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lesson one


Restoring the Image of


So God created mankind in his own image, in the image

of God he created them; male and female he created them
(Gen. 1:27, NIV).


2 Cor. 5:17


Our Portrait

It was our fourth wedding anniversary, and my husband and I were walking on a beautiful beachfront in northeast Brazil. Suddenly, we noticed a large
group of people gathered around a boy. Full of curiosity, we stopped to check
out what was happening. The boy was drawing caricatures of the people in the
street, and he was rather talented at doing so.

My life, as well as yours, can be restored through Gods power.

My husband and I decided to celebrate our anniversary by paying the young
artist to draw our portraits together. We posed in a chair for quite some time as
he endeavored to capture the real us.
Finally, he finished, and we were both eager to view the masterpiece. When
he turned the canvas toward us, I looked at the portrait and thought, My husbands caricature is so like him, but my caricature doesnt look like me at all. I
was quite disappointed.
We paid the boy and kept walking. However, I couldnt resist confiding my
disappointment to my husband. The essence of who you are has been captured so well, I told him. But mine doesnt resemble me at all. He turned to
me in surprise. He had had the opposite impression. He felt my caricature was
a good likeness of who I was, but he didnt feel his captured the real him at all.
As I reflected on this experience, I started thinking about the image others
see of us. Perhaps people are looking at me in a different way than I see myself. The same thing can happen in our spiritual/Christian lives. We believe that
by our lives we are revealing one thing about who God is, when, in fact, people
may be seeing a completely different view of God through us.
Genesis 1:27 says that God created us in His own image. On the sixth day,
the Master Artist created a replica of His image, not a caricature, but a perfect
masterpiece. However, sin has damaged the image of God in our lives so that
it is increasingly difficult to recognize His image in us.
This week well see how we can restore the image of God in our lives and in
the church so that we can be living reflections of Jesus Christ, so we can say,
It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Gal. 2:20, NKJV).
Although the caricature the young boy drew of me on my fourth anniversary
cant be fixed, I know that my life, as well as yours, can be restored through
Gods power. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Cor.
5:17, NKJV). God wants to reestablish His image in us and empower us to work
as individuals and as His church to restore others.
Natieli M. Schaffer, Berrien Springs, Michigan, U.S.A.




Description, Distortion,
and Restoration

Genesis 13

While Genesis 13 provides several foundational truths for Christians,

this lesson will focus on a few verses that shed light on the following three
questions: (1) What is the image of God? (2) How has that image been
distorted? and (3) What is Gods plan for restoring that image?

Merely living right is not how to restore

the image of God in us.
Describing the Image of God (Gen. 1:26)
It is essential to our salvation to know and understand the image of God.
We have to know what the image of God really is. Genesis 1:26 gives us a
peek: Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness (NKJV; italics
added). This verse conveys a singular God who exists in a plural community. This community is selfless enough to share ownership of Godship,
and it is the image in which we, humanity, are created. Verse 26 continues
as follows: Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds
of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping
thing that creeps on the earth (NKJV). The next verse tells us that God
created both male and female as a reflection of Him (verse 27). Then He
blessed them and told them how to function in His image: Be fruitful and
multiply; fill the earth and subdue it (verse 28, NKJV).
This is a lot of information, so lets simplify it. Based on Genesis 1:2628,
we can say the following about the image of God: (1) It exists in a unified
community. (2) It exists in relationship with others like itself. (3) It is selfless.
(4) It rules over birds, fish, and land animals. (5) It can be male or female
without diminishing the image of God. (6) It is fruitful. (7) It fills the earth.
However, humanity could not fulfill its purpose of being and functioning in
the image of God until He had filled them with His breatha vital part of Himself. Finally, God ended Creation week by filling the entire earth with Himself.
On day seven, He celebrated the end of His work by blessing the Sabbath.
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about the image of God is
that we cannot live in His image if He does not give us a part of Himself.

Distortion of the Image of God (Gen. 3:1)

God created the man and the woman in His image. He blessed them
and gave them the Sabbath to enjoy intimacy with their Creator and with
each other. The man-and-woman image of God began well. However, there
was an intruder. The serpent spoke to the woman, and she believed his
lie. But why? Notice that the serpent began his conversation with Eve by

questioning Gods command (Gen. 3:1). Then, when he addressed her the
second time, he actually contradicted God. He flagrantly accused Him of
withholding good from the people He had created. With each comment,
he was trying to weaken Gods influence on the woman. And with each
passing moment in that conversation at the tree, the womans trust in God
became more and more faint, until she finally believed the intruder. And
because she believed him, she disobeyed. This is how the image of God
becomes distorted. The enemy seeks to weaken our relationship with God
and our trust in Him, so that when he accuses God and us, we believe him
rather than our Creator. The image of God becomes distorted when we
choose to live our lives according to the word of the enemy instead of by
the Word of God.

Restoring the Image of God in Us (Rom. 13:14; Heb. 3:14; 2Pet.

