Tough Text Tuesday : Genesis 1 and Saddam Hussein?

Gen. 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’”

The tough text of the day is one that I make a big deal about when I teach any Bible class. Why? Because, YOUR view of this passage determines your view of Soteriology (salvation).

I have heard this sermon preached / taught in numerous venues, but not a single person brought this more to light than Dr. Sandra Richter (author of Epic of Eden). She’s my favorite Biblical Theologian to read because she ensures that all meanings taught are held within the original context.


Genesis 1-3 was written by Moses while the Exiles of Egypt were crossing the Sinai Peninsula. (Possibly time of writing – Exodus 24:4?)


The Hebrews, and other peoples, had been enslaved for 430 years, and were now free. I believe if we were to contemporize some of the questions they asked Moses, before he began to write the Pentateuch they’d sound very familiar to us.

1.    Moses where are we going?
2.    Moses are we there yet!?

To encourage them, Moses responded with Genesis 1-3.
We’re going East, toward Eden “the place of the righteous.”
We’re going to be loved by a worthy King, who’s the true creator who will not enslave you, rather empower you and love you. (Pharaohs taught their people that they were an incarnate god who created the world, and were everything they need “i am.”) – Genesis is filled with God’s parody of Pharaoh’s personal beliefs.

So what does “image” have to do with Egypt and the dessert?
The usual applications of this passage are that Image =

·      Heart
·      Soul
·      Mind
·      Will
·      Body

Yes and NO ! – This is so much better!

I remember seeing the first few videos and images of Iraq as the Marines entered the borders. I found it interesting that every single border crossing had a massive statue of Saddam Hussein. Effectively declaring, “this is Saddam’s land give homage to him.”

The slaves who were fleeing Egypt would have known the same ideology. Pharaohs were known for having statues (images) made to be on the borders so that any sojourner knew who to pay homage to. When Moses told the refugees that mankind was made in the “image of God,” they would have thought “WOW- THIS WORTHY KING IS SO GREAT HE OWNS ALL OF THE WORLD.”


1.    Effectively, we are created to be the image or representative of God! – (1 Peter 2:9, 1 Peter 1:16, Mat. 5:4-8)

2.    We are to declare who is the Lord – (Deuteronomy 6, 1 John 1:9, 1 Peter 2:9)

3.    We are to live lives that represent the Christ- (1 John 2:6, 1 Cor. 11:1, 1 Peter 2:21, Eph. 5:1-2, John 13:13-17, Gal. 3:27, Phil. 2:5) 

This is why we aren’t to make “graven images” of God. We don’t need to worship what he looks like, we need to represent how he acts.

Christ came to redeem the “whole creation.” Why? For the Sake of His Glory. – Man, the representative of God, doesn’t represent his Glory when in a fallen nature and sinful state. Hence why Man needed to be “fixed.”

Question for you = Are you a faithful representative of God? Or do you need to be “glued back together?” 

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