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Heidelberg Catechism, Question 6.1: Did God create people so wicked and
God created them good and in his own image,
that is in true righteousness and holiness,
so that they might
truly know God their creator,
love him with all their heart,
and live with him in eternal happiness
for his praise and glory.
Here we have the catechism digging deeper in the theme of our misery. We have
been told of the Law of God, and that our natural tendency is to not live up
to God's right standards. Now we progress a step further and ask, “Is this
God's fault?” In other words, were we just born this way? Is some of the
responsibility, for our wickedness and perversity, mitigated by the fact that God
created us messed up? The catechism tells us that, in fact, God did not create us
this way. God created us good. Even more, we are told in Genesis 1:31, as God
surveyed His entire work of creation, that His creation was “very good.”
We were created in God's image. What does this mean? It tells us that man, in
his creation, resembled God in the spiritual and immortal nature of his soul.
Now, when we are born, we bear the image of Adam (see Genesis 5:3), and this
includes being like him in our natural form, and in our rebellion against God.
In regeneration, we take on the image of Christ. Our image is changed and
renewed. “And just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear
the image of the heavenly,” 1 Corinthians 15:49. God created us good, but in
Adam's sin, all his posterity became wicked and perverse. We cannot revert to
our failings in goodness and holiness to God. Mankind was created in
righteousness and holiness, but in the Fall, all that was lost. It is only in Christ
that the restoration of what was lost is brought back.
It is, however, more than restoration that we experience in Christ. We are
given in Christ, not only the restoration of all that we lost in Adam's sin, but
we are also given all that Adam was to fulfill had he remained without sin.
It is a weighty thought. Not only does Christ make up all the lack that sin has
brought into our lives, but He also furnishes all that Adam would have
obtained, had he not sinned. Many have used the term “overplus” to describe what
Christ brings to the sinner. In the application of His redemption to our lives,
we not only have restoration, but the consummation of all that should have
been, in the absence of sin. The image is restored. Holiness is renewed, and we
possess the very righteousness of Christ - who has become our righteousness. It
is an overplus. “So then as through one transgression there resulted in
condemnation to all men, even so, through one act of righteousness, there resulted
justification of life to all men,” Romans 5:18.
Soli Deo Gloria, T-
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