Bibliotheca Sacra 129 (1972) 235-46.
Copyright © 1972 by
The Image of God
Charles Lee Feinberg
It is true beyond cavil or dispute that the focus of interest today
is upon man, his life, his actions, his feelings, his struggles, and
his potentialities.1 In fact, some theologians have so occupied them-
selves with the study of man, that they have left little or no time
for a discussion of supernatural themes, an interesting reversal of
the emphasis manifest in theological realms in the Middle Ages.
Zabriskie has correctly stated: "At no time in the history of the-
ology has the doctrine of the imago Dei had a more challenging
pastoral relevance or more provocative theological implications
than it does within the current of contemporary theology."2 Carl
F. H. Henry acquiesces in the significance of the subject. After
asking in what way man reflects God, since he is the resemblance
of God, he presses the questions: "What of the vitiating effects
of his fall into sin? Is the NT concept of the imago in conflict with
the OT conception? Is it in conflict with itself? These questions
are among those most energetically debated by contemporary the-
ology."3 The heated discussions and debates which have gone on
relative to the image of God reveal somewhat the weighty char-
acter of the subject.4 One has only to delve into the almost intermin-
able battle on the doctrine of the imago Dei to realize before long
1 G. C. Berkouwer, Man: The Image of God (Grand Rapids, 1962), p. 12.
2 Stewart C. Zabriskie, "A Critical View of Karl Barth's Approach to the
Christian Doctrine of the Imago Dei," Anglican Theological Review, XLVII
(October, 1965), 359.
Carl F. H. Henry, "Man," Baker's
Dictionary of Theology, ed. by
F. Harrison and Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, 1960), p. 339.
4 Berkouwer, p. 35.
236 / Bibliotheca Sacra - July 1972
how complex and at times abstruse the factors are. Moreover, the
biblical doctrine has wide ramifications that touch every area of
theology with the possible exceptions of bibliology and ecclesiol-
ogy. The doctrines of God, angels, man (the fall, sin), salvation
(atonement, sanctification), and future things (glorification, resur-
rection) are directly involved.5 The concept of the image of God, im-
plied or expressed, underlies all revelation.6 Thus it is not too much to
maintain that a correct understanding of the image of God in man
can hardly be overemphasized. The position taken here determines
every area of doctrinal declaration. Not only is theology involved,
but reason, law, and civilization as a whole, whether it views re-
generate or unsaved humanity from its origin to eternity.7
Any treatment of this vital theme must address itself to three
basic questions: (1) In what specifically does the image of God
consist? (2) What effect did sin and the fall of man have on this
image? (3) What results accrued to the image of sinful man because
of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ?8
Relevant passages on man as the image of God are Genesis
1:26-27 (the creation account); 5:1, 3 (the transmission of the
image from Adam to his posterity); 9:6 (the doctrine of the image
relative to homicide); 1 Corinthians 11:7 (discussion of headship
in the family); Colossians 3:10 (exhortations to the believer to put
on the new man); and James 3:9 (treatment of the proper use
of the tongue). Psalm 8 does not contain the words "image of God,"
but the passage deals in poetic form with the creation of man and
the area of his dominion.9 Cf. also Heb. 2:6-8. The only method for
arriving at a correct solution of the problems related to the image
of God is to carry through a careful and accurate exegesis of the
Scripture passages involved.
Exegesis is possible only by beginning at the lexical gate of
cal Theological Society, XII (Fall, 1969), 215. Wrote James Orr, "It is not
too much to say that every crucial question in theology, almost, is already
settled in principle in any thorough-going discussion of the divine attributes"
(cf. James Orr, God's Image in Man [New York, 1906], p. 7).
6 James Orr, "God, Image of," The International Standard Bible Encyclo-
paedia, ed by James Orr, et al., II (1929), 1264.
7 Henry, p. 339.
8 Berkouwer, p. 66.
9 Cf. also Heb. 2:6-8, which is based on Ps. 8; 1:3 (underscoring the deity
of Christ); Acts 17:26-29 (Paul's address to the Athenians on Mar's Hill).
Psalm 51:6; Rom. 1:23; and 2:15 have important implications for the doc-
trine now considered.
The Image of God / 237
the words used. Genesis 1:26, 27 employs the Hebrew words tselem
and demuth (lit. image and likeness). The New Testament equiva-
lents lents are eikon and homoiosis. Words, in addition to these, are
apaugasma and charakter (both in Heb. 1:3). The words of Genesis
1:26 appear in the Vulgate as imago and similitudo. The use of two
words in the original passage has occasioned a strange spate of
interpretations in the history of theology. The employment of two
nouns has been seen as teaching two aspects of the image of God.
