Introduction: Scriptural legwork for the doctrine
The doctrine of the imago dei, or the image of God in man, has many Scripture texts to give a sound foundation as a
matter doctrine and application. We first hear of God creating man in His image in Genesis 1:27,
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them”.
And in chapter 2 and v.7,
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Another passage in the book of Job touches upon this subject when it says,
“But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. (Job 32:8).
From the New Testament we have Colossians 3:10, 1 Corinthians 11a and James 3:9:
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God.”
“Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.”
That man was created in the image of God is not much disputed, at least not among Christians. The question we must ask is what is the image of God? And was the image of God in man lost? It might be prudent to start with a few different views that have been espoused by various theologians to narrow down what the image of God in man is. The five views we will consider are:
1. Free-will is the image of God in man
2. Language and creativity are the image of God in man
3. Dominion in righteousness are the image of God in man
4. The persons in the Godhead and the three part nature of man constitute the image of God.
5. Knowledge and rationality are the image of God.
Not all of these views put a hard fast rule as to what the image of God in man is. Some extend their list to many different things. There is also a view holding man in body and in soul is the image of God (Monalism). Nevertheless, that even some of these can be the part of the image of God in man, I think quite untenable. It is the purpose of this author to delineate what the image of God is and what the implications of that image are. In the next post, I will seek to answer the first view, namely, is free-will the image of God in man?