Genesis says we were made in God's image. But we are also sinners? In what way do we resemble God?
In Genesis 1 we read:
Remember God did not create man in his sinful condition. Man was created without sin but became sinful after Adam disobeyed, therefore Adam’s sin marred mankind. This makes our present condition not reflective of our original state prior to sin; in the image of God. The Godhead (i.e., “Us”) declares that Man will be made in the “image” and “likeness” of God. In the original Hebrew, the word translated image is tselem, which means a depiction or representation of something. For example, the same word is used in this passage referring to a drawing:
The word translated “images” in Ezekiel 23:14 is the same Hebrew word as the one used in Genesis 1:26. Notice in the Ezekiel passage that the word was used to describe a drawing or painting on a wall. Drawings are two-dimensional representations of real-life objects, and obviously that depiction were merely reminiscent of the real-life objects they portrayed. A drawing on the wall would never be mistaken for the real object it represents. The drawing and its subject are very different from one another.
So, when Genesis says we were created in the image of God, it isn’t saying we are a carbon copy of God or a clone, etc. We are very, very different than God. Nevertheless, we were created to reflective aspects of God, in ways that set us apart from the rest of Creation (which is not made in His image).
Then in what way(s) do we resemble God? Do we mirror His physical form? As you pointed out, we know this can’t be true, because God has no physical form, as scripture says:
As scripture testifies, God the Father and God the Spirit are all spirit, and therefore He has no physical form. In fact, the Son became flesh so that men could see God in physical form:
Ironically, the Bible says we were created in the likeness of an invisible God, and it says that the invisible God sent His Son in our likeness (i.e., in human flesh) so that we could see Him.
Therefore, we must conclude we are created in the likeness of God in terms of sharing aspects of God’s character, nature and personality. We have the capacity to love and hate, to obey and to reason. We have the ability to worship Him and know Him in ways nothing else in His creation can equal. Therefore, we are made in His likeness in these ways, not in terms of His appearance (for He has no physical appearance).
For more detail on how we reflect the image of God, please listen to our Genesis study, particularly Lesson 1D.