What does it mean to be in "the image of God?"

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  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,425
    edited May 2018

    Man, by design, is closely linked to God as a spiritual being. Gen 1:27 states, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” In defining the image of God, Morris stated that “the ‘image of God’ refers chiefly to the fact that man possesses personal, rational, and moral qualities and has a God-consciousness, making him totally distinct from the animals.”

    “Man was the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and designed to be a counterpart of God.” The use of the word "counterpart" is significant. The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines counterpart as “one having the same function or characteristics as another.”

    God was, in reality, replicating his character and purpose in man. It has been said, as the man came from the hand of God, the man possessed “a will in harmony with the will of God, and affections that centered upon heaven.”

    We're to live as a man and not like animals. Let's love and be considerate of others, reflecting the character of our Creator. CM

    Resources:

    -- John Morris, The Young Earth: The Real History of the Earth—Past, Present and Future (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2006), 14.
    -- Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, “Counterpart,” http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/counterpart

  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,425


    @ASN_032,

    I want to direct your attention to this thread in general, and this post in particular. I believe I read somewhere (in another post) you said, "all creatures are given free will". If you said it, please read this thread. Do you change your mind? Regardless, any new thoughts on "the image of God"? CM

  • ASN_032ASN_032 Posts: 26

    @C_M_ ,

    I did not change my mind, I have not seen any verse in the bible that supports interpreting the word "image" in Genesis 1:27 as "soul" or as "free will". Even the claim that Jesus, as a spiritual being that existed before being born in a human body, couldn't have had an image, makes sense, but is not mentioned anywhere in the bible, also, since nowhere in the bible it is mentioned when were the angels created, and we may agree that they had an image, and we could also agree that the plural form "us" in Genesis 1:26 meant that God had at least one partner in creating mankind, we have no reason to assume that there was no image to refer and even if we had a reason to assume that, we would still need to support any claim we make regarding the interpretation of the word "image" in the context of creation of mankind. If anyone would provide and verses in the bible that support the interpretation of "image" in this context as soul or as free will, then I'll be able to discuss it, until then, it makes more sense to me to stick to the simple meaning of the word "image" when referring human beings. I would also like to note that 3D printing is for creating a 100% identical image of the source, but not all images are identical as we know from Optics (which is a branch in Physics), resemblance is enough to be considered an image.

    Thanks,

    ASN_032

  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,425
    edited March 2019

    @CM said:

    @ASN_032,

    In the OT:

    According to Gen. 1:26-27 humanity was created in the image of God. It clearly shows the phrase “image of God” is found four times in the OT–Genesis 1:26, 27 and 9:6.

    • In the Pentateuch the Hebrew term “image” occurs also in Genesis 5:3 and in Numbers 33:22. Whereas Seth is son of Adam according to his image (Gen. 5:3), the text in Numbers talks about idolatrous images, later.
    • In addition the term “likeness” is employed in Genesis 1:26; 5:1, 3, which may be a synonym.
    • The LXX terms are eikon (Gen 1:26, 27; 5:1, 3; 9:6) and homoiosis (Gen 1:26).


    Some have suggested that the image of God refers to:

    • Mental and spiritual capacities
    • A physical resemblance
    • The idea of being God’s representative on earth
    • The capacity to have a relationship with God (See Wenham).

    Since no definition is given of what the image of God means, the context should be consulted.

    In the NT:

    Please consider Colossians 1:15. It calls Jesus "the image of the invisible God." The term [eikoncan be translated as "likeness," "image," "appearance" or "form." It can point to likeness or representation or both. Do you recall Nebuchadnezzar's image in Daniel 3 and the image of the beast in Rev 13 (See Moo).

    The term [eikon] is used only once in Colossians to refer to Jesus as he relates to God the Father. According to Col 3:10, the believer is to be "renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him" (See O'Brien).

    Let's keep studying . CM

    SOURCES:

    • See, Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, Word Biblical Commentary 1 (Waco: Word Books, 1987), 29-31.
    • Douglas J. Moo, The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (The Pillar New Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008), 117
    • Peter T. O'Brien, Colossians, Philemon, 44 (Word Biblical Commentary; Waco, TX: Word Books, 1982), xxx—xxxvii, 43
  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,425

    Looking anew at this topic one should note that Irenaeus (c. 130- c. 200), the first father to develop a theology of the image. His views were written in A.D. 185 to correct doctrinal errors of Gnosticism. 

