made in the image of God

Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Any Christian can cite the fact that man is made in the image of God, however asking those Christians what that exactly means will elicit a variety of responses. Some Christians loath the very concept that mankind is made in the image of God. Norman Geisler shows his loathing by mocking the concept. The title of one of his books is: “Creating God in the Image of Man”. In it he attempts to defend the classical Greek concept of god (immutable, timeless, static and dead).

However, letting Genesis 1:26-27 speak for itself, God creating mankind in “his image” seems radically different than what anyone will ever hear from a pastor. A couple chapters later in Genesis, a very similar statement occurs:

Gen 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

Both “likeness” and “image” are the exact same Hebrew words used in Gen 1:26. Both of them are very visual words, used elsewhere to talk about shapes, idols, and other physical forms. It is disingenuous then to claim that mankind is in the likeness of God only because of our intellectual capacity, as opposed to physical form. It is disingenuous to try to explain it away based on other understandings of God (that he is omnipresent or invisible). In that case, we are just assuming omnipresence or invisible is true, that it mirrors our understandings of those concepts, and that it precludes having form.

Is it that hard to believe we physically appear like God? After all, doesn’t a father who has a son want his son to resemble him? Genesis 1:26-27 is telling mankind that we are not God’s hamsters. We have value. God, when he looks at us, sees himself. We are made in the image of God.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
This entry was posted in Calvinism, God, Open Theism, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to made in the image of God

  1. Hunter Todd says:

    male and female created he them; not that man was created an hermaphrodite, or with two bodies, back to back united together, and afterwards cleaved asunder, as the Jews fabulously say; but first God made man, or the male, out of the dust of the earth, and infused a rational soul into him; and then out of one of his ribs made a female, or woman, who was presented to him as his wife, that so their species might be propagated; and only one male and one female were created, to show that hereafter a man was to have at a time no more wives than one; see Malachi 2:15 for all that is said in the following chapter, concerning the formation of man out of the dust of the earth, and the making of woman out of his rib, and presenting her to him, and his taking her to be his wife, were all done on this sixth day, and at this time. It is a tradition among the Heathens, that man was made last of all the creatures; so says Plato (k); and this notion the Chinese also have (l). The Jews give these reasons why man was made on the evening of the sabbath, to show that he did not assist in the work of creation; and that if he was elated in his mind, it might be told him that a fly was created before him, and that he might immediately enter on the command, i.e. of the sabbath (m).

  2. Pingback: genesis introduces man to God | reality is not optional

  3. Pingback: paul contradicts the idolaters | reality is not optional

  4. The long standing debate of what it means to be made in the image of God has eluded many, even the most prominent in the Christian culture. This is why after 27 years of research and study, God led me to write “Made in the Image of God: Understanding the Nature of God and Mankind in a Changing World.” The key to understanding this issue is to understand there is a difference between God’s” Image” and God’s “Likeness” as found in Genesis 1:26, 27. God’s likeness is a metaphysical issue; it represents our ability to have intellect, emotion, and will power just like God does. We can think, reason, and make choices based on those abilities – just like God. Only we are limited in those capacities – unlike God. Being in God’s image is a moral issue. God is holy, righteous, and good. Since humankind’s fall into sin as found in Genesis 3, mankind can no longer display such attributes as a reflector of God’s character image. In the end, sin never altered humanities likeness of God; but his image has been lost. Can God’s image be restored? Yes! And my book explains how this all works.

  5. Tom Torbeyns says:

    It seems to me that the Book of Genesis seems to represent God more as a localized Person, fixed in one space, as opposed to later developments in the Holy Bible. :-)

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