Saturday, August 4, 2012
In His Image: Reflecting the Trinity
The Triune God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), with mind, body and spirit corresponding to God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus the Son is the express image of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3). We are made in His image for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11), so it is not surprising that our three-part nature is captured in so many different facets of our being.
Our physical body consists of three main elements: the head, body, and limbs. The head is the seat of our mind, representing God the Father Who is the Originator of the divine plan. Our body contains all our vital organs needed to maintain life, corresponding to Jesus the Son, Who is the Embodiment of the plan: the Word wrapped Himself in human flesh (John 1:14) and came to earth as the perfect sacrifice to pay our sin debt through His shed blood (1 John 1:7).
And our limbs carry out the plans we devise in our mind, much as the Holy Spirit empowers the plans of God the Father (Genesis 1:2). Our hands can build or destroy; heal or harm; steal, or work and give to those in need (Ephesians 4:28). Our feet can be beautiful if they lead us to spread the Gospel (Romans 10:15); they can reach high places if He sets us there (2 Samuel 22:34; Psalm 18:33; Habakkuk 3:19); or they can lead us into sin. Psalm 1:1 warns us not to sit, stand, or walk in places or with people who will get us into trouble.
Our brain, which is the seat of our mind and which governs our body and limbs, can be divided into three main substructures: forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The forebrain includes the cerebral hemispheres responsible for conscious thought; the midbrain regulates our bodily functions, emotions, and arousal; and the hindbrain controls movement. Although this is an oversimplification because the whole brain works in concert, we can see that the forebrain to a large extent governs our mind, the midbrain regulates our body, and the hindbrain controls our limbs (which carry out actions motivated by our spirit).
The indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to glorify God in all we think, say, and do (Colossians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 10:31) for He has given us the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7), and in Him we live, move, and have our being.( Acts 17:28).
Below the realm of conscious thought, our brain processes sensory input providing information about our environment that allows us to respond in ways that ensure our survival. The three senses involved in a newborn’s obtaining nourishment through nursing are touch, smell, and taste. The mother stroking the baby’s cheek causes him to turn his head toward her; the scent of her skin and milk cause him to open his mouth and suck; and the taste of the milk keeps him feeding.
The same three senses continue to be highly involved in eating, which is why food seems tasteless when we have a cold, and why we often crave food with a meaty or crunchy texture. The unique body chemistry of a loved one’s scent helps us to recognize them (Genesis 27:27).
Because of connections in the brain between areas responsible for smell, emotion, and memory, a distinct aroma may release a flood of memories and emotions surrounding a particular person or event. The scent of gingerbread baking may take you back to the love and joy of a childhood Christmas. Incense or sacrifices burned during worship (Numbers 29:36; Ezra 6:10) may remind the believer of God’s love and greatness, and He even experiences the faithful as a “sweet savour” reminding Him of the sacrifice of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15; Ephesians 5:2).
Smell, taste and touch heighten intimacy with our spouse, and even with God Himself (Song of Solomon 2:3; 3:6,4:10-11,5:5,13,16,7:8). His words are sweet as honey (Psalm 119:103; Ezekiel 3:3), and He urges us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
The loving touch of the angel of the Lord comforted Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-7), the Lord Himself touched young Jeremiah’s lips to give him the words to speak (Jeremiah 1:9), and Jesus healed the blind, mute and sick with a single touch (e.g. Matthew 8:3,15; 9:29).
God gave us three special abilities with which to communicate ideas: speech, hearing and vision, using our mouth, ears, and eyes. James warns us to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. (James 1:19). A study at UCLA showed that up to 93 percent of how we perceive what others say is based not on words, but on nonverbal cues including the tone of their voice, facial expression and gestures.
Yet God also intends for us to use our words wisely, refraining from “corrupt communication” and to speak only “that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). All verbal communication, spoken or written, is based on sentences composed of subject, verb, and object. To compare different things using adjectives, language uses three degrees of qualities – for example, good, better, and best.
To be in God’s will, the main focus of our communication should be to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and to encourage believers to live for Him. Before He ascended into Heaven, our risen Lord commanded us to go (spread the Gospel), teach (instruct others in His Word), and baptize all nations (facilitate their obedience to God’s will; Matthew 28:19-20).
Because the unsaved will be born again only through faith (Romans 10:17), they must hear God’s Word; evangelists must preach the Word; and believers must send forth preachers to lost people (Romans 10:14-15), Salvation has three parts: the lost hear the Word, they trust it in their heart, and they speak aloud their confession of faith (Romans 10:9-10), in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15).
May we use our mind, body and spirit to glorify Him in all we think, say and do!
© 2012 Laurie Collett