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First Step To Understanding Agape Is Comprehending God's Image And Likeness

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By Edited Jun 7, 2016 0 0

A Person's Image


What is an Image?

Let us have a feel of psychology and by so doing, critically analyze some terms and definitions. An individual is defined by some components and they are as follows:

Features/Characteristics: These are the habitual make up of a person which together forms his or her character. A bold and confident person; a very hardworking and industrious individual, a crooked or crafty person etc. These are the characteristics of a person.

Personality: From the first definition, various characteristics or features of an individual forms his or her character, but when emotional and behavioural response patterns are involved, we term this collection of features as the personality of the person. An individual's personality make-up may be pragmatic: a straight forward and outspoken person, quick tempered (which is short lived), kind, very jealous and hyper sensitive. These are a combination forming one's personality. In summary his character and temperaments make up to become his personality.

Reputation: This is the opinion of others about a behavioral pattern of an individual, based on that individual's immediate environment in relation to whoever has that opinion on him. A person may have a good business reputation, academic reputation etc.

Your Image


An Image

Image: An individual's Image is the total and complete identity about that person which envelops all components and forms of his/her identity. In fact an individuals Image is his/her identity.

From Wikipedia: "Reputation of a social entity (a person, a group of people, an organization) is an opinion about that entity, typically a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria. It is important in education, business, and online communities. Reputation may be considered as a component of identity as defined by others." So, we can now say that a reputation is one of the component of a person's Identity, while the Image of that person is his Identity itself. When you look at the mirror, what do you see? Your image! It is by seeing your image that you know it is you. If a small dog tries to sneak into the room from behind you and you get to see this through the same mirror, the image of such an incidence reflects it's reality and it is from the image you identify the dog and what it is trying to do. With this illustration, we can adequately understand that one's image is one's identity (the totaly make up of that person).

Johnny may have the Image of being a bad adolescent, but has the reputation of being the best footballer in his school. Joane, may have the image of been too primitive, out of date and always laughed at, but may have the good reputation of always telling the truth.

When stigma is attached to a certain group of persons what actually happens? Their Image is dented (which is the primary aim of stigmatizing a person or group of persons). Stereotype on the other hand does not dent one's image, but gives a general reputation to a specific behavioural pattern. As a Nigerian, some of the Individuals I have met in other countries (especially in Europe and Africa), give me this approach of a crook, a fraudster, I'm searching for papers and residency and all that. These collectively are not stereotypes, these are collectively called stigma because those component of the Identity "A Nigerian" really dent the Identity itself. But also, in majority of the African countries, Africans view us Nigerians as loud-mouthed people, party-freaks, materialistic, but extremely hardworking. These are stereotypes which do not really dent the Image "A Nigerian". As much as these different components of Identity are not that easy to distinguish, if we give them a critical thought and evaluate them in our everyday life, we will be able to grasp and acknowledge their differences.

Since an Individual's image is the total or complete identity of that person, it becomes the most important treasure of that person. If his image is altered, his identity is lost. Now Imagine a situation whereby you are tagged with another identity? Even just the singular act of changing one's name, it will take a very long time for his loved ones to adjust to it, let alone a complete package of his personality and character. No wonder our consciousness always alert us to doing what is socially acceptable, in order to protect the Image we have.


Lions are alike and hence a maximum interaction between themselves


What is Likeness?

Likeness is the quality or state of being 'alike'... In another word, likeness simply means resemblance. Unlike Image which is more of psycho-behavioral in totality, likeness is physical and biological in totality. We are different in likeness to Animals. The likeness between we Humans and Apes is scientifically proven to be very close.

Another psychological approach or analysis to Image and likeness in simple terms is:

Image: Is more of the state of the Mind

Likeness: Is more of the state of the Body.

As we know, the mind controls all emotional and psychological state of an Individual while the body manifests the effect of the mind through behavioral patterns. The significance of Likeness is the fact that it creates connection, mutual interaction between alike subjects. So, since We humans are alike in physical and biological make-up, we interact best with each other. This is not to say we cannot interact with non-like subjects, of course Man and Dog can be very good friends, an Elephant and a Dog can also be very good friends, and there are some occasions whereby a Dog and a Cat in the same house become friends (surprisingly). None the less, subjects in likeness interact more to each other than any other subjects not in the same likeness.

God's Image

God's Image

Now that we have grasp the meaning of Image and Likeness, we can go straight to discuss the Image of God, that is to say, His Identity in totality. Who is God? Some would say He is Kind, He is merciful, He is Love etc. All these are His attributes (in other words, His personality) of which He manifests in us and we see His doing in our lives, but Who really is God? There are two major pillars of His Image (Identity) and we will look into them now.

1. God is Holy and Pure (Perfect)

1 Peter 1: 15-16
: "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.

Lev 19: 2: "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy."

