“The error,” wrote Percy Bysshe Shelley, an atheist, “consists in seeking in a mortal image the likeness of what is, perhaps, eternal.”
An interesting point, is it not?
The Bible says that we were originally created in God’s image: “in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). Though a lot of speculation over the millennia has gone into exactly what entails “the image of God,” surely humanity, in the image of the eternal God, must have had some original hope of eternity as well. In fact, one reason that they, after the fall, had been kicked out of the Garden of Eden was to keep them from the tree of life, which, it seems, offered them eternal life: “And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—(Genesis 3:22).
Shelly, if you remember, had been married to Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein, often depicted as a story of what happens when man tries to play God.
He’s wrong, however. The problem is not the image of the eternal in the mortal; it’s how it is done. Only God, who had first created humans in the image of God can restore that image, which happens through Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life in Him. Even now, that work of restoration has begun in those who will allow it.
“My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,” Galatians 4:19).
Christ, Himself “image of His Person,” (Hebrews 1:3), that is, God’s person, is to be formed in us, even now. Yes, the image of the eternal can be made in a mortal, but only through the power of the eternal God Himself.