St. Paul’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm, Kewanee, Illinois 61443
Volume 34 September 2022 No. 9
The Image and Likeness of God
Several years ago I began a study on this subject that was published in the Concordia Theological Quarterly. I have been working further on the topic, to include it as a chapter in another publication due for release next year. Here’s some of what I’ve been working on, without footnotes and details, for your edification. – Pastor
It has long been my contention that something important has for a long time been lacking in our understanding of the image of God, perhaps driven by the emphasis we have placed on what man has utterly lost in the Fall. This necessary emphasis is reflected in the Lutheran Confessions, whose purpose in this regard has been, in confessing against their adversaries, to declare in no uncertain terms that there is nothing at all left in man of the righteousness he once had, in which he was created. So whereas once man was righteous because God is righteous, having “an even temperament of the bodily qualities,” as well as “a quite certain knowledge of God, fear of God, confidence in God, or certainly the rectitude and power to yield these affections” (Apology II, 17-18), this righteousness was entirely lost, when man did choose evil and fell. Therefore since then man has had “a deep, wicked, horrible, fathomless, inscrutable, and unspeakable corruption of the entire nature and all its powers, especially of the highest, principal powers of the soul in the understanding, heart, and will, so that now, since the Fall, man inherits an inborn wicked disposition and inward impurity of heart, evil lust and propensity” (FC SD I:10-11). So whenever reference was made to the image of God in man, it has exclusively been to his original righteousness which was utterly lost.
But whether for this reason or not, it ought not have to be said that every other remnant of the image of God was also lost and done away, or that the image of God in which man was created had to do only with original righteousness and nothing else. Were that so, then man would be no different than the beasts who were not created in the image of God. So in what else does the image of God consist? What have we missed? What’s left to be said?
In the first place we will do well to recall that the first use of the term image (Hebrew, tseled) appears in Genesis 1:26-27, and carries according to its seminal and normal usage the concept of something seen: a semblance, or a resemblance, something tangible. Indeed, in every other Biblical usage of this term we find a visible thing or a representative figure, such as, for example, the figure of an idol. The Philistines set the ark of the LORD on their cart with images of their tumors (I Samuel 6:11); Amos chastises Israel for their images of the pagan deities Sikkuh and Chiun (Amos 5:26); Moses is instructed to tell the Israelites to destroy all the molten images they find in Canaan (Numbers 33:52); images of the Chaldeans are portrayed on the wall (Ezekiel 23:14); every man walks in a vain show or appearance (Psalm 39:6); and Nebuchadnezzar makes an image of gold (Daniel 3:1).
The Hebrew term tseled itself is translated into Greek with the word eikon, from which, obviously, the English “icon” is derived.
It is remarkable, in view of this overwhelming Biblical evidence, that the great majority of modern interpreters of “image of God” as it is found in Genesis veer entirely away from anything visible, likely owing to the fact that the Creator is the invisible God. What is more than remarkable about this, but really quite unfortunate in my view, is that this prevents altogether the more likely reason for the use of image here, namely that what God is doing in creating Adam is providing the very first prolepsis, or preview, of the Incarnate One to come. This, in other words, is the way God Himself will one day appear. He will be bound to human flesh; He will look like Adam, He will be Adam’s Son. He will at last be seen as the One whom Adam’s creation portrays in advance. Adam is the first representative image of the fulfillment of all things in Christ, and an entire Old Testament that follows then gives countless more pictures of Christ, His Church, and His work of salvation.
Notably, there are some stellar interpreters who do see in the image of God the idea of some visible and tangible. Irenaeus (d. c202) certainly had the this most basic sense in mind, as did Tertullian (c150-225), and Basil of Caesarea (330-379), and to some extent Basil’s younger brother Gregory of Nyssa (c332-295). So there were some prominent early fathers that did see in the image of God a reference to the as then future Incarnation of God, and for them the fact that image in common biblical usage has to do with shape and form gives us ample reason to come to a rich understanding of what it means to be man. Martin Luther was on track to see this also, for he saw in his Genesis commentary some delightful ruminations on Adam before the fall, as having eyesight like the eagle, strength surpassing the lion, and enjoyment of goodness, tranquility, and utter contentedness. He could have gone further and said that man must also have been an utterly beautiful specimen, indeed the most beautiful of all the good things that God created, the things that God saw as very Good. Man was the very embodiment, or picture, of the invisible God. Indeed the term “embodied” is used in the Apology to the Augsburg Confession where it defines the image of God as having to do with wisdom and righteousness: “there were embodied in man such wisdom and righteousness as apprehended God, and in which God was reflected” (Apol. II:18). There term “embodied” here is a translation of the German “bildet,” literally, pictured.