One is said to denote man's essence, which is unchangeable, whereas
the other is held to teach the changing part of man. Thus the first
use of image relates to the very essence of man, while the likeness
is that which may be lost. This distinction came to be a continuous
element in theological anthropology.10 A careful study of Genesis
1:26-27; 5:1, 3; and 9:6 will show beyond question that it is im-
possible to avoid the conclusion that the two Hebrew terms are
not referring to two different entities. In short, use reveals the words
are used interchangeably. The Greek and Latin Fathers distinguished
between tselem and demuth, the first referring to the physical and
the latter to the ethical part of the divine image. The words, how-
ever, are used synonymously, the second emphasizing the first.
Irenaeus (A.D. 130 - ca. 200) made a distinction between “image”
and "likeness." The first was said to refer to man's freedom and
reason and the last to the gift of supernatural communion with God
(still the official view of the Roman Church). Genesis 5:1 and 9:6
will not support such a difference in meaning.11
What is the reason for the wide differences on the subject?
Laidlaw's explanation is correct: "Although thus definite and signi-
cant, however, the phrase [image of God] is not explicit. . . . This
10 Berkouwer, p. 43. Today this distinction is held to, be invalid. A
naturalistic view holds that man was created only in God's image, but
gradually evolved into God's likeness. Many have affirmed that the image
was basic, to which was added the likeness, called donum superadditum.
Origen held that Genesis speaks of man's creation in the image, but can
obtain the likeness by works. The Church Fathers made a distinction be-
tween image and likeness, but Luther and Calvin refused to follow this tradi-
tion. Consensus today rejects a differentiation on both exegetical and theolo-
11 Cf. R. G. Crawford, "The Image of God," Expository Times, LXXVII
(May, 1966), 233-36. See the position of the Eastern Church, Edo Oster-
"Anthropology," The Encyclopedia of the
Julius Bodensieck, 1 (1965), 83. For the view that the image speaks of the
physical and the likeness to the ethical part of man, see J. I. Marais, "An-
thropology," The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, ed. by James
Orr, et al., 1 (1929), 145.
238 / Bibliotheca Sacra - July 1972
is why the doctrine of the Divine Image in man has been a topic
so fruitful of differences in theology."12 Many have expressed their
desire that the Scriptures had given a clear definition of the image
and what it denotes. After all, what is the image of God? The bibli-
cal data furnish no systematic theory of the subject, no clue as to
what is implied.13
Much light may be shed on the doctrine of the image of God
if attention is directed to the unique setting of the creation of man
in the Genesis account. All exegetes are agreed that the climax of
creation is reached in Genesis 1:26. Even evolutionary theories must
agree with the truth of Scripture that man is the apex of all creation.
Man's creation by God comes as the last and highest phase of
God's creative activity. To highlight this event the wording is
entirely altered. To this point the simple, forceful statement was
"God said, Let there be . . ." Now there is counsel or deliberation
in the Godhead. No others can be included here, such an angels,
for none has been even intimated thus far in the narrative. Thus
the creation of man took place, not by a word alone, but as the
result of a divine decree.
Another distinguishing feature in the creation of man is his
special nature. Although man is related on the physical side of
his existence with material nature, so that physiologically he shares
with lower organisms, yet he is far superior to all natural creatures,
combining in himself certain immaterial elements never duplicated
in the lower creation. Orr states it succinctly: "The true unique-
ness in man's formation, however, is expressed by the act of the
divine inbreathing, answering somewhat to the bara of the previous
account. This is an act peculiar to the creation of man; no similar
statement is made about the animals. The breath of Jehovah
imparts to man the life which is his own, and awakens him to con-
scions possession of it."14
A third distinctive factor in man's creation is his special domin-
ion. None of the lower animals had power or dominion delegated
to it. Man on earth was meant in a measure to reflect the dominion
of his Creator over lower creatures. Concerning this dominion more
will be discussed below. In sum, the creation of man is clearly
separated and delineated by a special counsel and decision in the
12 J. Laidlaw, "Image," A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. by James Hastings,
II (1899), 452.
