An Argument that Man is Made in the Image of God
In this paper, I seek to prove that Man is made in the image of God philosophically, given that God is the creator of the universe and that there are no other created beings in the universe other than those found on earth. I shall do this by proving that God displays and has certain noble and noteworthy features, and show how Man is unique in all creation in that we exemplify and reflect those features. These features that I will explore are that God and Man are intelligent, have free will, love, are relational beings, create out of love and understanding, and have dominion over other beings. In proving these features, I will be satisfied to conclude that in this limited sense Man is Imago Dei.
That God and Man are Intelligent
In order to prove that God is intelligent, I appeal to Saint Aquinas’ argument that all intelligent causes are caused by something intelligent, and God is the first cause of all things. Since there are many intelligent created beings found on earth, namely Man, God who created all these beings has to be intelligent. Also, the measure of how perfect a thing is by how far away it is from non-perfection. Since God has being in its totality, all non-being is removed from Him. All things imperfect must be caused by something perfect, therefore the first cause (God) must be most perfect. Since intelligence is a form of perfection, God is perfectly intelligent or perfect in understanding.
It is hardly contestable that Man is more intelligent than other created beings on earth, seeing how Man is the only animal that is able to create complex tools like machines and erect buildings made from complex materials. Therefore in this aspect, Man is far more the image of God than any other created being.
That God and Man Have Free Will
It will be fitting to use Plato’s discussion on the three parts of the soul to illustrate that Man has free will. Using the thought experiment of a thirsty man to illustrate this, a thirsty man naturally desires to drink water such that he may preserve himself. Yet if something holds the thirsty man back from drinking the water, such as the knowledge that the water is poisonous for example, the desire not to drink the water has to be caused by some other part of the man other than that which causes his thirst because the same part of the man cannot in the same relation do opposite things. This part of the man that holds the thirsty man back from drinking has to be the reasoning part within the man. The first part of the man with which he “loves and hungers and thirsts and flutters round the other desires, and is the companion of various indulgences and pleasures”, Plato calls the irrational and desiring part. The second reasoning part, Plato calls the rational part. A third part that Plato calls the spirit is that by which humans feel indignant. One may contest that this third part is one and the same as the first. To illustrate the difference, the example of a man looking at dead bodies lying near the executioner was used. In this case, the man may feel a desire to look at the bodies, but at the same time feel disgust at the thought of them having been executed. Since the same part of the man cannot in the same relation do opposite things, the part of the man which feels disgust and that which feels a desire to look at the bodies differs. Instinctively, one would also know that the part which feels indignant must differ from the second rational part which is not responsible for emotion.
It can be derived form this discussion that the second part of the man refers to the rational will of Man, which is arises from his superior intelligence, otherwise called the free will of Man by this author. Since free will arises out of intelligence, God must also have free will since He is infinitely intelligent. Therefore in this way, Man is made in the image of God.
That God and Man Love
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