IMAGES OF THE SPIRIT, by Meredith G. Kline

Published on June 3, 2021 by Steve West

Wipf & Stock, 1980 | 142 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

By Steve West

About the Author

Meredith Kline was an Old Testament professor at Westminster Theological Seminary. His books and articles were highly influential in Old Testament studies.


Images of the Spirit is an exegetical, biblical, and theological exploration of the links between the Glory-Spirit, the imago Dei, Christ, priests, prophets, and more. Kline examines how God reveals himself in Glory, and how this glory is placed upon others as a divine investiture. He covers a variety of texts and topics, but always with an eye to establishing his central theses.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Glory-Spirit and His Human Image
Chapter 2: A Priestly Model of the Image of God
Chapter 3: A Prophetic Model of the Image of God
Chapter 4: The Spirit-Presence and His Parousia-Day


Chapter 1: The Glory-Spirit and His Human Image

To understand the nature of human beings, we must do more than consider the meaning of the imago Dei. Exegetical work in Genesis reveals that God’s glory was manifest at creation, and it is this theophany that is in view when human beings are said to be created in God’s image. The verb in Genesis 1:2b (“hovering”) is only found in one other place in the Pentateuch—Deut. 32:11 where God is depicted as hovering like a protective bird over his people, leading them through the wilderness. Deut. 32:10 uses the word tohu which is found in Gen. 1:2a. This vocabulary shows that the creation presence of God is parallel with the exodus presence of God.

In the latter, God led his people in the divine cloud of glory which was outstretched before them. The Spirit of God is identified with the Glory-cloud in different places in the OT, and so the Gen. 1:2 reference to the Spirit can be taken as the Glory-cloud theophany. God is one, and Hebrews 1 states that the Son is the maker of everything, and that he is the glory of God and the very image of God. The Son and Spirit are identified together in the Trinity. It is through the Spirit-Glory that heaven is revealed to earth in Gen. 1. The cloud theophany reveals God’s majesty and reign, as well as his light. Throughout Scripture, we find collocations of Spirit, water, creation, glory, and the Son.

It is the Glory-cloud that is archetypal. When God creates the world, he patterns it after his glory (thus the heavens declare the glory of God because they are modeled upon it). The earth and cosmos are patterned after God’s own glory temple. As a result, when Gen. 1:27 says that human beings are made in the image of God, this is not a statement out of the blue: it is a statement for which we have been prepared by Gen. 1:2 and the rest of the creation narrative.

Furthermore, Gen. 2:7 reveals that human beings are living and animated by the Spirit. Ezekiel 37 and Luke 1:35 forge the connection between God’s Spirit and life (the latter text in the special work of generating the incarnate Christ). It is the Son who provides the pattern for human beings. Revelation depicts Christ as the Glory-image and shows how he is conforming his people into his image.

As in the creation in Genesis, Revelation ends with the divine Glory making a new creation. The New Jerusalem is the holy of holies, filled with God’s glory. The central ideas of God’s glory are found in the contexts in which the image of God is discussed in the Scriptures. Human beings know good and evil, make judgments, and exercise a royal, ruling function. Christ brings the redeemed into conformity to his image. As the bearers of the glory-image of God, human beings have functional duties, form (physical bodies), and ethical responsibilities. In Christ, people are led to increasing levels of glory. . . .

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IMAGES OF THE SPIRIT, by Meredith G. Kline

Wipf & Stock, 1980 | 142 pages

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