13 Berkouwer, p. 69.
14 Orr, God's Image in Man, pp. 41, 46.
The Image of God / 239
Godhead, marked off by a special nature (in the likeness and image
of God), and characterized by a special dominion and sovereignty.
Coming to the heart of the matter, one is still faced with the
perplexing questions: In what does the image consist? What is in-
cluded? What is excluded? What factors may have a detrimental
or beneficial influence on the image? How is Christ Himself related
to this whole question, since the New Testament designates Him as
the Image of God also? Is any viable option possible in a field so
thoroughly traversed and so warmly debated for centuries by both
Jews and Christians, theologians and naturalists, humanists and be-
lievers? The mind of the reader must, first of all, be disabused of
the illusion that there has been unanimity in any camp, or that
there has been an unbroken continuum of view in any school. Ac-
tually, Jewish authorities have differed widely on the subject; the
rabbis of the Talmud, the medieval philosophers in Judaism, the
later Jewish mystics, and modern liberal Jewish opinion span a wide
spectrum of views. Christian interpreters have been no less diverse
in their positions. Scientists, humanists, sociologists, psychologists,
and psychiatrists of all shades of belief and unbelief have espoused
varying viewpoints according to their reasoning and predilection.15
Many have seen the meaning of the image in man's dominion
over nature with the corollary concepts of endowment with reason
and upright stature. They point out that Genesis 1:26 unmistakably
affirms man's dominion in the immediate context where image is
found. Thus it is reasoned, the image consists in man's lordship
over lower creation about him, which is meant by God to be sub-
ject to man. It is more correct to declare that the image is the
basis or foundation for the dominion. Psalm 8:6-7 does not sub
stantiate the view that image equals dominion. Man as a free being,
regardless of how he uses this freedom, is said to reflect the sov-
ereignty residing in God.16
Could the image consist in man's immortality? Jamieson answers
in the negative: "And in what did this image of God consist? Not
in the erect form or features of man; not in his intellect--for the
devil and his angels are in this respect far superior; not in his im-
15 A. Altmann, "Homo Imago Dei in Jewish and Christian Theology,"
Journal of Religion, XLVIII (July, 1968), 235.
16 Erdman Harris, God's Image and Man's Imagination (New York, 1959),
p. 199. Of course, this is not meant to remove the distinction between God
and man, but rather to assert the unique status of man in comparison with
all other creatures; cf. Berkouwer, p. 70.
240 / Bibliotheca Sacra - July 1972
mortality--for he has not, like God, a past as well as a future
eternity of being; but in the moral dispositions of his soul, commonly
called original righteousness . . . ."17
Some have espoused the view that the image of God in man
consists in his corporeality. It would appear that this position is
not difficult of refutation, for God is Spirit and has no human form
and man's form has no divine likeness.18 Smith, on the other hand,
feels man's body is after God's image insofar as it is the means
whereby man exercises his dominion, and surely dominion is an
attribute of God, seeing He is the absolute and final Lord. For this
reason man's body is erect, being endowed as well with speech in
order to issue words of command.19
If corporeality has had its advocates as an explanation of the
meaning of the image of God, non-corporeality has an even greater
number of protagonists. Gordon H. Clark shows how the image
and likeness cannot be man's body, for (1) God is spirit and has
no body, and (2) animals have bodies but are not in the image
of God.20 Adam Clarke, the noted commentator among the Metho-
17 Robert Jamieson, Genesis - Deuteronomy, Vol. I of A Commentary,
Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, by
Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown (
n.d.), p. 8. It is interesting that Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion
i. 15. 4), expounding Ephesians and Colossians, stresses the righteousness
of the new creation, thus interpreting the Old Testament by the New.
18 Gerhard Kittel, "ei]kw<n," Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,
ed. by Gerhard Kittel
and trans. by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, II (
19 R. Payne Smith, "Genesis," A Bible Commentary for Bible Stu-
dents, ed. by Charles John
Skinner is surely more correct when, admitting that the image qualifies man
for dominion, he affirms that such rule is a consequence, and not the essence
of the image of God (John Skinner, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary
on Genesis, The International Critical Commentary, ed. by Samuel Rolles
Alfred Plummer, and Charles Augustus Briggs [
p. 32). Mauser has recently presented a rather novel approach to the ques-
tion, when, discussing the position of Hempel, he speaks of an anthropomor-
phous God answering to a theomorphous man. His article may be summarized
thus: "In the book of Hosea the prophet of
ably ably theomorphic fashion in that his life story as a man becomes, at least
partially a representation of God by participation in God's condition. Human
life is consequently understood as an image of God which in turn presupposes
a concept of the divine in which Yahweh is so essentially God for and with
Incarnation," Interpretation, XXIV [July, 1970], 336-56, esp. 336 and 342).
