Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Made in the Image of the King

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." Genesis 1:26

Alice C. Linsley

The writer of Genesis links being made in the image and likeness of God to dominion over all the earth.  Adam was to have been that ruler and his righteous descendants after him. All the men listed in Genesis 4, 5 and 10 and 11 were indeed of the ruler caste.  In fact, the name Cain (Kahn) means king. The female version is Kandake (rendered "Candace" in English Bibles). Cain is the first after Adam to establish dominion over a territory. If Adam is the first man in biblical parlance, Cain is the first ruler. The Bible reluctantly grants him this status as is evident from a study of what Cain symbolizes in Scripture. Jude warns those who might abandon Christ because of their suffering in this life. He uses three men as examples: Cain the ruler, Balaam the prophet, and Korah the priest. These were the three most sacred offices among Abraham’s people and they were often filled by people corrupted by the world.

Adam did not have to work for his dominion. God gave it to him, but he was not permitted to remain in the territory that God established for him. The "fall" did not remove the image and likeness of God, nor did it remove the will to rule. Adam's descendants spread abroad and they ruled over territories from Africa to India and beyond. 

The phrase "image and likeness" suggests a royal seal which holds the image or likeness of the king. There is a sense of divine appointment. Adam and his line are the appointed rulers on earth and they are to reflect the righteous rule of God in heaven.  This idea is found in other places in the Bible, Consider Ezekiel. 

"Son of Man, raise a lament over the king of Tyre and say to him: Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and flawless beauty. You were in Eden, in the Garden of God; every precious stone was your adornment... and gold beautifully wrought for you, mined for you, prepared the day you were created." (Ezekiel 28:11-18)

Ralph W. Klein, in his paper on Ezekiel at the End of the Century, observes, "Dexter E. Callender gives his attention to the lament on the prince of Tyre in Ezek 28:11-19. The bulk of his discussion is given over to the interpretation of two words translated "signet of perfection" in the NRSV. The NRSV translation revocalized the first word as a construct singular noun instead of a Qal participle as in the MT. Callender goes one step farther and vocalizes it as an absolute singular noun. In neither case is there any change in consonants. The second word is more difficult, but Callender proposes a slight consonantal emendation, from tknyt to tbnyt, primarily on the basis of the ancient versions. Hence he suggests two nouns in apposition: "You were a seal, a likeness." This clause is best understood in view of the reference to the creation of the first human in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26). The picture is that of an authoritative, royal representative of Yahweh. The figurative use in Gen 1:26 and Ezek 28:11-19 is taken more literally in descriptions of royal statues in the Tell el-Fakhariyeh inscription and the Tukulti Ninurta Epic.

Hence the king of Tyre and all other foreign kings were considered executors of the divine will as manifested in Yahweh. Analogous usage can be found in Jeremiah’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar and Second Isaiah’s understanding of Cyrus. The King of Tyre also displays characteristics of the Primal Human, and Ezekiel therefore adumbrates the kinship of humanity."

Even the best rulers in the Bible failed to present the image or icon of God who is invisible. David was one of the most righteous and he failed. The demand of Israel to have a king shows that the people missed their calling as humans who were to reflect the divine image. They were to be a nation of holy priests, pure and undefiled, but they failed. Yet God did not cast them away or abandon his eternal purpose. He sent the Son to be born of their royal priestly lines and He is the perfect icon of God. Through Him the divine image is restored and the divine appointed fulfilled. As Father Thomas Hopko points out, to be made in the image and likeness of God is to be like Jesus, and we receive this through His grace and the suffering that is ours to pour out as an oblation on His passion.


AlDahir said...


Khan does not mean Cain or Qyn. Qyn is a Semitic word which means 'metal smith' and khan is an Asian word first used by the Koreans. The 2 words are not related. According to Wiki:

Khan, Kaan, Kahn, or Kagan (Mongolian: хаан, xaan; ᠬᠠᠭᠠᠨ, qaγan; Turkish: kağan or hakan; Azerbaijani: xan; Ottoman: han; Old Turkic: 𐰴𐰍𐰣, kaɣan; Chinese: 可汗, kèhán; Goguryeo : 皆, key; Silla: 干, kan; Baekje: 瑕, ke; Manchu: ᡥᠠᠨ, Pashto: خان Urdu: خان‎, Hindi: ख़ान; Nepali: खाँ Bengali: খ়ান; Bulgarian: хан,[1] Chuvash: хун, hun) is an originally Mongol and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Mongol tribes living to the north of China. "Khan" is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation[2] for their chief between 283 and 289.[3] The Rourans were the first people who used the titles khagan and khan for their emperors, replacing the Chanyu of the Xiongnu, whom Grousset and others assume to be Turkic.[4] It was subsequently adopted by the Ashina before Mongols brought it to the rest of Asia. In the middle of the sixth century it was known as "Kagan – King of the Turks" to the Iranians.[2]...The usage of the word 'Khan' is firstly shown in Korean history of Silla Dynasty.

If you believe that David authored Psalm 18, the he gave a very good description of YHWH:

6 In my distress I called upon YHWh, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.

10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.

11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.

13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.

14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.

15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

A similar description of Leviathan can be found in Job 41:

“I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
its strength and its graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its outer coat?
Who can penetrate its double coat of armor[b]?
14 Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
ringed about with fearsome teeth?
15 Its back has[c] rows of shields
tightly sealed together;
16 each is so close to the next
that no air can pass between.
17 They are joined fast to one another;
they cling together and cannot be parted.
18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light;
its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
19 Flames stream from its mouth;
sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke pours from its nostrils
as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
21 Its breath sets coals ablaze,
and flames dart from its mouth.

Both descriptions depict astral serpents who were also storm gods with lightening and thunder issuing from their nostrils and mouths.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I have been exploring the connection between the ancient Kushites and the Kushan (Kuşāņa) of Bactria and China. The earliest Kushan dynasty about which we have information dates to between 5 B.C. and 50 A.D. (For lists of the Kushan rulers go here.) The Kushan split into northern and southern empires around 330 A.D.

The Kushites and the Kushan were great pyramid builders, and both mummified their rulers. There are definite similarities in clothing, facial appearance, skin tone, and religious practices among the Kushan-Yuetzhi and the Nilotic or Kushite Ainu. The gold medallion belts found at Kushan graves are similar to the roundel belts depicted on statues of ruler-priests found within the temple complex at Hatra between the Tigris and Euphrates. The rulers of Hatra controlled commerce that moved through their territory along the two main caravan routes that connected Mesopotamia with Syria and Asia Minor. The principle deity was Shamash whose emblem was the Sun. This is the same deity as Ra who overshadowed Hathor. She became pregnant and gave birth to Horus.

The Kushan-Yuezhi called themselves Visha or the Vijaya. This is usually rendered "Tribes" although the word refers to their two ruling royal houses, as in vijana, the splitting of wisdom. The honorific title Pharaoh originates in the term pr-aa, which means "great house." In Vedic tradition, pra-jna means "wisdom of the great house." The words have multiple, related meanings (polysemic). In Vedic tradition the a-laya-vijña-na is the seed of the receptacle-world, but literally it means the receptacle of the seed, as in va-gina, symbolized originally by the pictograph V. Karmic seeds - bija - are laid down in Alaya-vi-jña-na to produce karmic fruition. Alaya (aalaya) refers to a house, dwelling, or a receptacle. Bi appears to be a variant of Vi. The V appears in the Ancient Egyptian and Nilotic languages, not naturally in Hebrew.