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The Conspiracy Against The Image of God – The Conspiracy Against You

Have you ever gotten punched in the face in a major area of life and wondered, “Where did that come from?”

Have you ever built positivity into your marriage and get smacked the next day in the same area?

Accomplish a big goal at work only to be followed by a big crisis?

Achieved a parenting win, only to be followed by an event the feels like you’ve gone backward?

You’re not alone.   

Around 49 years old, I began paying attention to the trends of these kinds of troubles in my life.

It was as if I had an invisible enemy that had an interest in me not making critical progress. Throw a punch, watch out for counter punch!    

Thinking about this problem, I looked outside my life and at the trend-lines of difficulties. I saw a certain type of constellation forming.  I traced the lines between them an almost perfect picture formed in both cases:

I was seeing a conspiracy.  A conspiracy against the very thing that makes all of us human.  All of these troubles, internal and external, traced back to scriptural core components that we all have in common as God’s creation.

It’s a conspiracy against the Image of God.

If you follow along, I’ll show you the core elements of a conspiracy (while avoiding conspiracy theories), how I uncovered the conspiracy, and what I did to defuse and counter it in my own life.

What is A Conspiracy, Anyhow?

Let’s look at the fundamental elements of a conspiracy:

First: The Overthrow or Defacing of Power

Conspiracies plan to overthrow of power.  Successful conspiracies deface or reverse of power structures, depending on the overall goal.  Someone has power, and someone else seeks to distort, disturb, or even subjugate that power.  

The second piece of a conspiracy is its hiddenness:

In order for a conspiracy to work, it must have a hidden quality that operates under the radar.  This not does not mean it’s never detected. It means that if you fall asleep to certain factors, if your perception is dulled to certain features, you can miss the attack and it will work against you and likely to succeed.  (This factor makes “conspiracy theories” so alluring to some people.  It’s so obvious to them, if everyone else could just see what they see.)

The third component of conspiracy is an orchestrated, traceable plan, despite its hidden qualities.

Conspiracies have a basic intention, and an ordered, logical structure with and end goal of disturbing those power structures.  

Why would there be a conspiracy against the Image of God?  

God’s means of governing the earth included placing His image in humans as delegate rulers with delegated power to increase, fill, and shape the earth so that it reflects more and more of who God is, His glory.

Who would be opposed to this?  Satan, the Adversary.  Here’s how this plot line started:

The Origins of Image of God and God’s Delegation of Power and Authority in the Earth

In the book of Genesis, God creates man and woman in His image:

"Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1.26–27 ESV

The basic functions of this image bearing task are ruling, producing, multiplying, and shaping resources:

And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. ----Genesis 1.26 ESV


And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it...

Genesis 1.28 ESV

These scriptures present deep archetypal assignments and patterns for us for everything important in life.  All we do, enjoy, work at, and relate to fall under the descriptions here.  

In every place we operate, we are to steward (rule) over those resources so that they thrive, do well, multiply.  We are to gather materials (subdue) shaping towards excellence in thriving.  Whenever we do this, we accurately reflect the glory of God.

Marrying?  Marry well, and help that person become the best version of themselves by serving, loving, and giving yourself (your time, your energy, your body) to them.   

Got a garden (job, area of influence)?  Tend that garden (job, area of influence, ministry, financial or physical resource) in a way that it produces more and more and richer and richer produce.  God says, “Garden your world.”

Spend, invest, give your money in a way that causes not only thriving, but multiplication (compounded stock dividends, anyone?)

Take your unique personality, talents, skills and use them to produce more good in the world. Serve and enrich others. Build systems that reproduce.

Own a business?  Operate that business in a way that causes it to thrive, to make more money, to serve customers so that their lives are better for interacting with your business.  

Having kids?  Raise” kids that reproduce physical, spiritual, and moral images, whose kids go on to do the same, even to the fourth generation.

Family, relationships, work, economics, even fun, play, and joy all fall under this stewardship in bearing the Image of God by doing these things well. Then, enjoy His blessings, and multiply these blessings by extending them to others.

By coming together with co-image bearers in creation (marriage) we create little ones in our image, just as God made us in His Image.  

The penultimate goal of all this multiplying and ruling:  God’s Image is spread everywhere, and God’s reputation (glory) is everywhere, and His glory fills the earth.  

Isn’t life good? Well, no, that’s not the reality we experience. In addition to our own stupidity gumming up this great plan…

…The Enemy hates this. He hates God’s glory (he wants glory for himself) and therefore he has conspired against it. Everything and anything he can do to pollute, stop, defile, dirty, and destroy is a point for him in his sick game. Here’s where it started.

