The Image of God in Man: A Critique of True Humanity
Submitted to Dr. Graves
In Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the Course
The image of God in man is a doctrine that is fundamental to understanding the soteriological implications of humanity, which is best understood through the examination of Christ’s humanity with regards to various views held.
Table of Contents
THE IMAGE ITSELF 1
MAJOR VIEWS TO THE IMAGE OF GOD IN MAN 3
IMPLICATIONS TO THE IMAGE OF GOD IN MAN 5
THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST 8
CHRIST AS THE IMAGE OF GOD 12
BIBLIOGRAPHY ……………………………………………………………………………. 15
The image of God in man is a topic that has been discussed for centuries. This debate has lasted so long due to the fact that the Bible has very little specifics regarding what the image actually is. In the research proposed, one can begin to form a theology on this topic by looking specifically at what the image is, the major theological views of the image, the implications of the image of God in man, and the humanity of Christ himself. The humanity of Christ however, is an extremely important topic when discovering what true humanity really is, since Christ came incarnate to live as an example for all of humankind. The Image Itself
When one looks closely at the Bible it is discovered that the Image of God in man is never thoroughly discussed. No one really knows why, but since the Bible is fully inspired by God according to 2 Timothy 3:16, God apparently wanted it to be a mystery. The Bible does speak of the image quite often though. First of all, Genesis 1:25 is the first mention of the image. In this verse, God is set forth as personal, rational, creative, competent, and morally good. This implies that the image of God in man will include all of these attributes because in Genesis 1:26-27 it states that man was created in the “image” and “likeness” of God. This does not however mean that all of God’s qualities belong to humankind as well. For example, God is infinite, meaning that God is unable to be limited. Humankind on the other hand is limited. No human being has the capability to be unlimited in time and space to be omnipresent. But some still ask, what is the “image” and “likeness” that the Bible actually speaks of? Some tend to think that the image is our actual physical image. Some think that the image is something humans do. However, Norman Shepherd explains it this way, “The biblical concept is not that the image is in man, but that man is the image of God.”
If the image is actually something man is, then a look at the original Hebrew is crucial. The Hebrew word for image is used sixteen times in the Old Testament. This word is rendered in the English as tselem. This word literally refers to a type of representation, or a likeness. This word is only used five times for man as being made in the image of God, but mostly it is used of idols in the Old Testament.
In the ancient world, the representation of an image was known through monarchs. Ancient kings would make statues of themselves to serve as idols when they conquered land territories. The representation was also present in depicting deities. Many religions would have an idol made in the image of their god, and it was believed that the god’s spirit actually indwelled the idol. With this in mind, one begins to see what the image is referring to.
Major Views of the Image of God in Man
The Substantive View
To further understand the image of God, it is necessary to mention the most common views held regarding the image of God. The most widely held position throughout history views the image of God as having some type of similarity between God and man being physical and spiritual, something natural to every...