The introduction into the discussion of so many tertium quids can only serve
to confuse the issue.
The Image of God / 241
dists, holds that the image must be the intellect and the mind, not
a corporeal image. The mind and soul were certainly, according
to Clarke's reasoning, created after the perfections of God. His
emphasis is: "God was now producing a spirit, and a spirit, too,
formed after the perfections of his [that is, God's] nature."21 Keil
and Delitzsch find the image of God in the spiritual or self-conscious
personality of man. Therein exists a creature copy of the holiness
of the life of God.22 Since God is incorporeal, reasons Chafer, the
likeness of man to God must be limited to the immaterial part of man.
Man's personality and self-consciousness, then, are the vantage point
from which the personality of God is to be studied.23 Calvin forth-
rightly affirms that ". . . there is no doubt that the proper seat of
his image is in the soul." The image of God is explicable only on
the basis of the spiritual. The view that man is the image corp-
oreally is "repugnant to reason," because it would have Christ speak-
ing in Genesis 1:26 of Himself as the image of Himself.24
At this point it may be well to ascertain how the image concept
fared through successive centuries and among Jews and Christians
to the present time. The rabbis manifested a reluctance to define
precisely the phrase "image of God." This is unmistakable in the
Aramaic translations of the Pentateuch. Radical anti-anthropomor-
phism is seen in numerous ways.25 The rabbis of the Mishnah em-
braced braced the image of God concept in the Philonic and Platonic sense,
and utilized the idea for rabbinical enactments. For instance, the
image was to remind men of the dignity of each person; it argued
against celibacy; it underscored man's-beauty and original androgyn-
ous nature; and it led to much speculation concerning the Adam
Qadmon (The Primordial Man or Urmensch).26 The rabbis made
21 Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments
22 C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, The Pentateuch, Vol. I of Biblical Commen-
tary on the Old Testament, trans. by James Martin (
23 Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology (
24 Calvin Institutes i. 15. 3. He concludes: "I retain the principle ... that
the image of God includes all the excellence in which the nature of man
surpasses all the other species of animals" (ibid.). Zenos concurs in under-
standing the image to be that which relates man to God, namely, his per-
sonality (cf. Andrew C. Zenos, "Man, Doctrine of," A Standard Bible Dic-
tionary, ed. by Melancthon W. Jacobus, et al. (1909), pp. 512-13.
25 Altmann, pp. 235-39. In vivid contrast to the Aramaic versions are the
Greek, which, apart from Symmachus, translated the text literally (cf.
ibid., p. 240).
26 Ibid., pp. 243-44.
242 / Bibliotheca Sacra - July 1972
much of man's ability to think, create, and be aware of God. He
is capable, not only of communing with God, but in later rabbinic
literature he is designated as a "partner" of God the Creator.27
Medieval Jewish theologians generally followed Philo's view,
replacing his Logos with Plotinus' Intellect (Nous) or Aristotle's
Active Intellect. Man's superiority over lower creation resided in
his rational soul or intellect. The summum bonum for man was
to achieve through the exercise of reason a union of his intellect
with God or with the Active Intellect. Maimonides subscribed to
this interpretation of the biblical terms, and it became standard
for Jewish exegesis and philosophy.28
Early in Christian interpretation the Pauline concept of Christ
as the image of God (Col. 1:15; see also Phil. 2:6 for the form of
God) was made determinative for an understanding of the full im-
port of man in the image of God. The appellation of Jesus Christ
as the image of God related to a number of concepts, namely, the
eschatological idea of "Son of man," the Pauline phrase, "last Adam"
(1 Cor. 15:45), and the exhortation to put on the "new man" (Col.
3:9, 10).29 Before entering into a fuller consideration of Christ as
the image of God, it may be helpful to continue the historical ob-
servations on the doctrine of the image through the Reformation
era. Luther attacked Augustine's view that the image consists of
memory, understanding, and will. In this case even Satan could
be said to exhibit the image of God. Luther understood the image
as essentially man's response to God by loving and glorifying Him.30
Calvin, who has been referred to above, claimed man could be like
or resemble God only in the area of spiritual and rational attributes.31
Reformed theologians as a school subscribed to the position that
the image was knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.32
When one views the theological scene at the early twentieth
century, he is aware that religious liberalism is in its heyday. How
have liberals dealt with the problem under discussion? Enamored
Roth, XI (1971), 842-46, esp. 843.
