Adam was created in the image of God, but he was only a type of the one who is the image of God – Jesus. He is the true image of the invisible God. The Father’s Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being. In him the invisible God is made visible. In Jesus, we can now see what God is actually like.
Jesus is also the true human image. There are all sorts of ways that we may define humanity. But true humanity is defined in just one way-Jesus. He is the human. So Jesus is the true divine image as the true human image. For he is the One who is both authentically divine and authentically human.
We are called to imitate Jesus so that we become like him and image him in the world. Does that mean we simply observe and imitate isolated from him through our own efforts? That would be anything but good news! It would simply throw us back on ourselves and our own powers of accurate observation and perfect imitation. We would know nothing at all of the life-giving communion with God that enables us to image Him as we are transformed into Jesus’ likeness.
We are in union with Jesus for he lives in us as we live in him. And within this living union he encounters us personally in the Spirit so that we gaze on his glory. In this living encounter we are transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory. Only in this way do we imitate him so that we image him to the glory of His Father.