    The "image of God" basic text is Gen 1:26-28. Other texts are in support:

    • Gen 5:1-3, 9:6
    • Ps. 8, seems to be a poetic echo of Gen. 1.26-28.
    • God decided to make man (male/female “image of God") in His own "image" or "likeness". It's clear (Ps. 8) that Psalmist doesn't use the expression "image of God".

    However, I found out that these two words go together in pairs:

    • "selemand "demut(Hebrew)
    • "eikonand "homoiosis" (Greek)
    • "imago" and "similitude" (Latin).

    These words are not be separated. If there were any distinction, perhaps they could express:

    • Ideas of reproduction (image).
    • Resemblance (likeness).

    Together, these words reveal that man (male-female) is like God in some aspects. As Anthony Hoekema puts it, “man, as he was created, was to mirror God and to represent God.” 

    • Our dignity, worthiness, and self-identity depend on it. Frederick McLeod said the image resembles "a large glittering diamond that sparkles in new, fascinating ways when rotated to the light.”

    One should note the New Testament focus is not on the “image of God,” but on the "likeness of Christ". There seems to be only one indirect mention of the topic. It is in Jas 3:9. The apostle criticized the bad use of the tongue to “curse those who are made in the likeness [homoiosin] of God.” I find it interesting that Charles Sherlock commented that it is “striking” “that the term ‘image’ (eikon) is not used for humankind in the New Testament apart from reference to Christ”—the “perfect eikon of God.”

    I hope this post gives you a better view of man and of yourself. May our live honor the Lord.

    Sources:

    • Frederick G. McLeod, The Image of God in the Antiochene Tradition (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998), 4,
    • Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Against the HeresiesTranslated and annotated by Dominic J. Unger, with further revisions by John J. Dillon. New York: Paulist, 1992.
    • Emil Brunner, Man in Revolt: A Christian Anthropology (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1947), 111. 
    • “Selem, Image,” Theological Lexicon of the Old Testamented. Ernst Jenni and Claus Westermann [Peabody: Hendrickson, 1997], 3:1081).
    • Anthony A. Hoekema, Created in God’s Image (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 67.
    • Charles Sherlock, The Doctrine of Humankind (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1997), 50.
  • theMadJWtheMadJW Posts: 168

    Since God is a spirit-being, he did not create us spirits; that rules out the physical.

  • @theMadJW Since God is a spirit-being, he did not create us spirits; that rules out the physical.

    —when Yahweh God formed the man of dust from the ground, and he blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7 LEB) reads to me as יְהוָ֨ה (YHWH singular) אֱלֹהִ֜ים (e-lo-HEEM plural) unique spiritual God breathing life into physical dust to create Adam in the Image of God, which includes living spirit/soul inside.

    Fascinated by one breath of life having DNA creation with male and female (X and Y chromosomes in one of the 23 DNA pairs). Genesis 2:18-25 description of God taking a bone from Adam to physically fashion Eve is literally doable (remove Y chromosome & duplicate X chromosome).

    Note: X chromosome is physically longer than Y chromosome so female children receive equal amounts of DNA from their parents. In contrast, male children receive a bit less from father (Y chromosome).


    Keep Smiling 😊

  • theMadJWtheMadJW Posts: 168

    Nope! You use a faulty translation- " God breathing life into physical dust to create Adam in the Image of God, which includes living spirit/soul inside"- Adam BECAME a living soul.


  • edited June 2021

    @theMadJW Nope! You use a faulty translation- " God breathing life into physical dust to create Adam in the Image of God, which includes living spirit/soul inside"- Adam BECAME a living soul.

    All English translations are faulty since English is different than Hebrew/Aramaic & Greek: e.g. English verbs primary focus is time of action (contextual words indicates kind of action). Hebrew/Aramaic verbs primary focus is kind of action: complete, incomplete, volitive (contextual words indicates time of action). Greek verbs primary focus is kind of action, with secondary aspect about time of action.

    Logos Bible Software 9.6 screen shot shows Hebrew lemma נֶ֫פֶשׁ occurs 43 times in the book of Genesis (mouse hover on upper right graph in Translation section has pop-up). The Lexham English Bible (LEB) has 8 translations of נֶ֫פֶשׁ as creature. The Lexham Theological Wordbook: נֶ֫פֶשׁ (nepeš) documents a wide range of meaning in the Hebrew Bible.