Altmann, p. 254. The Jewish writer of
however, held that the image referred to man's rule as lord of the earth--
Gen. 1:28-30--reasoning from Elohim as "rulers," "judges" (ibid., p. 255).
29 Ibid., pp. 244-45.
30 Berkouwer, p. 57.
31 Ibid., p. 76.
88. See also Charles Hodge, Systematic
1871), II, 96 ff.
The Image of God / 243
of the Wellhausen
approach to the religion of
entire concept of the image of God as probably dependent on Baby-
lonian mythology. It was the intention of God, according to this
view, to make a man who looked like Him and the divine beings
in His retinue. Included were spiritual powers like power of thought,
communication, and self-transcendence, couched in concrete, rather
than abstract teiuns.33 Because this school was reluctant to take
the Genesis narrative in the literal sense, it felt itself comfortable
in the relational view, that is, the image consisted in man's relation
to God.34 This shifts the emphasis in the consideration from the
creation account to the redemption account of the New Testament.
Emil Brunner saw a double aspect of the image, the formal
phase which is unchangeable and cannot be affected by sin, and
the material image which was lost through the fall.35 Karl Barth
stressed the "I-thou" or "face-to-face" relation as in the divine life.
He originally denied that God had created man in His own image,
since He was "totally Other," but in later writings he admitted a
divine image in man.36 However, the central thrust of the image
of God for Barth is relationship. Man is God's partner in the cove-
nant of grace and a counterpart to God in creation.37 Carrying the
concept of the image to its eschatological conclusion, Barth places
it in the body of the resurrection. It is the oft quoted dictum of
Irenaeus: "His becoming what we are enables us to become what
he is." Thus the imago resides in the present hope of the resurrec-
tion of the body through Christ.38
The discussion must now turn to the consideration of Christ
as the image of God. Prominent passages are 2 Corinthians 4:4;
Colossians 1:15-17; and Hebrews 1:2, 3. When these citations are
carefully scrutinized, it will be seen from the context in each case
33 Walter Russell Bowie, "Exposition, The Book of Genesis," The Inter-
preter's Bible, ed. by George Arthur Buttrick, et
34 Crawford, p. 234.
35 Berkouwer, pp. 51-52.
the sexual distinction between man and woman.
he observes: "Since this distinction occurs in animals also, one wonders
how it can be the image that sets man apart from the lower creation. And
since there are no sexual distinctions in the Godhead, one wonders how
this can be an image of God at all" (ibid.).
37 Zabriskie, pp. 360-61. Barth, along with other Christian exegetes, is guilty
of reading New Testament doctrine into Old Testament citations, which is
an unhappy exegetical procedure.
38 Ibid., p. 376.
244 / Bibliotheca Sacra - July 1972
that the phraseology is dealing with Christ not so much as the in-
carnate Savior as the eternal Son. Reference is made to the specific
teaching of Christ's essential deity.39 A word of caution is in order
here: when the Scriptures represent man in the image of God, it
is of the Godhead, not of Christ exclusively. Because man, even
when redeemed and glorified, cannot be equated with God, his
image of God must necessarily be imperfect. Says Chereso: "This
is because man can never achieve equality or identity of nature
with God. Only the Son is so perfect an image of His Father as
to be equal to, and identical in nature with, Him. Hence it is that
the Word is called the image of God, while man is said to be created
to that image."40
That the New Testament clearly designates Jesus Christ to be
the image of God par excellence has been the point of greatest ten-
n sion between the Jewish and Christian viewpoints on the image of
God. Altmann meets the issue squarely: "The difference between
Jewish and Christian exegesis in the area of the homo imago Dei
motif concerned not so much the philosophical concept of man's
dignity as a rational creature--this remained, in fact, common
ground throughout medieval Christian scholasticism--as the the-
logical equation of Logos and Christ."41
What effect did the fall of man have upon the image of God
in man? The discussion of the image of God should not and cannot
be restricted to the original creation. What of man after the fall?
