image of God

image of God

A key term for understanding the divine-human relationship in biblical thought. The exact meaning of the phrase in (Gen 1:26-27 and Gen 9:6) is problematic, and numerous suggestions have been proposed. To speak of human beings (“Adam”) as created in the image of God apparently refers both to the bodily form (the Hebrew term for “image” usually denotes a concrete likeness) and also to the spiritual attributes the physical body symbolizes. The plural pronouns of (Gen 1:27-28) indicate that male and female share equally in the image of God and connect this idea to the twofold commandment (“Be fruitful and multiply . . . and have dominion over . . .”), so that both in nature and in function human beings are understood to reflect their Creator. In the NT, vestiges of the OT meaning survive (1Cor 11:7-12; Jas 3:9), but the emphasis shifts so that it becomes Christ who embodies the image of God (2Cor 4:4; Phil 2:6; Col 1:15). This reflects the Christian view (most evident in John 14-15) in which Christ becomes the mediator between God and human beings.

Gen 1:26-27

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Gen 9:6

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Gen 1:27-28

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1Cor 11:7-12

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Jas 3:9

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2Cor 4:4

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Phil 2:6

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Col 1:15

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John 14-15

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