1:3, 4)
If distortion of the image of God takes place when we choose to live
according to the word of the enemy, then, logically speaking, restoration of
the image of God takes place when we choose to live according His Word.
However, this is much easier said than done. The serpent didnt come right
out and accuse God. He knew he had a better chance of deceiving Eve if
he could indirectly challenge her relationship with God. So bit by bit, little
by little, moment by moment, the serpent kept her at that tree long enough
for his questions to give way to her doubts. It wasnt just the appeal of being like God that caused her to be deceived. It also was the fact that she
believed Satans accusations against her Creator.
Merely living right is not how to restore the image of God in us. John
and Judas are examples of two people who lived in close proximity to Jesus. Both men went through the same motions. However, in one man, the
image of God was being restored, and in the other, it was not. At first, Gods
image was distorted in both. Both men had opportunities to listen, to study,
to live right, and to connect with Gods divine grace that alone can transform human hearts. But only one man was a humble learner and doer. The
other was concerned only with himself. Thus, he put himself out of reach
of the transforming grace that makes us doers as well as hearers of Gods

1. How does being made in the image of a God in community inform us
how we are to live our lives?
2. How are you feeding into Satans lies about God when you choose to
live in fear and shame?
3. What role does education (outside of formal schooling) have in restoring the image of God in humanity?

Tanya Loveday, Berrien Springs, Michigan, U.S.A.




Love: What the Image

of God Looks Like

Gen. 1:27;
Matt. 22:3739;
Luke 10:27

When Adam came from the Creators hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. God created man in His own
image (Genesis 1:27), and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the
more fully he should reveal this imagethe more fully reflect the glory of the
Creator.... Face-to-face, heart-to-heart communion with his Maker was his
high privilege....

Unselfishness underlies all true development.

But by disobedience this was forfeited. Through sin the divine likeness was
marred, and well-nigh obliterated. Mans physical powers were weakened, his
mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed. He had become
subject to death. Yet the race was not left without hope. By infinite love and
mercy the plan of salvation had been devised, and a life of probation was
granted. To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the
perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind,
and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realizedthis was
to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object
of life.
Love, the basis of creation and of redemption, is the basis of true education. This is made plain in the law that God has given as the guide of life. The
first and great commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind. Luke
10:27. To love Him, the infinite, the omniscient One, with the whole strength,
and mind, and heart, means the highest development of every power. It means
that in the whole beingthe body, the mind, as well as the soulthe image of
God is to be restored.
Like the first is the second commandmentThou shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself. Matthew 22:39. The law of love calls for the devotion of body, mind,
and soul to the service of God and our fellow men. And this service, while making us a blessing to others, brings the greatest blessing to ourselves. Unselfishness underlies all true development. Through unselfish service we receive the
highest culture of every faculty. More and more fully do we become partakers
of the divine nature. We are fitted for heaven, for we receive heaven into our

How do the first two great commandments relate to the image of God?

* Ellen G. White, Education, pp. 15, 16.

Madoka Nichols, Berrien Springs, Michigan, U.S.A.



Genesis 1


Gods Love Is in the Air

Our God is a God of action. In the beginning God created the heavens
and the earth (Gen. 1:1, NIV). Action is His main tool to demonstrate His love
for His creation. He is constantly moving to satisfy the needs of His creatures.
How do we know this? We read it in His Word, see it in nature, and feel it in
our lives. But that is not all. The Bible tells us that we are created in His image.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them (verse 27, NKJV). And last but not least,
He created us for a purposeto be fruitful and increase in number; [to] fill the
earth and subdue it (verse 28, NIV). Thus, we are to be His ambassadors.

Wherever you are, be a true ambassador

of the active God you serve.
The Bible illustrates Gods loving care for us and how He is always watching over us to meet our needs, big or small. He is concerned with our food.
Out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the
sight and good for food (Gen. 2:9, NKJV). Another seemingly insignificant
intervention took place in the Garden of Eden when God covered Adam and
Eves nakedness after the Fall (Gen. 3:21).
When God sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, the divine plan
changed. God would now have to care for His people in different ways. From
then on, He would use disciples to care for His people. Jesus, the Son of
God, showed us how to care for each other. In the Gospels, we are told that
Jesus mingled with sinners, healed sick people, talked to outcasts, saved an
adulterous woman from death, fed the hungry, and cared for the poor. He
was even sensitive to social issues. Jesus was a bridge builder who was
willing to transcend the hatreds and prejudices of His time and place.*
Jesus showed His disciples how to care for people in need. He urged
them to imitate Him. God expects the same from us. And so I urge you to
earnestly ask Him to give you the privilege and honor of being an instrument
of blessing to others, at home, at school, and in the marketplace. Wherever
you are, be a true ambassador of the active God you serve.

How can you positively impact your community to show that you are a
servant of an active God? Make a commitment to do something different this
coming week.
* George R. Knight, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald,
2013), p. 106.

