Bringing the Image of God to a Conclusion

What does it mean to be made in the image of God? That’s the question we’ve been pursuing for a while now. And I think we’ve made some progress. We’ve explored quite a range of different answers, and we’ve seen why I think it’s primarily about God manifesting his presence through us. We’ve even looked at a few ways in which it makes a real, practical difference for how we view everyday life. The image of God isn’t just a theological “problem;” it’s a way of viewing the entire Christian life.

Although we could say a lot more about the image of God, it’s time to wrap things up. So I thought it would be good to compile all of the posts in this series in one place. So here you go.


Introducing the Image of God

  1. What Is an Image and Should I Care?
  2. 5 Reasons the Image of God Is Ambiguous
  3. 6 Things We Can All Agree on about the Image of God

Options for Understanding the Image of God

  1. Humans Aren’t Hamsters, But the “Image” Is More Than That
  2. “Image” Is a Verb: Finding the image in human function
  3. Sex Is Natural, Sex Is Good: Finding the image in human relationships
  4. When in Doubt, Pick “All of the Above”

An Attempted Resolution

  1. There’s a God in There! Moving toward a conclusion on the “image of God”
  2. Personal Presence: Another Step toward the Image of God
  3. The Image Is a Story

Does It Really Matter?

  1. A Job That Matters: Taking the Image of God to Work
  2. More Human, Less Human: Images of God in a Broken World
  3. Image of God at the Kitchen Table
  4. Difference, Division, and the Image of God
  5. My Church Is Too Small



7 Responses to “Bringing the Image of God to a Conclusion”

  1. Dwight Gingrich November 5, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Thanks for listing all these links on one post. I’ve posted it online for the benefit of a friend (and more) who recently expressed interest in the subject. You’ve done well with this series!

  2. etcetera November 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Hi Marc,

    I’ve been looking for some time for a book that would explain anthropology Biblically — in particular, I have trouble understanding words like soul, spirit, heart, mind, etc.

    This is something that I think we have lost as a modern society. Man has not changed, but our views about him have…

    So, I’ve read ED Burton on soul, spirit, and flesh, tracing the usage of those terms in both testaments and Greek history. Charles Hodge was helpful as well, but I don’t have a clear picture of how to understand man from the Biblical worldview.

    Do you have any literature that could help? Is it to be found in a systematic theology, or something like TDNT? I’m not sure where to look.

  3. Andrew T. December 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Distractions have prevented me from completing your series of posts until now. Thanks for your thoughts. In another comment I responded to your comments by seeing Imago Dei in a complimentary way, as an election.

    You said, wait, see where you go with the series; at that point you were still laying out common positions on the matter. Touché. However I still suggested there was a universal element to your position. There still is.

    Would you not agree at this point that every innocent child born and fresh from their mothers’ body is created in God’s image (I think you would). I think you this too far though, saying everyone adorns the image of God afterwards. The image of God adorned by Christ was perfect, the image of God adorned by say Hilter, or Charles Manson, not. The Image of God is not an altruistic binary, but gradiently shaded mirror. Clearly if Christ can adorn that image more perfectly than Charles Manson we cannot paint everyone with the same brush, even if we could at birth.

    Again though, consider this Imago Dei as an election. Did God simple elect all of Abraham’s offspring? No. Not Ishmael, nor Edom, nor for that fact disbelieving Israelites (Korahs Rebellion?). Man born innocent, is created in God image, falls due to the devices of his heart [Ecc 7:29]; his choices determine how he remains as God’s reflector, and not just as a glass that grows opaque, but one that grows clear (santification) too.

    Universalism with Imago Dei devoid of this sense that God’s Image can be debased requires we love God’s Image equally, however it is manifest (Charles Manson-like or Christlike); except that such a view is not only non-biblical, it is devoid of an evangelical requirement. On the otherhand, if we hold a high view that God shares his glory with no other [Isa 42:8], our view of Christlikeness demands we fix our eyes on its perfection and see not a man, but a pointer to the perfect image of God, thus God.

    Such a view shows us that the 2nd greatest commandment is not about our neighbour (mere man), but about his ability to be Christlike, the image of God, so God. The second greatest commandment recognizes that not all Imago Deis, though created equal, remain in fact equal. Thus this commandment is about God, and about evangelism. Just as with biblical election, Imago Dei is a gift given to all, but one that is not guaranteed to remain with all. Accordingly, rejection of God and Christ, denial of the Holy Ghost, by a person who lives a life in rebellion, in perpetuity, cannot be so generously credited with this Image you seem to suggesting we credit to all. (That, good teacher, is Universalism)


  1. Around the Blogosphere (11.09.2012) | Near Emmaus - November 9, 2012

    […] Cortez: Bringing the Image of God to a Conclusion […]

  2. Success, Significance, and the Subtle Power of Culture | Everyday Theology - August 30, 2013

    […] truth, though, is that every job can be an expression of our vocation: image bearers, those who manifest God’s glory in a broken world. It’s not our work that defines us […]

  3. There Are No Ordinary People, Only Image Bearers | Everyday Theology - May 20, 2014

    […] are made in God’s image. As we have discussed before, I think this means that we are the ones through whom God manifests his glorious presence in the […]

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

%d bloggers like this: