The Image of God and The Likeness of God

The Lord has created and formed within us two vessels and dwellings for himself called volition and discernment. Volition is for his divine love and discernment for his divine wisdom. I have already discussed the divine love and wisdom of God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity, and I have discussed the creation of the universe. Now I need to say something about our own creation. We read that we were created in the image of God and according to his likeness (Genesis 1:26). In this passage “the image of God” means divine wisdom and “the likeness of God” means divine love, since wisdom is nothing more than the image of love. Love actually presents itself to view and to recognition in wisdom, and since that is where we see and recognize it, wisdom is its image. Then too, love is the reality of life and wisdom is its consequent manifestation. This “image and likeness” of God is strikingly visible in angels. Love shining from within is in their faces and wisdom in their beauty, with beauty as the form of their love. I have seen this, and I have come to know it.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 358

Genesis 1:27 and Its Inner Meaning

And God created the human in his image; in God’s image he created them. Male and female he created them. — Genesis 1:27

Image comes up twice in this verse because faith, which belongs to the intellect, is called his image, but love, which belongs to the will, is called God’s image. Love comes second in the spiritual person but first in the heavenly person.

Male and female he created them. The inner meaning of male and female was very familiar to the earliest church, although their successors lost touch with this secret when they lost sight of any deeper import to the Word.

These earliest people found their greatest happiness and pleasure in marriage. Whenever they could possibly draw a comparison between something else and marriage, they did so, in order to perceive the happiness of marriage in that other entity. Being people of depth, they enjoyed only the deeper aspects of things. External objects were just for looking at; their thoughts were occupied instead with the things those objects represented. External objects, then, were nothing to them, serving only as a springboard for reflection on inner realities, and these for contemplation of heavenly realities and so of the Lord, who was everything to them. The same process caused them to reflect on the heavenly marriage, which they could tell was the source of the happiness in their own marriages.

As a result, they called the intellect in the spiritual being male and the will there female; and when the two worked together, they called it a marriage.

That religion initiated the practice, which became quite common, of calling the church Daughter or Virgin (as in “the Virgin Zion,” “the Virgin Jerusalem”) and also Wife, on account of its desire for good. For more on this, see the treatment of Genesis 2:24 and 3:15.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 53-54