Can one still regard him as in the image of God? In what sense is
this true? The matter of sin's effect on man was debated in contro-
versies with Pelagians and semi-Pelagians, with synergists and Ar-
minians. How can man fallen and corrupt (Rom. 1:21, 23) and
rebellious against God still be viewed as the image of God? If he is
a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3), does he still bear the image of his
Creator? Man's deeds show that he is not essentially good. And if
he is not essentially good, then how can he reasonably be expected
to mirror the nature of God?42 Has man lost the image partially or
39 Laidlaw, pp. 452-53. Along with John 1:1-3 the passages cited speak
of creation and the upholding of the universe as the work of Christ as Word,
Image, and Son respectively.
40 C. J. Chereso, "Image of God," New Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. by
William J. McDonald, et al., VII (1967), 369. For the same emphasis, see
Orr, God's Image in Man, pp. 267, 271.
41 Altmann, p. 254.
42 Harris, p. 201.
Image of God / 245
Lutheran theologians have been positive that man through
the fall lost the image of God completely: "Lutheran thinking as-
sumes that this ‘image of God’ as well as the ‘righteousness given
with creation’ were lost through the Fall. It is not considered to be
part of man's creaturely structure which indestructibly survives also
in the sinner. This interpretation sees man, at one and the same
moment, as creature and sinner, but as the bearer of the image of
God only in the state of original integrity and again after the resur-
rection from the dead."43 Reformed theologians held that the image
included man's rational faculties and his moral conformity to God.
They spoke of the essential image of God (the very nature of the
soul) and the accidental image (what could be lost without the loss
of humanity itself).
Nowhere does the Old Testament indicate that the divine image
and likeness are lost. For this reason some theologians who held
first that the image was lost, have reversed themselves and have
spoken of "remnants" of the image in man as fallen. When one
contemplates Genesis 9:6; James 3:9; and 1 Corinthians 11:7, it
can be seen that it is incorrect to say unqualifiedly that the image
of God was lost through sin. There are references where man's
nature after the fall "is still the ‘work and creature of God’ (see
Deut. 32:6; Isa. 45:11; 54:5; 64:8; Acts 17:25; Rev. 4:11; Job
10:8-12; Ps. 139:14-16)."44 The insurmountable obstacle to the
position that the image of God is entirely lost through the fall is
the fact that even fallen man is man and is not shorn of his humanity.
In short, if the divine image speaks of an inalienable part of man's
constitution, such as reason, freedom, will, and the like, it remains.
But it is in a marred, corrupted, and impaired state. When moral
likeness to God is in question, then this must be seen as largely
defaced in man, who cannot naturally claim holiness with love and
fear of God.45 However, that which relates to rationality, conscience,
and self-consciousness cannot be less, for then man would cease
to be man. In spite of the fall man did not become a beast or a
demon, but retained his humanity. He did lose, however, his com-
munion with God, his righteousness, his conformity to the will of
God. And he became mortal.
When the New Testament refers to the new creation, it is speak-
ing of the restoration of the image (cf. 1 Cor. 15:49). Christ is the
43 Osterloh, pp. 83-84.
44 Berkouwer, p. 133.
45 Orr, God's Image in Man, p. 59.
246 / Bibliotheca Sacra - July 1972
pattern of the redeemed humanity. The principle emphasis in Pauline
anthropology is the restoration of the image (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18). See
Romans 8:29; Ephesians 4:24; and Colossians 3:10. A caution is
here in order. To project back from the renewed image to the
original image can lead to confusion, because here there would be
an evaluation of the original image in terms of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4;
Col. 1: 15). Regeneration and sanctification serve to renew the be-
liever after the image of his Creator. In redemption the divine image
is restored and perfected in man. God has predestinated us to be
conformed to the image of His Son.
Certain concluding observations are in order here. The image
of God constitutes all that differentiates man from the lower creation.
It does not refer to corporeality or immortality. It has in mind the
will, freedom of choice, self-consciousness, self-transcendence, self-
determination, rationality, morality, and spirituality of man.46 The
ability to know and love God must stand forth prominently in any
attempt to ascertain precisely what the image of God is.
Thus the treatment of the image of God in man is eminently
vital for proper views of creation, sin, redemption, Christology, and
the future life. Only in theology--not in the natural or social
sciences--can the true meaning of man's existence and destiny
be correctly discerned.
46 There is no need to restrict the image too narrowly to mind, reason, or
logic. Man is far too complex for this alone. When the image is too de-
limited to reason, the conclusion may be: "Then in heaven we will not make
mistakes even in arithmetic" (cf. Clark, pp. 218, 222).
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