MAN – THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS
God’s original plan for which everything else exists is the creation of man “in Our own image and likeness.” The first man Adam was not the man “in the image and likeness of God,” for Scripture says that Adam the first man, was created in the image of God, but not the likeness. The perfect and holy man in the perfect image and likeness of God is Jesus Christ, by whom and for whom everything was created. He is the first of many in the image and likeness, who would become like Him, sinless and perfect. Many writers misread Scripture and say that Adam was created in the image and likeness of God. Adam was created in the image of God but not in His likeness, the likeness he would have to acquire, but he fell into sin and inherited death. Christ however, being God was in need of nothing except the Virgin Mary, through whom He became the first man "in the image and likeness of God." Christ became what every person in the world needs to attain in order to live in eternal joy as God desires.
An erroneous teaching has entered some parts of Orthodoxy perhaps by way of western churches and ideology, which is that man is created only dual, body and spirit. This is a misreading of the Gospel which clearly declares this truth: “God formed man out of the clay of the earth and breathed into his person a breath of life, and the man became a living soul.” The correct interpretation of this is that God formed man (not the body or soul of man, but man, both body and soul). At the time of his creation the man was not yet alive, for life is derived from the spirit or breath of life breathed into him from God who endowed him with intelligence and life, for “the man became a living soul.”
The one God in whom we believe is a Trinity, and when He created man in His own image and likeness He would certainly make him a trinity like himself! Otherwise he would not be in His image. For these reasons, man, the image of God, is certainly triune, body, soul and spirit. Also even though sin entered the world, by breaking the commandment, man remained the image of God in whose image he was created though it was marred. Satan, by instigating the violation was able to inflict upon man a portion of his hideous image. Through his wicked inspiration eventually sin would increase followers in the world, causing the Devil to exult thinking that he was destroying God’s most beloved creation.
Man has always enjoyed the freedom of accepting or rejecting either God or the evil one’s words which he heeded. The first result of agreeing with the Devil’s malignant words was bitterness, hatred and murder, the fratricide of Abel by his only brother Cain. Abel delighted in serving God and did not live for the flesh alone as did Cain, who fell into his malicious trap.