    Inverted colors of Logos Bible Software screen shot (since some eyes struggle with Dark Mode)


    FWIW: noticed @theMadJW screen shot showing soul highlighted has rearranged the order of Hebrew words in the top line (to conform with English word order in the bottom line). Hebrew word direction is Right to Left, but English word direction is Left to Right. Transliteration line in middle line of @theMadJW screen shot is puzzling: e.g. nphsh for נֶ֫פֶשׁ (if h is a vowel, then transliteration should be nhphs).



    Lexham English Bible (LEB) Preface includes translation insights:

    With approximately one hundred different English translations of the Bible already published, the reader may well wonder why yet another English version has been produced. Those actually engaged in the work of translating the Bible might answer that the quest for increased accuracy, the incorporation of new scholarly discoveries in the fields of semantics, lexicography, linguistics, new archaeological discoveries, and the continuing evolution of the English language all contribute to the need for producing new translations. But in the case of the Lexham English Bible (LEB), the answer to this question is much simpler; in fact, it is merely twofold.

    First, the LEB achieves an unparalleled level of transparency with the original language text because the LEB had as its starting point the Lexham Hebrew–English Interlinear Bible and the Lexham Greek–English Interlinear New Testament. It was produced with the specific purpose of being used alongside the original language text of the Bible. Existing translations, however excellent they may be in terms of English style and idiom, are frequently so far removed from the original language texts of Scripture that straightforward comparison is difficult for the average user. Of course distance between the original language text and the English translation is not a criticism of any modern English translation. To a large extent this distance is the result of the philosophy of translation chosen for a particular English version, and it is almost always the result of an attempt to convey the meaning of the original in a clearer and more easily understandable way to the contemporary reader. However, there are many readers, particularly those who have studied some biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, who desire a translation that facilitates straightforward and easy comparisons between the translation and the original language text. The ability to make such comparisons easily in software formats like Logos Bible Software makes the need for an English translation specifically designed for such comparison even more acute.

    Second, the LEB is designed from the beginning to make extensive use of the most up-to-date lexical reference works available. For the Old Testament this is primarily The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT), and for New Testament this is primarily the third edition of Walter Bauer’s A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BDAG). Users can be assured that the LEB as a translation is based on the best scholarly research available. The Hebrew text on which the LEB Old Testament is based is that of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. The Greek text on which the LEB New Testament is based is that of The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (SBLGNT), a new edition produced by Michael W. Holmes in conjunction with the Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software. In its evaluation of textual variation, the SBLGNT uses modern text-critical methodology along with guidance from the most recently available articles, monographs, and technical commentaries to establish the text of the Greek New Testament.

    Naturally, when these two factors are taken into consideration, it should not be surprising that the character of the LEB as a translation is fairly literal. This is a necessary by-product of the desire to have the English translation correspond transparently to the original language text. Nevertheless, a serious attempt has been made within these constraints to produce a clear and readable English translation instead of a woodenly literal one.

    There are three areas in particular that need to be addressed to make a translation like the LEB more accessible to readers today, while at the same time maintaining easy comparison with the original language text. First, differences in word order have to be addressed. In this regard, the LEB follows standard English word order, not the word order of biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, or Koiné Greek. Anyone who needs to see the word order of the original languages can readily consult the Lexham Hebrew–English Interlinear Bible or the Lexham Greek–English Interlinear New Testament, which contain a sequence line which gives this information. Second, some expressions in biblical languages are idiomatic, so that a literal translation would be meaningless or would miscommunicate the true meaning. The LEB uses ⌊lower corner⌋ brackets to indicate such expressions, with a literal rendering given in a note. Third, words which have no equivalent in the original language text must sometimes be supplied in the English translation. Because the LEB is designed to be used alongside the original language texts of Scripture, these supplied words are indicated with italics. In some cases the need for such supplied words is obvious, but in other cases where it is less clear a note has been included.

    Finally, the reader should remember that any Bible translation, to be useful to the person using it, must actually be read. We encourage every user of the LEB, whether reading it alongside the original languages text or not, to remember that once we understand the meaning of a biblical text we are responsible to apply it first in our own lives, and then to share it with those around us.

    The Editors


     Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.


    Keep Smiling 😊

  • theMadJWtheMadJW Posts: 168

    What a philosophaster.....

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,625

    @theMadJW posted:

    What a philosophaster.....

    A post that's at once erudite, off-topic, AND a violation of the CD expectation that we will "criticize ideas, not people." Now THAT'S a triple crown! Well done, @theMadJW.

  • Well, the very lengthy post and explanations of @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus in his latest post above are NOT really helpful and reflect "much a do" about details actually irrelevant to the point made in the post to which he replied with his double screenshots show of Logos software expertise and lengthy quotes to display his great knowledge of Hebrew and Greek.