Juan D. Alvarez, Berrien Springs, Michigan, U.S.A.




The Desirable Clay

Jer. 18:46

As a potter forms a vessel out of a lump of clay, so God, the Master Potter, formed free-willed, intelligent humanity out of the dust of the earth into
His image. Sadly, however, Adam and Eve misused this free will by choosing to disobey Gods command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil. Therefore, humanity has become marred.
Just as a potter reworks moldable, marred clay into a desired vessel,
so God, out of His love, desires to restore us to His image. However, He
expects us to work together with Him in doing so. What type of clay allows
the Potter to restore the vessel?

It is when we face the fearful decisions and trials of life

that God reminds us that His grace is always there.
Clay that is submissive. We are well aware that God can do the impossible. We often tell people this. However, when it comes to allowing Him to
do the impossible in our lives, we become fearful. It is in the midst of our
fear that He desires us to allow Him to take control, for only then can He
work in us (Jer. 1:8).
Clay that is obedient. When God is in control, He opens our eyes to His
way of thinking in order for us to decide if we will continue in His guidance
(Phil. 2:5). Only when we make the decision to let Him lead is He able to
help us. As He states in Isaiah 41:10, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee
with the right hand of my righteousness.
Clay that is willing to withstand the heat. In order for clay to be fully established into the shape the potter desires it to be, it must pass through a
furnace. Just as the clay will forever keep its shape because of the furnace,
Christians will develop godly characters because of the fiery trials that God
allows them to go through (Job 23:10). Alluding to the hymn How Firm a
Foundation, it is when we face the fearful decisions and trials of life that
God reminds us that His grace is always there.* These experiences will not
harm us because they are designed to remove the bad habits within our
lives and to strengthen His character in us.

1. How can God work through you if you are submissive and obedient
to Him?
2. Why is the trust aspect a key factor in our relationship with God?
* The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, no. 509.

Renaldo Hines, Berrien Springs, Michigan, U.S.A.



Mark 2:112


Resilience and Small


The story of a paralyzed man who was lowered by his four friends through
the roof of a house where Jesus was preaching to a crowd shows us how
the friends and the homeowner cooperated with Jesus to heal the man
completelyphysically, spiritually, and mentally. How can we restore the
image of God in the body of Christ as a cooperative community that functions
as these people did?

We should not expect to survive with any kind of dignity

if we continue what we are doing.
Michael Lewis and Patrick Conaty wrote the following in their book The
Resilience Imperative: Humans face profound challenges over the next
centuryclimate change, peak oil, a growth-addicted global financial system,
gross inequity.... We should not expect to survive with any kind of dignity if
we continue what we are doing. Rather, we must radically shift the way we
see, think, and act in relation to each other and the planet.1 They suggest a
solution for the matter with a question and an answer:
Question: Do we have the wisdom and courage to radically shift our paradigm in favor of a secure common future?
Answer: Our species has proven itself resilient in the past. We can adapt.
We can make shifts.2
They then focus on two aspects that they claim can enhance the paradigm shift they recommend for a bright future of the global community: resilience and small community.
The church started from a small community that had amazing resilience in
overcoming the persecution it faced during its early history. In todays world,
how can Christian communities of any size pursue the resilience needed in
order to overcome common global problems? How can we take part in that

1. What principles of small-community resilience do you notice in the account of the paralyzed man?
2. As a member of the Christian community, how can you take part in the
movement to work out the global problems mentioned above?
1. Michael Lewis and Patrick Conaty, The Resilience Imperative (Gabriola Island, B.C.: New
Society Publishers, 2012), p. 1.
2. Ibid., p. 2.

Seungho Park, Berrien Springs, Michigan, U.S.A.




Reflecting His Image

Phil. 2:13

On display in a local religious bookstore is a rather unusual mirror. At a
distance, it looks like any other mirror, but up close you can see a faint image of Jesus in the very center. What a great impact Christians could have
if, before starting the day, Gods followers glanced into such a mirror, not
to see how they looked, but to remind themselves that the most important
goal for the next 24 hours was to reflect the image of God to every person
they met. As God restores us to His image, lets give the world a better
picture of who He is and how much He values each soul.

Designing a poster illustrating the idea of reflecting the image of Jesus.
Creating a mathematical expression that explains how Gods image
was lost in humanity and how it can be restored.
Memorizing Romans 12:2.
Singing the song Not I, but Christ, hymn no. 570 in the Seventh-day
Adventist Hymnal.
Walking around your block, sharing literature, and offering to pray with
your neighbors.
Listing seven to ten characteristics that Jesus displayed in His life
(honesty, humbleness, love, for example). Which are most evident in
your life? Which are not? Ask God to help you with your weak areas
so that you can better reflect His image to others.
Taking a nature walk, and identifying ways in which Gods creation
illustrates His characteristics.

Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, pp. 6783.
Jill Morikone, A Heart Thats Transformed, Heart Lift (Pacific Press,

Renee Coffee, Gobles, Michigan, U.S.A.