The Origins of The Adversary’s Conspiracy Against the Image

The Devil shows up in the Genesis story to get everything off course, and he succeeds.  By tempting Adam and Eve, by conning them out of God’s will, (and by there immature cooperation) they eat of the tree of knowledge of Good and evil, everything in their life under stewarding, multiplying, shaping goes haywire. 

The Devil defaces God’s plan.  The broadcast of God’s Image is suspended and His glory is hidden.  

Here are the archetypal disruptions:

Adam and Eve’s relationship is affected:

Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you

Genesis 3.16 ESV

Jews (in Song of Solomon) and Christians (Paul in the book of Ephesians) understand marriage as a primary illustration of God’s relationship with his people.

A jacked-up marriage dirties the mirror that is supposed to reflect God’s relationship to His people. Genesis 3:16 reflects the disordering of what was a harmonious relationship into a bitter power struggle.   

Making kids (more image bearers) is affected:

I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.

Genesis 3.16 ESV

One of the primary purposes (but not only) of marriage is to make more image bearers.  The pain in childbirth is not only the physical pain of a woman’s labor, it is the joint parental pain of successfully raising children who walk in the Lord’s ways.  

Now that we’ve witnessed the defacing the key family relationships, we observe other structure affected:

Work itself:

Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.

Genesis 3.17–18 ESV

Work, labor, energy inputed into a system, an image bearing task mirroring God’s creation of the universe, becomes painful instead of pleasurable.  The shaping and multiplying of resources, meant to be fruitful, becomes difficult, less efficient, and even painful. It becomes both less effective and less efficient.  Work no longer produces an even return for effort.  (“thorns and thistles” instead of food).   

Have you ever set about to work, work all day, and secure only a 50% return on your efforts?  Ever go to work and end the day behind where you started, e.g. a -10% return?  

It’s not just work.  The very vitality and meaning of our lives is affected:

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3.19 ESV

Family relationships, work, and meaning removed, we become exiles, the entire sphere of our stewardship is removed from us:  Their sin displaces them from that land itself they ruled and multiply in:

Therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken

Genesis 3.23 ESV

These are they archetypal elements that the Enemy has successfully defaced.  Here’s how it plays out today.  (Hang in there, we will conclude with how to counter all this)

You will live, then turn into dust.  Life, under the worst of circumstances, and especially outside of God’s purposes, will degrade into a kind of meaninglessness.  Purpose and meaning will seem to evade us.  We will roll the rock up the hill, only to watch it roll down again and repeat it the next day.  

(At this point you can break into “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas: Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea / All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see / Dust in the wind / All we are is dust in the wind.)

Or read Ecclesiastes:

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?

Everything is empty apart from meaning.

Humans will suffer, apart from the Creator, the worst kind of life that can be lived, a life without purpose and meaning and direction. This is a major source of depression and even suicide.

Victor Frankl wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning:

“The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and become subject to mental and physical decay.”

The prisoners, like himself, could bear to live, survive, and even thrive to go on to full lives if they could find meaning in the face of their suffering.

The Adversary’s Conspiracy Against The Image Today

Now that we’ve seen the origins of human purpose and the archetypal conspiracy against it, we can now trace the elements we see in our lives.

As I looked at our world at large, these are the threads that unite in a constellation that makes sense as a conspiracy against the Image of God: 


If a baby in the womb has as its highest identity the image of God, kill this child before the even come into the world.  Common lies here include “why would I want to bring a child into this world in its current state?”  “It will inconvenience my life (e.g. it will not be good) by this child.  They will strain my resources”

But every child born is win for God, another person bearing His image, another person designed to turn the dial up on image bearers spreading His glory in the earth. 

The enemy has a extreme interest in taking these little ones out before they leave them womb. A baby aborted is one less image bearer to reveal God’s glory.   

Attack on Children

If he can’t get the image bearer killed in the womb, the enemy has a special delight for corrupting the innocence of children, both out of delight for destroying an good thing and ruining the otherwise good trajectory.  

This includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, corruption through media (consider the children’s shows that seek, under innocent cover, to corrupt children, sex trafficking, and misguided “education” efforts.  

By nature, children are still dependent image bearers, and thus easier to take advantage of.  Combine these with their innocence, and they become high value targets.

Attack on Sex and Sexuality, including pornography and sex trafficking

Sex is a beautiful gift from God that brings the two kinds of image bearers, male and female, together in an act that has multiple levels of meaning and purpose, including making more image bearers.  It also embodies intimate unity between the man and woman, pleasure as a gift from God.

Pornography manipulates and destroys sexual purpose.  Trafficking humans for sex wounds those trafficked as well as those who take on the criminal act. We have already talked about children, imagine the enemy’s delight in engaging what is universally considered one of the worst crimes, sex-trafficking children and youth.   

