Image of God

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Image of God Position Paper

__________________

A Paper

Presented to

Dr. Ware

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

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In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for 27070

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by

Josh Harbin

April 5, 2012

“On my honor, I have neither given nor taken improper assistance in completing this assignment.”
________________________________________________________________________Josh Harbin
Issue
For years theologians have sought to understand the image of God. The image of God is seen biblically as reserved only for humans and sets man apart from the rest of creation.[1] Several biblical passages indicate that humanity bears the image of God: Genesis 1:26-27 (the creation account); Genesis 5:1-3 (the transmission of the image of from Adam to his posterity); Genesis 9:6 (the doctrine of the image relative to homicide); Colossians 3:10 (the exhortation to the believer to put on the new man); and James 3:9 (the proper use of the tongue). In this paper I will review three prominent understandings of the image of God and I will present a defense of my own view.
Positions
There are three main positions that try to explain the way in which humans are created in the image of God: the substantive view, the relational view, and the functional view. The substantive (or structural) locates the image of God in the physical, mental, and spiritual characteristics of humankind. The relational view pinpoints the image of God in the experience of how humans relate to each other and to God. The functional view identifies the image of God not through being or experience, but rather by the things that humans do. Many famous biblical theologians throughout the years have held the substantive view, specifically the mental and spiritual nature of man being like God. An animal has a body and some characteristic of personality, but does not have reason to worship, pray, trust, and believe. This



Bibliography: Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics, III/1 Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1960. Cairns, David. The Image of God in Man, London: The Camelot Press Ltd., 1953. Clines D. J. A. “The Image of God in Man.” Tyndale Bulletin 19 (1968): 53-103. Erickson, J. Millard. ed, Arnold Husted. Introducing Christian Doctrine, Grand Rapids Michigan: Baker Book House, 2001. Gardoski, Kenneth M. “The Imago Dei Revisited.” Journal of Ministry and Theology 11.2 (2007): 5-37. Hoekema, Anthony A. Created in God’s Image Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eermans Publishing Company, 1986. [2] Anthony A. Hoekema, Created in God’s Image (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eermans Publishing Company, 1986), 35. [4] David Cairns, The Image of God in Man (London: The Camelot Press Ltd., 1953), 114. [7] D. J. A Clines, “The Image of God in Man,” Tyndale Bulletin 19 (1968): 58. [9] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, III/1 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1960), 195. [14] Kenneth M. Gardoski, “The Imago Dei Revisited,” Journal of Ministry and Theology 11.2 (2007): 5.

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