Christians today love to say that each person is created in the image of God (imago dei) and therefore deserves equal treatment. However, showing Christian kindness is one thing. Ignoring the reality of sin, death, and hell is another. All people are made in God’s image, but not all will enter heaven. We must give sinners a whole gospel.
World history consists of three main events: creation, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and his Second Coming. These events signify three types of imago dei and, therefore, three births. The first is Adam, the natural man (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). He was ‘born’ full grown on the sixth day of creation. The second is Jesus Christ, the spiritual man (15:45-49). He was born like Adam and his descendants. However, three days after his death on the cross, Jesus was resurrected (Matthew 28:1-8). He received a new body, one that will never die.
The resurrection of Christ is a two-fold promise. All who repent and believe are raised from the dead spiritually into a second imago dei. They are ‘born again’ (John 3:3-8). This resurrection signifies the new bodies that believers will receive in the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Then we’ll be transformed like Christ, a third imago dei (2 Corinthians 3:18, Philippians 3:21).
These truths are evident in the birth process. Just as full-term babies breathe on their own, so also believers breathe through the Holy Spirit – daily prayer, worship, and cleansing. And just as cauls (veils) around babies are removed so they can interact with others, so also veils over believers’ hearts are removed so they can see the Father and be transformed into Christ’s image (2 Corinthians 3:14-18). One day, they’ll see Jesus face to face and worship him using heaven’s language (1 Corinthians 13:12). However, premature babies need help breathing, since their lungs aren’t fully developed. Sometimes they’re born still inside the caul. So we must help premature believers, people who haven’t developed lives of worship and prayer. They’ll die otherwise.
Creation is both a sermon and a prophecy. God wants everyone to be transformed into the image of his Son Jesus Christ and live eternally in heaven. He wants everyone to “let the veil down” spiritually and “let the praise go up.” This only happens if we repent and believe here on earth. All those who cling to the natural man, the first imago dei, will die eternally in hell. Satan has blinded their minds, so we must pray that Christ will shine on them (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
If we want to see Jesus in heaven with an “unveiled face” (1 Corinthians 3:18), then we must forsake the natural man and embrace the spiritual one. So let us repent and trust in Christ.