    The simple point being discussed was: @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus posted that "God breathing life into physical dust to create Adam in the Image of God, which includes living spirit/soul inside". @theMadJW then pointed out that the Bible text actually has "Adam BECAME a living soul". So then what does the text say ??

    As I read it, the lengthy reply of many words by @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus seemed not very helpful to clarify his earlier claim, nor did it really show why or how the statement by @theMadJW about the text saying "Adam became a living soul" was inaccurate. As such, I can understand why @theMadJW felt he was reading a type of "typical reply" one might often see in so-called "philosophical§ circles ...

  • United Bible Societies (UBS) Handbook Series is a commentary set (focused on translation issues), which includes insights about Genesis 2:7

    . . .

    And man became a living being has sometimes been translated “… became a living soul” (KJV). As in 1:20, 21, 24, where it is applied to the birds and animals, living being translates nefesh hayyah. See also 19. In Numbers 6:6 and 19:13, nefesh refers to a dead body; but in reference to a living human being, it means “living being,” or “person.” The purpose of the writer in chapter 1 is to say that God’s creation of animals made them “living creatures”; and in the same way here in chapter 2, the creation of the man made him likewise a “living creature” or “living being.” TEV translates this term as “began to live,” which is often used in languages that do not express living as a term describing a noun.

    . . .


     William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Genesis, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1998), 64.

    Only quoted relevant portion of Genesis 2:7 (KJV = King James Version, TEV = Today's English Version)



    Keep Smiling 😊

  • theMadJWtheMadJW Posts: 168

    Facts are facts.

    Nothing against him/her personally.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,625

    @theMadJW posted:

    Facts are facts.

    Nothing against him/her personally.

    As has often been the case with others of your posts, it's not clear whom you're responding to with those words, but in case it's me and my post which took a swipe at your (apparent) reference to @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus as a "philophaster," I point out to you that that word is a noun that refers to a person, not to a person's ideas or actions, and does so in a uncomplimentary manner:

    • According to dictionary.com, a philophaster is "a person who has only a superficial knowledge of philosophy or who feigns a knowledge he or she does not possess."
    • According to lexico.com, a philophaster is "a person who engages in shallow or pretentious philosophizing; a pseudo-philosopher."
    • According to yourdictionary.com, a philophaster is "(a) pretender to philosophy; a petty or charlatan philosopher."
    • And according to THIS SITE, "philophaster" is one of a "small set of 21 obscure words [that] consists of nouns used to define minor, inferior, or petty members of various professions."

    The CD expectations direct us to "criticize ideas, not people." In my view, your use of the word "philophaster" criticized a person, not ideas, and hence violated the expectations.

    As you say, facts are facts.

  • theMadJWtheMadJW Posts: 168

    Thank you! Facts ARE facts. I was making an observation. If you wish you can remove it.

    I can't- and it doesn't change the FACT!

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,625

    @theMadJW posted:

    Thank you! Facts ARE facts. I was making an observation. If you wish you can remove it.

    I can't- and it doesn't change the FACT!

    • It's not my place to remove your or anyone else's posts.
    • I know of no method by which posts can be removed by ANYONE except, I presume, the forum administrator. And one hour after a post is submitted, no further editing of its contents is possible. I think that means your post will remain up.... alongside countless other posts in countless other threads composed by countless other posters whose contributions also violated the "criticize ideas, not people" expectation. In my view, said expectation in these forums is a bit like jaywalking laws: It's on the books, but hardly anyone obeys it or is ever held accountable for violating it.
    • And finally, you're welcome to the observations and "FACTS!" of your choice, but observations AND "FACTS!" that criticize people, not ideas, violate forum expectations.


  • theMadJWtheMadJW Posts: 168

    I didn't think any facts were not permitted!

    My bad!

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,625

    @theMadJW posted:

    I didn't think any facts were not permitted!

    My bad!

    To be precise, you didn't offer a "fact," as in an objectively true and accurate description of reality. You offered a "FACT!" as in your personal assessment of the poster @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus.

    1. You offered no evidence to demonstrate the objective truth of your "FACT!"
    2. By its very nature, your "FACT!" violated the CD expectation that we will "criticize ideas, not people."

    Hence, at least as I understand CD expectations, claims, assertions, opinions, suggestions, observations, and other "FACTS!" critical of posters' ideas ARE both "permitted" and welcome in these forums. But expectations, claims, assertions, opinions, suggestions, observations, and other "FACTS!" critical of other posters are not.

