.
21-23 When Enoch was sixty-five years old, he had Methuselah. Enoch walked steadily with God. After he had Methuselah, he lived another 300 years, having more sons and daughters. Enoch lived a total of 365 years.
24 Enoch walked steadily with God. And then one day he was simply gone: God took him.
25-27 When Methuselah was 187 years old, he had Lamech. After he had Lamech, he lived another 782 years. Methuselah lived a total of 969 years. And he died.
28-31 When Lamech was 182 years old, he had a son. He named him Noah, saying, “This one will give us a break from the hard work of farming the ground that God cursed.” After Lamech had Noah, he lived another 595 years, having more sons and daughters. Lamech lived a total of 777 years. And he died.
32 When Noah was 500 years old, he had Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
After the genealogy lesson, we will learn the real-life stories of these individuals and their families. There is so much more to come, more to learn, more reasons to prosper as a people made in the image of God!
Thank you for giving us the genealogy of our existence, the stories of humans deciding right from wrong, along with the power of your existence in all of us made in your image. Continue to teach us to walk in your ways so we will live long and prosper according to your will and plan.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen