Image: any spiritual, heavenly or invisible idea, data, concept or thought [of the mind] that has become made, manifested or created into a physical form by speech or by writing; everything that has been spoken into existence by the logos of God. (Genesis 1:1-31, John 1:1-3, Romans 1:19-20, Colossians 1:16-17)
(To look like God)
Likeness: to be alike, similar in agreement or conformed to the character or attitude of another being. (Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 2:10, Ephesians 4:24, 2 Peter 1:3-8)
(To function like God)
The will of God was to create human beings in his image, in his likeness, so that we can praise and worship him and have a relationship with him. –Genesis 1:26, Revelation 4:11
He successfully made man in his image in Genesis 1:27 / Genesis 2:7. But he was not finish making them in his likeness yet.
In Genesis 3:4 Satan told Eve, “For God knows that when you eat of it [the tree in the middle of the garden] your eyes will be opened, and you will “BE LIKE GOD,” knowing good and evil…” Satan, here, was just trying to rush God’s process before time. God already said in Genesis 1:26 that he was working on creating man in his own likeness.
But when Eve went besides herself, trying to make herself to be like God, without God, the wisdom that she thought she was receiving from what Satan told her messed up the process. As soon as she and the man ate the fruit, their eyes were opened, opened to know good and evil.
And in Genesis 3:22-24, God said, “The man has now become “LIKE one of US,” knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, and placed cherubim (angelic beings) on each side of the Garden of Eden and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
So now, man, on his own, (but not without the foreknowledge of God) began the process to make himself GOD-Like, by gaining knowledge of Good and Evil, just like God has the ability to know good and evil, being that he is Omniscient (all-knowing). But Man was unable to completely make himself like God because only GOD is the author and finisher of our faith. God knew that if Man also ate of the tree of life (a foreshadowing of accepting Jesus Christ, who is the bread of Life) in the fallen state that they were in, then they would live as eternal “evil” beings which is not a likeness of God, who is an eternal “good” being.
And because God foreknew that they would eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he gave the commandment that if they do eat of it, they would surely die. They eventually did eat from the tree, (thus, stopping themselves from being God-like, who cannot die.) God did not allow them to eat of the other tree, the Tree of Life, because he needed to make sure that they were like him in other manners, before they could become eternal beings with him.
God, though he knows good and evil, cannot do evil, or cannot sin. But Man, prematurely gaining knowledge of good and evil, has on the contrary, due to their rebellion and disobedience, have been spiritually disconnected from the Spirit of God (which enables them to do good), and has now become slaves to sin and doing what is evil, and thus they cannot completely be in the likeness of God, in and of themselves, because of their fallen state.
So then, God the Father, had to work a plan throughout the entire timeline of the Bible (which he had already predestined since before time) just to get man back to right standings with Himself. He did this by sending Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, the anointed one, and now the only medium between man and God, to die on the cross, go to hell, steal the keys of death from Satan, and resurrect from the dead, breaking the chains that had us bound to our sins, and freeing us from the curse of death that we were under for eating the fruit. Jesus now tells us that if we eat of his flesh and drink of his blood (symbolic for eating from Tree of Life), then we would have eternal life and he would also raise us up at the last day (John 6:54). When we confess and repent from our sin, and believe in Jesus, we are washed in his blood and forgiven for our sins (Acts 2:38). When we are baptized in water as Jesus commanded, it symbolizes a pledge of a clear conscience towards God (1 Peter 3:21). Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. The old lifestyle has passed away, behold, all things become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Then after Jesus did his part, he went back to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, and sent down to earth, the third person of the trinity, The Holy Spirit of God, to finish the redeeming process that the Father had started. The Father made the plan for salvation, the Son carried it out by being the perfect sacrifice and dying for our sins (satisfying the wrath and judgment of the Father), so that whosoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Faith in Christ now makes one righteous. Not by any works of themselves, but by the grace of God, we are able to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).
And then, the Holy Spirit becomes the advocate (John 15:26-27), for those who do put their faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit will go to whom the Father sends him (the true believers), and he will not only be with that believer, but live inside of them as well (John 14:16-20). When the Holy Spirit comes inside of us, He will guarantee our inheritance into the kingdom, because we accepted the gospel of our salvation, the message of Christ. He will testify that we are sons of God, who have become adopted into sonship. We are now heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, gaining access to all of the things of God (Romans 8:14-17). The Holy Spirit will also reveal ALL knowledge of Truth to the believer (John 16: (which we were being blinded and deceived from, being that prior to accepting Christ, we were all children of the father of LIES, the devil).
The Holy Spirit is like a purifier. He sanctifies or cleanses us from within. He purges our heart from the evil in it. He will bring everything back to our memory and convict us of our sins, so we could know that we are living in error (John 16:7-15). He will baptize us with fire, or power (Acts 1:8), to be able to not only recognize, but also resist all works of the enemy (Luke 10:19), and truly be like God, by knowing evil, but not giving in to do evil. The Holy Spirit will pour love in us, (Romans 5:5) (which God is love), and with this love, we will be able to obey God’s commandments again (John 14:15). Not the commandments of the written law of stone, (which was only meant to show us our sins) but the new law, which is written on our hearts of flesh, love.
Once we die to our own foolish wisdom and die to our own will (which caused the physical and spiritual death/separation from God in the first place), once we realize we are sinners in need of God’s grace, then we can be granted grace for repentance, and then we could come to the tree of life, Jesus Christ. With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we will be filled with the likeness of God, which is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We can live with God for eternity with him in the holy city of New Jerusalem, which will be our dwelling place, a part of the new heaven and new earth God plans on creating, after he destroys once and for all (on Judgment Day), all the wickedness and evil that is present on earth at this current time (Revelation 20:1-8). Those who don’t accept Christ will, along with Satan and his demons, burn in hell for all eternity, while we, if we endure to the end, will make it to heaven (Matthew 25:31-46), and will we be made in the image and complete likeness of God!