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Definition

The image of a God is a biblical doctrine regarding the nature and purpose of mankind. Genesis 1:27 states that God made man “in his own image,” meaning that the human race was granted a particular likeness to God.

Summary

Just as Seth bore the “likeness and image” of his father Adam (Gen. 5:3), God made Adam and Eve to bear his image and likeness. Historical theology has often grounded the image of God in mankind’s superiority over lesser creatures, given man’s higher rationality and spirituality, and especially in human’s capacity to know and worship God. Further reflection notes that as “male and female,” mankind bears God’s image in a community of love. The emphasis in Genesis 1:26 on man’s dominion above the other creatures argues for mankind’s viceregency in accountability to God. New Testament reflection on the divine image highlights that man was made for covenant communion with God in righteousness and holiness. While the Fall has marred the image of God – shattering the righteousness and holiness in which we were first made – God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind and restore the image of God “in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

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