In the Image of God

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At the heart of all that we have to say about the human being is a certain balance or tension. To say that we are creatures is to say something equally true of a gorilla or a horse, but now to add that they are creatures ‘in the image’ is to say something unique to them. Another way to put the matter is this: we too are made in the sequence of creation laid out in Genesis 1. But we are the last, the culmination, the ones to give voice to God the praises of all, the creatures able to worship, which is implied in the Sabbath rest of the seventh day. This purpose for us is intended by God, and so cannot be erased.

For centuries theologians have asked in what our image-of-God consists. Is it thought or speech or relationship or dominion over other creatures? Arguments for and against each can be given. One may also wonder whether it is something we have individually or collectively.

Now if we imagine it to be that we are made to be able to and inclined toward worship, what might we conclude from this? Worship includes relation, language, and thought, and still the activity itself is unique to us. Furthermore it may be seen even when it is distorted into what the Bible calls ‘idolatry.’ To this we now turn.

True or false: the human heart has a God-shaped hole.

Compare the first and last chapters of the Bible.



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