  • theMadJWtheMadJW Posts: 168

    If one claims to believe the BIBLE- then contradicts it, and with weird theories destroying what it says the person is a ___________.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,425

    @Bill_Coley said;

    'In my view, said expectation in these forums is a bit like jaywalking laws: It's on the books, but hardly anyone obeys it or is ever held accountable for violating it".

    Am I included in this general statement? CM

    PS. Thinking aloud: Are there some posters more accused than others of failure to "criticize ideas, not people"?

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,625

    @theMadJW posted:

    If one claims to believe the BIBLE- then contradicts it, and with weird theories destroying what it says the person is a ___________.

    Your, my, and anyone else's completion of this fill-in-the-blank sentence would be a comment on a person, not a person's ideas. If said comment were critical of that person, therefore, the comment would violate the CD expectation that posters will "criticize ideas, not people." If said comment were affirming of that person... it would be a shock given the content of your fill-in-the-blank sentence.

    You're welcome to the opinions, conclusions, and judgments of your choice that are critical of other CD posters. You're not welcome to express those criticisms of other posters in CD posts, however. That's what "criticize ideas, not people" means.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,425

    @theMadJW,

    What does it mean to believe the Bible? Why would a person "claims" to believe the Bible when he or she really doesn't? CM

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,625

    @C Mc posted:

    Am I included in this general statement?

    Quite often in these forums I read what I consider to be violations of the CD expectation regarding criticism of ideas not people. So much so, that I have long since surrendered any ambition I once possessed to transform the CD culture by calling out many/most of the violations. Now, I introduce the expectation to posters who might be unfamiliar with it, and hope for the best. That is, I've lost hope that CD will anytime soon be a community where name-calling, insults, and other commentary critical of people rather than their ideas are all extremely rare.

    Are you included in the general statement? Of course. All of us are bound by the CD expectation that we will "criticize ideas, not people," and all of us, I believe, bear a measure of responsibility for the culture we have allowed to develop here. Some of us more than others.

    Another factor, however, is the times we live in. At least in the U.S. we are a meaner, nastier, more uncivil nation than at any time in my lifetime. I blame first and foremost Donald Trump and his demolition derby mode of response to people who disagree with him or whom he doesn't like. I think his disgusting and very public approach to others planted seeds of disgust among his followers, who for whatever reason nurtured those seeds into divisive and, of late, dangerous communication. Are there "bad people on both sides," as Mr. Trump might say? Of course. But the former president and his political lemmings lit and fanned the fire, and therefore own more of the blame in my view.

    Want to assess your own posts for possible violations (and this goes for all of us)? Simply revisit your replies to other posters and ask, did that post offer my opinion about the poster or the poster's ideas? I can't cite examples without identifying posters, so let's just say, if you wrote "You are a...." chances are good that you commented about the poster, not the poster's ideas. If you wrote, "I think you're wrong (OR I disagree with you) when you say that..." chances are you commented about the poster's ideas.

    Criticize ideas, not people. It's NOT a hard thing to do.

  • Another factor, however, is the times we live in. At least in the U.S. we are a meaner, nastier, more uncivil nation than at any time in my lifetime. I blame first and foremost Donald Trump and his demolition derby mode of response to people who disagree with him or whom he doesn't like. I think his disgusting and very public approach to others planted seeds of disgust among his followers, who for whatever reason nurtured those seeds into divisive and, of late, dangerous communication. Are there "bad people on both sides," as Mr. Trump might say? Of course. But the former president and his political lemmings lit and fanned the fire, and therefore own more of the blame in my view.

    I put it this way: When I first came to the USA in 1977, the country and general behavior of public majority was quite different from what I noticed during my last visit there in 2011. Exactly those things you ascribe to influence from after 2016 were already rampant then in a very bad way and had obviously already changed in the time before 2011 due to influences already active in society then. Exactly those influences to destroy morals and values that were help up in society at large have been active from long before 2016 ... and are still active today ... how about the powers behind Hollywood and mass media TV brain washing, for starters??

    I perceive that these powers were quite successful in blaming the previous USA president with what they themselves have been doing for decades ... thus, the same deeds in one case were "bad" and in another "good" ???

  • theMadJWtheMadJW Posts: 168

    Since Christ is foremost in the Bible, and he said people where "hypocrites" for not believing the scriptures they SAID they believe in, any Christian would follow his example.

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