This perspective, I submit, can be a powerful and comforting governing factor in our own enfleshed lives, as the Psalmist says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” But we are fallen creatures, so that the image of God is marred in us: speech become lies (Psalm 116:11), dominion becomes tyranny, love becomes lust, and even flesh becomes ugly and ultimately grotesque in its mortality. But vestiges remain: we are still occasionally if minimally capable of integrity in speech, thought, self-control, and selfless love, and this becomes even more the case in our regeneration.
But as long as we live in our fallenness, we struggle with our immense distance from our ideal, from the image of God in which we were once created. Nevertheless, we remain even now, because we are still mankind, embodiments—pictures—of the invisible God. At least we still look like Jesus, and so we still retain a vestige of the image of God, even if it is only in this way. Not only so, but we also may look forward with joyful anticipation to the full restoration of that image in us, according the truth we confess daily, “I believe in the resurrection of the body”; at that Day when we, like Adam, shall see like the eagle, have the might of the lion, and enjoy the perfect righteousness, contentedness, and beauty not merely of Adam, but of the Man Jesus Christ, who is the eternal image of the Father, now risen from the dead, and ascended to His right hand on high.
+ Pastor Eckardt
Wednesday Evening Masses
We observe Holy Cross Day on Wednesday, September 14th, and St. Matthew’s Day on Wednesday, September 21st, and Michaelmas on Wednesday, September 28th (one day before Michaelmas which falls on the 29th). Wednesday masses are scheduled every Wednesday at 7 pm.
9/1 John Ricknell
9/10 Jan Schoen
9/19 Jaclyn Kraklow
9/19 Jamie Kraklow
9/20 Derrick Baker
9/28 Allan Kraklow
9/18/1976 Tom and Sue Ann Wells
9/19/1993 Jeff and Tara Wagenknecht
Our Ushers: Jim Hornback, Tom Wells, Steve Kraklow.
September Elders with Tuesday Vespers
First Tuesday Vespers and Elders is scheduled for September 6th, with Vespers at 6:45 (for anyone who wants to attend) and the meeting following.
Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield; Emilie Ricknell at Allure in Geneseo, Bea Harris, from time to time, at home. Dale Baker, moving to Courtyard Estates. Grant Andresen, at Park Vista in East Moline. Jewneel Walker, at Kewanee Care.
In Our Prayers
Our list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists below. To update the lists please inform pastor. in our parish:
Emilie Ricknell, Judy and Bill Thompson, Don and Sue Murphy, Linda Rowe, Sharon Hartz, John Sovanski, Sandra VerPlaetse, Allan Kraklow, Bea Harris, Grant Andreson, Dale Baker, Jewneel Walker, and Emmy Wear
and beyond our parish:
Anna, Katy, and Jody Rutowicz [Harris relations]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Elizabeth Godke [Sharon Field’s mother]
Oneida Hendrickson [Ricknell relative]
Janice Hart [Judy Thompson’s sister]
Caleb Cleaver [Ricknells’ grandson]
Tim Newman [Shreck relation]
Theresa Moore [Ricknells’ niece]
Kathy Boeger [re Harrises]
Allison Leezer [relative of the Kraklows]
Shannon Watson [Jim’s daughter]
Maxine Bitting [Judy Thompson’s sister in law]
Yvette Baker [Dale Baker’s daughter-in-law]
Richard Heiden [Carol Eckardt’s father]
Bruce Hoernemann [Charlene Sovanski’s brother]
Jeff Lewis, Carol Eckardt’s brother in law
Pastor Jacob Sutton, and Pastor Justin Kane
in the military:
Donny Appleman [at request of the Ricknells]
Richard Heiden [at request of the Eckardts]
Luke Van Landigan [grandson of Dick Melchin]
Jaclyn Alvarez [daughter of Kris Harden]
Eli Wetzel, Traven Wetzel, Shawn Wetzel
Eric Verplaetse [Sandra’s grandson]
Jake Mahaffey, Trevor Shimmin, Shad Draminski
James and Ann Lee Armstrong
unborn children in danger of abortion; Debra Reeves’s children Rae Beth and Drew Wayne, that they may be reunited; those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Iran, Pakistan, India, China, North Korea, and elsewhere.
