“Egyptian and Assyrian myths have the gods tired of working to provide for themselves, so they create people to serve and feed them. In the Bible, though, God creates people to extend his glory throughout the world.

“Ancient kings, when they conquered new territory, often built temples and put images of themselves in the temples to show their sovereignty over the new territory. Beale thinks Genesis pictures humans as in the ‘image of God’ because by inhabiting the earth they extend God’s temple and sovereignty everywhere.”


My current reading project is G. K. Beale’s The Temple and the Mission of the Church.

As the title suggests, Beale sees a link between the concept of the temple or sanctuary and the concept of mission.

He has laid the groundwork for this by saying that the Garden of Eden was the original sanctuary and that Adam’s role was that of a priest. Now he says that the command to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” and “subdue the earth” was a command to expand the sanctuary. The role of king and priest are one. So Adam and Eve become “vice-regents” with God in exercising dominion over creation.

God’s purpose was to make the earth habitable (Isaiah 45:18 and Psalm 115:15-16). So God wants to show his greatness throughout the earth by means of “his faithful image-bearers inhabiting the world in obedience to the divine mandate.”

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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