Individual Attack on Masculinity and Attack on Femininity, and Gender Confusion

One step away from gender confusion are the world’s parodies of femininity and masculinity.  

The confusion around what is male, female, and their core definitions, how each sex can or should thrive, has never been in more confusion in the west as it is now.  

This includes confusing children about their gender, as well as those who use “healthcare”  to carve them up to ruin their birth gender, and suppress or activate inappropriate hormones, defacing them for life.  

This attack can take on more insidious tones: Men who suffer “Nice Guy Syndrome,” women who suffer boss-babe delusions, media portrayals of “stupid men” and “bimbo” women, men’s redpill garbage and pickup game, etc.

I won’t cover the full spectrum (rainbow?) of the blurring of genders in this article, we can all begin to pick them out ourselves.


And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.  Acts 17:26

If the Bible is to be believed about our origin, then all of us descended from the same forefathers.  So you can enjoy your individual national ancestry, but never forget that what we have in common with one another (the Image of God) is greater than our national, cultural, and ethnic differences.  I believe we can be interdependent and celebrate those differences while living without conflict with the same forefathers.  

Racial tension, strife, abuse, enslavement, and murder all deface the Image.  The enemy loves to stoke our racial hate for one another.  

Enslavement, Entrapment, and Attacks on Human Autonomy.

From outright slavery to insidious control, the attack on the original design for kingship and queenship is everywhere.  

Enslavement exists in degrees and different contexts.

Capturing a human and enslaving them is the far end of the spectrum.  More insidious are the legal systems that enslave us through our own choices.  Jobs that remove all autonomy and treat you like a cog.  Onerous financial debt that creates more debt. “Cures” that tie you into an ongoing system rather than healing your problem (hello big Pharma).  Class systems that place some people higher or lower than others in fundamental personhood.    

We need to keep an eye out for everything from outright slavery to more insidious systems that trap people in debt or situations that limit individual honor and freedom. God desgined humans for interdependence, not as dependent creations ruling on behalf of the Creator.  

Systemic poverty, an area I have worked extensively in, is another example. Poverty is the alienation of a person from their God-given task to live a good life. The roots are both in personal choice as well as structures that seek to oppress and keep people in poverty.

Population Control

This is one that flies just under the surface of solving many other problems, based on the fear that we will “use up” all the earth’s resources at some future date, therefore we need to limit the number of people being born in certain contexts.  Hunger, environmental damage, etc.  

You’ll find an abundant number of “conspiracy theories” around population control (cue Bill Gates) which is far beyond this article.  

There are open advocates for limiting the number of people who are born for avoiding some other future resource problem and these are a ruse for limiting the image of God in the earth.  I have heard it said that the reverse is true; the more people who are born, the more resources there are, not the less.  I don’t know if it’s true or not, but our fundamental direction should be more humans, not less.  

A related area of attack:

Environment over man

A variation on population control.  The lie is that man is here to serve environment, even to the detriment of mankind.  That’s not the Biblical picture.  God made creation for man and woman to steward and enjoy.  

Many take the “steward” part to extremes of crippling people.  Stop eating meat!  Walk everywhere!  Never take a plan!  Never drill for oil!

Of course, we can swing the issue to far the other way where humans run roughshod over the environment, but this would also violate God’s command for the shaping and thriving of all of creation.    

Either way, watch for the elevation of environment over man instead of man’s natural stewardship of the environment.  

Human Language

Have you noticed the sharp increase in language police who have claimed you can’t use certain ordinary words because they offend some people?  As of this writing (January 2023) the University of Southern California has banned the use of the world ‘field’ like “field work” or “going into the field” because it’s too close to alluding to slavery.  

(Ask me another time about a guy who said a woman shouldn’t have a cotton plant in a vase as a decoration because it alludes to slaves picking cotton)

Language is essential tour image bearing task. (Adam was called to name the animals). Language is a means of communicating spiritual meaning, which is part of the shaping and mediating we as humans are called to exercise.  We will continue to see an increase of language police laying down language rules.  

Attack on true diversity/outcomes/meritocracy

A general Biblical principle is that you reap what you sow.  Each king and queen will see their kingdoms thrive or fail based on the quality of their rulership.  The world is great at feeding back to us how we are doing in life.  (I’m very familiar with how certain systems can enslave through not part of the individual.)

Watch for the clamor for equity of outcomes (everyone should experience the same level of reaping) more than equity of opportunities (systems should not oppress people from the opportunity to sow).  Even equity of opportunity can become such an obsession that it blurs personal responsibility.  Ironically, Those who obsess over equity of opportunity and outcomes often want to be the ones who rule over others, which itself violates the Image of God.  

