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"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart."  Genesis 6:5-6


The Study of Sin

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How Sin Marred the Image of God in Man

by WordExplain


When God created Man on the sixth day of creation, God created him in his own Likeness and Image (Gen. 1:26-27).  This cannot mean a physical likeness, for God is Spirit (John 4:24).  There are at least four ways in which God made man like Himself.  God made man, like Himself, a Creative being, a Sovereign being; a Moral being; and a being with a fully developed Personality.

Tragically, when man sinned (Gen. 3:1-6), there followed disastrous consequences.  Not only did man alienate himself from God, but the image of God in Man was deeply marred.  Man's Creativity became marred, as did his Sovereignty, his Morality, and his Personality ...

A.  CREATIVITY: In the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:7-25), man had been alive spiritually and physically, and able to pass that life on to his children. But now that he had deliberately disobeyed God (Gen. 3:1-6), he lost his innocence (Gen. 3:7), and he became afraid of God, spiritually dead and dying physically. Adam retained his ability to pass on physical life to his descendants. He could still create physical life. But instead of passing on immortal life to his descendants, Adam passed on sin and decaying physical life that ended in disease, deformity, and death. Man's Creativity had been terribly marred....

1.  Genesis 3:8-10 Man became afraid of God and hid from him. This was a sign that he was spiritually dead – separated from God.

2.  Genesis 3:16 Now as part of God's curse on Eve, there was pain in childbirth.

3.  Genesis 5:1-32  Everyone died physically.

4.  Romans 5:12-14 Adam passed on sin and death to all his descendants.

B. SOVEREIGNTY: God had given man the job of subduing the earth; of ruling over the fish, the birds and every living thing on the land (Gen. 1:26-28). This was to have been a happy cooperation between man and animals.

1.  But now... Genesis 3:21 Animals had to die for man's benefit.

2.  Genesis 3:17-19 The ground was cursed; thorns and thistles began to grow; work became burdensome; man would decay and return to the dust.

3.  Genesis 9:2-3 Because of man’s persistent corruption and violence, God covered the entire globe with a flood (Gen. 6-8). After the flood, man would be permitted to eat animals because of the changes in nature. Animals would now fear man. The earth, over which man had been given dominion, bears everywhere, in its altered topography (layers of water-born sediment) and billions of fossils, the marks of this catastrophic judgment caused by man’s rebellion against God.

C.  MORALITY: God had created man with a Holy Moral Nature. But now he had an Evil Moral Nature – a tendency to do the bad things instead of the good.

1.  Genesis 4:5-8; 1 John 3:12 Man early in history committed the first murder. Cain killed his brother out of jealousy.

2.  Genesis 6:5-7, 13 The earth became “filled with violence.” The thoughts of man's heart are “only evil continually."

D.  PERSONALITY: God had made man with intellect, emotions, will and communication that was always and only holy and good. But now...

1. Mind: Man lost the ability to think and perceive the way God had first created him.

a.  Romans 1:21-22 Failing to honor God, mankind, though “professing to be wise, ... became fools.

b.  Ephesians 4:17-18 Man’s mind is futile; man’s understanding has been "darkened.

c.  Romans 1:28-32. Man’s mind is depraved.

2.  Emotions: Man’s heart is deceitful, darkened and hardened. He becomes obsessed with sexual immorality.

a.  Jer. 17:9 Man’s heart is deceitful and “desperately sick.”

b.  Rom. 1:21 Man’s “foolish heart was darkened.”

c.  Rom. 1:21-24 God gave mankind’s lustful hearts over to sexual impurity.

d.  Rom. 1:25-27 Because mankind exchanged God’s truth for a lie and worshiped the creation  instead of the Creator, God gave mankind over to "degrading passions."

e.  Ephesians 4:18 Man has “hardness” of heart.

f.  Ephesians 4:19 People are callous, "past feeling."

3.  Will: Man persistently chooses to disobey God and turn aside from Him.

a.  Isaiah 53:6 Each of us, like sheep, turns aside and follows his own way.

b.  Romans 3:11-12 There is no human being who really seeks after God. Every human turns aside to his own way.

         4.  Communication: Man’s speech is as corrupt and deadly as the grave, as searing as a fire.

a.  Psalm 5:9 Man’s speech is unreliable, destructive, and disingenuous flattery.

b.  Romans 3:13-14 Man’s speech is filled with deceit, cursing and bitterness.

c.  James 3:6 The human tongue is motivated by hell and scorches everything in its proximity.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being man’s original creation and 1 being as low as possible, how would you now rate "The Image of God in Man?"

 1           2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

So the Image of God is still there in man, but it is sadly tarnished, stained and broken. It is only a shadow of what it once was.

What effect does this stained image have upon the long-term relationship between God and man? The relationship is ruined – broken beyond man's ability to repair!

No person who has the image of God within him stained or marred in any degree can spend eternity with a completely holy and perfect God. That is why we need to be made a "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17) in Jesus Christ, with a Holy Moral Character our goal – so we can live with God forever. We call this "Salvation." Have you been saved from God's judgment so you can live with God forever?

How Sin Marred the Image of God in Man

by James T. Bartsch,

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First Published July, 2007, updated February 17, 2022

Scriptures referenced are from the NASB 1995.

WordExplain by James T. Bartsch

(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB 1995.  Used by Permission.)

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This page updated February 17, 2022