What is the image of God?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #1

What do you think the image of God is?

Since the Image of God was also given to humans in Egypt, my personal thought is that it was God using Near Eastern language to describe the qualities which make us human. It is interesting however, that the word for ‘Image’ in Genesis 1:26 (Tselem) is the word used for an idol (which links in well with the temple imagery). In which case, humans are the idols of God on earth (no graven images), and deserve to be treated with as much respect as idols are in temples.

(George Brooks) #2


But the use of the term used for “idol” is not because the “image” is a travesty, but because both “image” and “idol” mean, in that sense of the word: “a representation”.

(Randy) #3

Right. I can’t recall if that’s also in Enns’ Inspiration and Incarnation or in Evolution of Adam, but I just read that somewhere :slight_smile: Beyond that, you are all over my head.

In practice in my church, the interpretation we often have is that we can reason and have responsibility like God. I guess there is a similarity, though we don’t have the representative imagery down exactly.

(Christy Hemphill) #4

Hey, you guys know that was the blog theme of the month for May, right?

Lots of good stuff here by people who have studied this issue in depth:

And this “vintage BioLogos” blog series by Peter Enns is one of my favorites:

(Ryan weatherly) #5

Man created in God’s image ( likeness)
That which is born of the flesh is flesh , that which is born of the spirit is spirit
God is a spirit
A spirit hath not flesh and bone
Christ was sent in the likeness ( image ) of sinful flesh
The first Adam was a living soul , the last a quickening spirit

Seems , by my understanding that the image of spirit is spirit and not sinful flesh …
If someone wants the exact scriptures , let me know

(RiderOnTheClouds) #6

One thing I have seen no one talk about is how the Imago Dei is not unique to the Bible, it is also found in Egyptian mythology:

In the instruction for King Merikare, the author goes so far as to tell us that the creator god concieved the world for the sake of humankind: ‘Well, provided are men, the herd of the god. It is for them that he made the sky and the earth. It is for them that he repulsed the greed of the water. It is so that their nostrils might live that he made the breezes, for they are his images, issued from his flesh. It is for them that he rises in the sky: it is to nourish them that he made plants, herds, birds, and fish.’

Here is a discussion:

(Christy Hemphill) #7

How ANE cultures used images to stand in for gods and Kings is a big topic in the stuff I’ve read, including that Enns series I linked. It is not a point that has been lost on Bible scholars.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #8

But the whole of mankind is the image of the gods

(Christy Hemphill) #9

Okay, I see your point now. Yeah, that would be interesting to see addressed.

(Larry Bunce) #10

I have always thought that Imagio Dei referred to the fact that humans have godlike powers over their immediate environment. That humans have the actual appearance of God is impossible, unless each human would see God as looking like themselves. (In that case, God can’t make a personal appearance on earth, because humans would start fighting over God’s appearance, and various separatist groups would go around saying, “See, I told you so.”)


Enjoy this.

(George Brooks) #13


Help me (and who knows who else) with this… what is the special aspect of all humanity being in the “image of God” according to the Old Testament?

Is this at variance with ideas in the New Testament?

(Ryan weatherly) #14

Perhaps it’s my apostolic herritage , but I have felt that the holy ghost was the separating factor .
Just as Paul talks of in the new testament , prophecy being a gift of the spirit , so in the old testament the spirit comes ( down / rests upon them ) and they prophesied…
Or if one considers the other gifts of the holy ghost , such as wisdom , so in the OT , the spirit of wisdom comes ,etc etc …
" The spirit of God , spirit in Christ ,holy ghost/spirit "
I suppose maybe it’s just a different way of explaining what the above video is explaining …
I certainly don’t get as technical .
My 2 cents , for what it’s worth

(Christy Hemphill) #15

But the Holy Spirit is a gift to believers in the NT and God’s chosen instruments in the OT, it is not something given to all humanity. I think the image of God is universal.

(Ryan weatherly) #16

The holy ghost is in the OT …
Paul lists the gifts of the spirit …1 Corinthians 12… For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.".

In the OT :
Exodus 31:3
And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
Deuteronomy 34:9
And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.
Judges 3:10
And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim
2 Samuel 23:2
The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
Isaiah 42:1
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles
1 Samuel 10:10
And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them
Numbers 11:25
And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.

The spirit of God ,spirit in Christ , holy spirit …

Is it your opinion that the spirit of God is a different spirit in the OT , than the spirit of God in the NT? …just so I understand your perspective…
Continued answer in next comment …

(Ryan weatherly) #17

Genesis 6:3
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

…he is ALSO flesh …that implies a separation …

Matthew 26:41
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
…the flesh is weak , the spirit of God is not weak in my understanding …

John 1:12-14 (KJV)
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 3:6
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 6:63
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life…

Romans 8:3
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:…the likeness ( image) of sinful flesh

I can post more scripture on it …

(Ryan weatherly) #18

To the point :
1 Corinthians 15:45
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit…

Genesis 2:7
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

…became a living soul …
Past tense of become : begin to be …

A change , to become , became a living soul

(Christy Hemphill) #19

No. I think the Holy Spirit is experienced differently. Christ’s redemption allows us to be united with the Holy Spirit in a way that was not possible before he died and rose again.

What I don’t understand is why you seem to be conflating the image of God and the breath of life with the Holy Spirit. These are all separate concepts. The Holy Spirit is a Person, not some element of life or the human soul. The breath of life is not the same thing as the image of God.

(Ryan weatherly) #20

Everyone has the potential to have the image of God , but some refuse it …

Titus 1:16
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

2 Timothy 3:8
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

Romans 1:28
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Psalm 34:22
The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Romans 8:9
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
…none of his …

Romans 8:16
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 9:8
That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

(Christy Hemphill) #21

I don’t think that a person’s relationship with God (child of God or not) speaks to their image bearing status as humans. Humanity was created to bear God’s image. Whether or not we as individuals live up to our calling and potential, we are still all created to do it. You are making it sound like some people lose the image of God by their choice to sin. I think it is better to say that they fail to be good image bearers. Or they are broken image bearers. It gets really sticky when people start drawing lines about which people bear God’s image and which people don’t.