Seeking to obliterate distinctions of outcomes, diversity, and rewards is an indicator of attack on the image.  

Four Steps for Countering the Attack

What should we do in light of this conspiracy? How can we thwart it not only in our own lives, but in our extended spheres of influence?

Understand the Image and It’s Purpose

The old wisdom says that when counterfeiters learn their trade, they don’t study fakes; they study the original.  The Image of God encapsulates both our identity and purpose.  The image of God is a functional calling.  It explains who we are, our purpose, and how to live the good life.  

Walter Bruggeman, and esteemed Old Testament scholar has said:

“And perhaps we have no more important theological investigation than to discern in whose image we have been made.

Read Genesis 1, 2 and 3.  Study the context, direction, and theology of the Image so you have a rich and poetic understanding of why God created men and women and understand the divine nature of our calling.  

Connect your individual calling and gifting back to these core ideas.  Teach them to your children.  Work at identifying them in larger culture.  Recognize those things that appear to inhibit the key areas of Image Bearing.  

The idea of working all this out yourself might daunt you, but I’m here to help.

Subscribe to my newsletter where I write on both the image of God and wisdom.  All for you, all for free.  Also....

Expose The Enemy’s attack

Once we understand our primal assignments from Genesis 1 and 2, we can spot when the enemy wants to throw a stick in our bike spokes.  To expose the Enemy's attack, I do not limit my understanding to mere human causes; I keep my eyes open to spiritual causes, i.e., the Adversary’s attack on thriving as an image bearer.    

Trouble in my marriage?  Trouble raising kids?  Get punched in the face out of nowhere on a key work issue?

In all these things, I started asking what they might have to do with my archetypal mission of bearing his image.  I then realized that part of uncovering these things is that they were not mere human problems, they had a spiritual root.  Paul said

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6.12 ESV

One classical mistake in life is to assume that everything, including the people involved, are the source of the problems in our conflicts.  Often, people themselves are not even the root issue.  In fact, they may not realize they are being used to thwart God’s activity in your life.  

Trace the issues back to their spiritual root.  After understanding God’s good design for your life and how the Enemy attacks it, you’ll be prepared to counter punch:

Counter:  Strategies for Defeating the Enemy

Paul follows his teaching on the spiritual nature of attack with spiritual tools for fighting the battle:

Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6.13–20 ESV

If the attack is spiritual, we need spiritual tools for countering it.  

Many of the tools we use will involve embodied words.  Words in prayer, words of scripture, words of out-loud declaration (such as Jesus did in his temptation in the wilderness). Soaking in and deeply understanding scriptures (we did some of that in step one), persistence and attention in prayer, proclamation of the King.  

But we also must use these tools to live a righteous life.  When we don’t live a righteous life, we do the enemy’s job for him.  

Jocko Willink (a former Navy Seal and well-known author and consultant) in his time serving in the military as a leader, became concerned about how the use of alcohol could impair effective fighting forces.  

He recounts his memo to those under his command concerning the use of alcohol while serving as fighters:

He said that if you go out and you drink, and because of that you do something stupid, or it causes you to get arrested or get yourself hurt, know that what you have done is you have done Al-Qaeda‘s job for them.

Many people do that very thing to themselves.  They’re fighting an enemy, and for recreation or whatever they go out and do something that helps the enemy win.  They “shoot themselves in the foot” instead of shooting at the enemy.  

Make every endeavor to live a righteous life.  Build in the strategic plans and disciplined habit executions so that you can build proactive structures for a good life.

Build Proactively

We conclude where we began.  Yes, we got punched in the face.  It showed us our weaknesses, and we countered and fought back.  After thwarting the attack and kicking the spiritual enemy in the face, kings return to building a little wiser.  

Every person should build their house around the archetypal purposes laid out in the image of God.  Every person should be in the business of gardening their world, building their house with eyes toward thriving, future attacks, and a legacy left to their children and their children’s children.  

There is no area of life this umbrella does not cover.  

Know your larger life missions, develop spiritual and physical resources.  The Creator made us to thrive, be fruitful.  Figure out how to govern your world through wisdom.  Live the “good” life as an image bearer.  

Repair your vulnerabilities and come out stronger:

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.  --Proverbs 25:28

The second axis I do most of my writing around is how to be wise, which is how to build a life that enjoys all the blessings that God intends for us to enjoy and extend to others.  It’s the key to deciding and acting in real time in the world.  We live in an age of piles of knowledge, but facts themselves have no application outside of wisdom.  


There is a conspiracy against the Image of God in the earth, and it includes an attack against you.

Fortunately, we can gain a greater understanding of our archetypal calling, expose the Enemy’s attack, counter, and proactively build and generate good lives. 

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