The Imago Dei

Gen 1:27 “In the image of God He created them”

That’s in the opening chapter of the book of Genesis, a prominent location, stating the uniqueness of human beings in all of God’s creation. But what does it mean to be created in God’s image? In what ways does it make us different or unique from other animals? What exactly does the image consist of?

Interpreting this is not that easy. There are diverse interpretations among Christians and Jews – ranging widely from some form of physical characteristic (like upright posture), or a way of knowing (consciousness), thinking or acting, or as possessing a soul or a spirit that is wholly different from other animals. Others interpret it as a relational statement. That is, being created in God’s image is for the purpose of have relations (communion) with God. It’s teleological, that is, having a purpose in mind.

The obvious thing that stands out is that human beings are uniquely created so that they stand both in relation to the created order (having been created from the dust of the earth as other animals) and yet distinct from it in their capacity to relate with God (as the bearer of the divine image).

How do you view the Imago Dei? What does it mean to you that human beings are created in His image? What are some implications that we can draw from this concerning our relation to the rest of creation, and to God himself? What makes human beings unique from the rest of creation? Can this difference be quantified?


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