Preface: We can love God because we live in a universe where love can exist, and it can exist because the universe is moral. That morality is based, at least for us as created beings, on God’s moral law.
A person’s quest to perfect the image of God in him or herself can never succeed, for the degradation wrought by sin is beyond any human’s ability to fix (Jer. 17:9). It requires divine intervention, and the big question we face is how to fix this marred image.
The best place to begin in this process is to recognize, understand, and appreciate that we are desperately wicked sinners (Jer. 17:9). At best, our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). Only when we come to a realization of the shattered image of God in us will we be able to see the need for restoration. Ellen White says that “the Lord Jesus is making experiments on human hearts through the exhibition of His mercy and abundant grace. He is effecting transformations so amazing that Satan, with all his triumphant boasting, with all his confederacy of evil united against God and the laws of His government, stands viewing them as a fortress impregnable to his sophistries and delusions.”1
The restoration of the image of God in humankind requires re-creation, not merely a patching up (Ezek. 11:19; 36:26). In order to reflect fully the image of God, humanity must experience the change of heart that the prophet Ezekiel envisioned.
Renunciation of that which disfigures the image of God in humanity is the next step to take. When Adam and Eve where created, it was obedience that kept God’s image in them. This is not legalism, for obedience is simply faith taking God at His word. Diet is fundamental to the physiological make up of humankind. Therefore, a perverted diet is detrimental to a life of high quality in both the physical and spiritual reams. Ellen White states that a close connection exists between the physical and the moral nature.2
Obedience to God in our dietary behavior is fundamental to the restoration of God’s image in us; for we are what we eat and drink. A human being needs a clear, energetic mind in order to appreciate the exalted character of the truth. Good dietary practice will avail much in shaping our minds to be ennobled by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Eating and drinking and dressing all have a direct bearing upon our spiritual advancement, and therefore positive reform in this area will go a long way in maintaining the image of God in humankind.
In a nutshell, to restore the image of God in humanity, we need to realize the state from which we have fallen (Rom. 3:23), how desperate our situation has become (Jer. 17:9), and how we can do nothing good of our own (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 7:24). Then we can look for help from God.
1. Ellen G. White, God’s Amazing Grace, p. 222.
2. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 129.