God made us in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). This does not refer to our body but to our spirit. God is spirit (John 4:24). He has no physical body.
We each have a physical body that came from the earth and will return to the earth (Genesis 2:7; 3:19), but also a spirit that came from God (Hebrews 12:9) and will return to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Our physical body is not made in the image of God but in the image of the earthly. When Jesus comes, we will receive a spiritual body made in the image of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:42-50).
It is the spirit within each one of us that makes us unique and sets us above all other creatures on earth (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalms 8:4-8). We are able to perceive God and are moved to seek after, worship and serve God (Romans 1:18-32; Acts 17:22-31; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). We exercise free will and may distinguish between good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:4-7, 22; Joshua 24:15). Each one of us has a conscience that accuses or excuses us (Romans 2:15). We know that we must answer for ourselves to God (Romans 1:18, 32; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11).
Mere animals do not have such a spirit. They have no perception of God; therefore they cannot seek after, worship or serve God but simply operate by instinct. They do not exercise freewill and have no knowledge of right and wrong. They have no conscience and are not held accountable for their actions.
God put eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We know there is something beyond the here and now (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:7). We were made to dwell with the eternal God (Revelation 21:3). Without Him we are empty and incomplete (Ephesians 2:12; Colossians 2:9). Only He can fill our hearts (Ephesians 1:23).
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135