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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Resurrection life | Creating life

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ 

Genesis 1:26–28


If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man … Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain. 

1 Corinthians 15:45–49, 58 



So far in this series, we’ve looked at the link Paul makes between Christ’s resurrection and the renewal of our identity as the image of God. In particular, we have focused on two key blessings conferred on God’s image in Genesis: an intimate relationship with God’s presence, and a commission to rule with God’s sovereignty.  

These blessings are signposts to our identity and calling, but they also come with an expectation that they will be multiplied throughout the earth, as humanity is blessed to be fruitful and to create life. In Genesis 1 this life is characterised in terms of reproduction. However, we only need to turn the page and find humanity’s commission to work and protect the garden (Genesis 2:15) to see that this aspect of resurrection life relates just as much to the life we create in our care for the world and our work for the kingdom of God.  

Throughout the Old Testament, this commission to create life was envisaged as living holy lives, extending hospitality to outsiders and God’s justice to those in need. Isaiah’s vision of salvation expanded this further to include being ‘a light for the Gentiles’ and ‘to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness’ (Isaiah 42:6–7). This, of course, was a participation in the saving work of the Messiah to come, prophesied in Isaiah 61:1–3 and fulfilled by Jesus at the start of his own ministry (Luke 4:18–21). 

Jesus’ life modelled daily what it means to create life as God’s renewed image, and Paul saw that Christ’s death and resurrection had ushered in the renewal of the image of God, as the church filled with the Spirit. This was at once the completion of God’s creation and the beginning of something entirely new. 

For all the theological implications Paul unpacks, it’s striking that the point he builds to is so practical: ‘Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord’. 

This is what it means to be God’s image in the world: ministering his love and power in daily acts of faithfulness. As we’ve seen, this may be expressed by sharing the gospel, showing love to others, praying for healing, standing up for justice, caring for the environment, or cultivating communities of faith. This is the heart of resurrection life. 


Dr Freddy Hedley

Dean of Studies, WTC Theology 

What daily act of faithfulness will you do this week? 


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