Persecution Details (see www.persecution.net)
PAKISTAN: POLICE INTERVENE IN MOB ATTACK
On Sunday, August 7th, hundreds of Christian families in Lahore fled their homes when they saw a large mob marching towards their church building. It was only through the intervention of police that the building was preserved and an attack on the Christians’ homes had been averted.
Due to the officers’ swift intervention, the volatile situation had de‑escalated.
Tensions remain among those who strongly oppose the practice of Christianity in the community. As a result, many of the Christian men have sent their wives and children to stay with relatives until they are confident that the threat of danger is no longer a concern.
INDIA: SEVERAL CHRISTIAN WOMEN FACING CHARGES
On July 30th, six Christian women in the Maharajganj area of Uttar Pradesh, India, were taken into custody based on charges of forced conversions. The charges were laid after members of a Hindu nationalist group, the VHP, alleged that the women were inducing others to convert to Christianity during a birthday party.
At the celebratory gathering, the Christian women had paused to pray before cutting the cake. Ashutosh Singh, a local VHP leader, said: “They had raised their hands in the air as Jesus would. They were trying to convert Harijan women.” He continued with claims that the six believers were carrying out illicit activities, such as luring others with money. Bibles and other religious documents were confiscated and submitted to police authorities, who proceeded to make the arrests. The women were held in custody without bail.
All six of these women belong to the very poor socio‑economic Dalit community. One of them is physically disabled, as is the child of another woman in the arrested group. Included in the July 30th arrests was a widow with three young children, and an unmarried girl. Munish Chandra, a lawyer representing the six arrested Christians, stated that “the rest of their families are suffering enormously since they are all dependent on the women.”
IRAN: APPEAL DENIED FOR DETAINED CHRISTIANS
18 August 2022. Anooshavan Avedian is an Iranian‑Armenian Christian leader who was arrested for promoting “propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam” through the house church he operated in his home. He was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment, along with an additional ten years of “deprivation of social rights.” While two Christian converts, Abbas Soori and Maryam Mohammadi, were also sentenced with the same ten‑year deprivation term, they were spared the prison time.
During an appeal session that took place in May, there were no changes made to Anooshavan’s punishment. However, the deprivation term was removed from the sentences of Abbas and Maryam and replaced with a fine of six million tomans each (the equivalent of about $180). Following the appeal hearings, the three Christians petitioned Iran’s Supreme Court for a retrial. However, on August 2nd, the court rejected their requests without comment.
Altar Guild Notes
Sundays in September are all GREEN.
September 7th, GREEN
September 14th, RED (Holy Cross Day)
September 21st, RED (St. Matthew’s Day)
September 28th WHITE (for Michaelmas) We will
observe Michealmas the day before its day, the 29th.
Welcome, Debra Reeves!
Debra Reeves is the newest member of our congregation, having moved here from Iowa and transferring in. She’s already quite active and seems to be enjoying getting to know people here, and the feeling is mutual. Welcome, Debra!
New Adult Catechesis To Begin
A new course of instruction is tentatively set to begin on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. for people interested in becoming members, as well as for any members who would like to refresh basic understanding of the Christian faith as we have learned it from the Small Catechism. First class, tentatively, is Saturday, September 10th.
Pastor Retires from Online Teaching
As many of you know, I have been teaching some online courses at John Wood Community College in Quincy, Illinois for some twelve years. Usually it involved one or two sections of Major World Religions or, more recently, Philosophy 101. This arrangement was approved by the Council and Voters, because people here understood it as a way for me to supplement my salary here and by our mutual agreement it has enabled the congregation to continue to pay me below the District scale.
In August I decided, as I have reached the normal retirement age, that I ought to retire from this teaching, as a way for me to keep my schedule from getting too busy while continuing to serve faithfully here as pastor.
Congratulations, Derek and Felicia Baker!
Derek and Felicia were joined in marriage on Saturday, August 13th at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Chicago. Many of our members attended. Felicia is currently taking instruction here and plans to become a communicant member soon. Congratulations to both of you!
Church Picnic Is On!
Our picnic is scheduled for Sunday, September 18th, in the early afternoon, at Windmont Park. We’ll have bratwurst and other options, and figure out the other details as the date approaches. For now, mark your calendar and come to the picnic for some good old-fashioned fun in the afternoon.
St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443
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