Lev 11: 44: "I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground."

Exodus 15: 11: "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you--majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?"

We can go on and on. God is holy, righteous, pure, Perfect, blameless, spotless, thoroughly clean without stains. And this is who He is, His Image.


2. God is a consuming Fire

Isaiah 33:3
: "At the thunder of your voice, the peoples flee; when you rise up, the nations scatter".

Isaiah 33: 13-14: "You who are far away, hear what I have done; you who are near, acknowledge my power!The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?

Amos 5: 6: "Seek the LORD and live, or he will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire; it will devour, and Bethel will have no one to quench it."

Hebrews 10: 31: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Hebrews 12: 29: "for our “God is a consuming fire."

So, how is His Image applicable or significant in His love for us, especially when He is a consuming Fire? How are these Images relevant in His love for us. How can we say the greatest love of all comes from someone who is perfect and is a consuming fire, especially when we aren't perfect? These questions are carefully answered in the next Episode of this series. But the main point of this particular episode is for us to grasp the understanding of Who God is, His Identity or His Image. The significance of His likeness will be in the next Episode.

NOTE: God is too big and majestic for us to really comprehend who He is. We just say who He is base on how he has revealed Himself to us through our presonal relationships/experiences with Him and through the revelation of Himself from His word. So, as much as this article is true and strictly from the scritptures, it is liable for addition (not correction) based on different or unique experiences from different individuals with God and more revelation of his word. Comments showing these experiences will be greatly appreciated.


(c) 2013, Hubpages.com

Dr. Funom Theophilus Makama

22nd. July. 2013

First published, 12th. February. 2013

Biblical Love Psychology

Paperback copy

Biblical Love Psychology
Amazon Price: $12.45 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 7, 2016)
Love as an issue or topic is one of the most talked, discussed, appreciated, feared and controversial in our contemporary world of today. But is love really controversial? We will find out. Is love wicked as some people say? Does love hurt? Can we fall in love with more than one person? Can or should we love Material things? What about Loving Animals? Is love really blind? If it is, can I fall in love with my eyes Open? Sex and falling in Love, do they go hand in hand? All these questions would be answered one way or the other, directly or indirectly in this Book.

Biblical Love Psychology is the product of the understanding of the word of God from the Bible and as well the practical application of its Psychology; hence it is easily applicable and understandable irrespective of your belief. Lots of emphasis hits on Love itself, breaking it down into its stages, forms and levels and trying to differentiate these various stages of Love as distinct units. Take for instance, Love can be viewed in two categories, the horizontal (Man to man) and the vertical (God to man) and we will understand that The horizontal (Man to Man) exists with an initial step: THE ATTRACTION! But the vertical has no attraction in its initial phase because God loved us while we were yet sinners, doomed to die. This attraction could be blood (blood relations), romance (eros) or compatibility in likeness (Phileo-friendship).

This Book has explained explicitly the significance of the attraction, independent of Love (despite going hand in hand). It did not stop there, it is vivid in elaborating Love itself which is a deeper level and a soul to soul connect which is in by no means same as the initial step (the attraction). Despite all these wonderful revelations about Love, why do we have failed relationships today? Why are marriages not lasting up to 30 years as it used to be? Why do parents disown their children? Why are relationships so shallow, insignificant and treated like high-school courses where they come and go? A typical or an average young lady in her mid-20s should have experienced a minimum of 7 failed relationships in her life, is this supposed to be so? What about Love application to other phenomena such as material things, Money, Animals, what can we say about this? Despite the vertical kind of Love (God to man) being the AGAPE Love, does that mean man cannot exhibit this Agape? When a person adopts a child, this has definitely by-passed any form of attraction, because despite not being their blood (the attraction), the person adopts and loves this child, can we consider this Agape?

All these questions will be thoroughly answered and as well some doctrinal controversies such as: the doctrine of Hell (is it necessary since God loved us without any form of attraction?), the doctrine of the trinity, and the justification of disowning a child from the fact there is Hell, despite (God) showing us such immense love and many more issues.

So, as much as this basic psychological issue of Love is coming from the foundation of the Bible, it is applicable to everyone. I may not believe in Buddhism, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying any Buddhist Movie and even learn from it. There are lots of principles we can apply from this book into our love-relationships irrespective of our beliefs, so try to read it.

On a final note, we should be cautioned that this Book is not a relationship manual. This is far from it. This book is about Love and solely about Love, of which if we understand its basic principles can be applied to any form of relationships. Psychological tools like the Love graph, the perfect square formula are used to explicitly elaborate Love Psychology. Also, science is brought into the picture for us, to a large extent use critical thinking for the justification of the existence of God. If somewhere in our subconscious we believe in His existence, then we will appreciate the Agape Love better.



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