If there is any one thing on earth that God desires to compare Himself with, it is mankind; it is in us that He is expressed. We are created in His likeness and image. The source of God’s expression of similitude in likeness and image, was His own eminent righteousness and holiness. We tend to recognize this only in the physical sense, but the greater aspect is spiritual. This is exemplified in that God created us as spiritual beings, designed to live forever. These details of image and likeness have multi-dimensional depth that most do not recognize for lack of the pursuit of understanding. The fall of mankind in Eden was a massive shift away from God’s pattern of righteousness and holiness. There were no slight shifts of mere error in Eden that day. It was a gigantic and extremely destructive phenomenon which massacred the relationship between God and man. To begin to understand this collapse of horror, we must understand the Creator’s mighty spiritual impregnation of our eternal spirit within.
Within man there is an incredible edifice, designed to be strong enough to contain the presence of God and to disperse the resemblance of the majesty of His presence. This is a holy place and a temple of God, garnished as His office where the sacred meeting of His presence with man occurs. The directive given to Adam had connotations of maintaining order and beauty of the garden and everything within the garden. The outworking of this union was through spiritual strength with primary elements of dominion. This spiritual union between God and man was to subdue everything that was above and beneath the earth.
The destroyer was already present in the garden, lodged in a tree called knowledge. Somehow it was the tree of knowledge that he found to be the instrument of enticement. The contamination of that tree was to be subdued in one way—by leaving it alone. ‘Do not touch or eat of it’, was the simple solution of obedience. Herein we must understand that Adam’s dominance was to be propagated by these two directives—firstly, do not touch, and secondly, do not eat of that which hangs on its branches.
The pure and complete defense mechanism with which God equipped man, was righteousness. The opposite of that righteousness was to touch and eat from the branches of the tree of knowledge, where good and evil lodged together. When we look at God’s righteousness as being the defense against Satan’s artillery, we begin to understand our position in Christ. Paul instructs us in Ephesians 6:14 to cover the heart with a breastplate. He calls this breastplate, righteousness. We think of guarding the heart and tend immediately to forget that our heart is protected from the inside out. The righteousness of Christ is what protects the heart; it protects the heart against engagement from within. With this shield in place, the heart is protected from engagement through the mouth as well. The defense of Christ in the wilderness was alone what was written. We also must remember the silence of Christ throughout His trial, prior to His death. Satan goes about to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan wants to steal what is in the heart, which is what he did in Eden. This he can do if we give in to him with the mouth, for out of the mouth, the heart speaks. This is when the breastplate stands in full defense and we shall never flinch here with reasoning. Oh, that I would have understood this earlier!
God’s expression of likeness and image is exemplified in man. Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the heart. 1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him, even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Our spirit is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Our spirit knows all about us and God’s Spirit knows everything about God and us. This lies within us and is called a temple. This temple headquarters between God and man is lodged within us and is called our spirit. Never do we find the Bible teaching that the spirit can be annihilated or become extinct. This one function was designed to house the voice of God, or the Spirit of God. At the fall of man, the voice fled and was later found walking in the cool of the day seeking Adam. The spirit of man chased out the presence of God from within him, becoming void, dormant, and hollow—vulnerable to death and all its forms.
When Christ transforms fallen man and the Holy Spirit enters him, all that was stolen from Adam in Eden is restored. Christ’s righteousness is restored immediately and man becomes a new creature. The forgiveness of sin and acknowledgement of iniquity starts a radical and progressive move of restoration in man’s spirit. The Holy Spirit immediately finds the place originally designed for Him and flies with wings of a dove to His place of rest, and the glory of the Lord restores the temple of praise and power and majesty to reign till the return of Christ!