Essential Truths of the Christian Faith
Human Beings Created in the Image of God
In art, the making of
images is an exercise of beauty. Painting, sculpture,
and the like are often
imitative. Through our craft we depict objects drawn
The ultimate artist is God. When He fashioned the universe, He left
mark upon it in such a way that the heavens declare His glory and
firmament shows forth His handiwork.
When God made the creatures
that filled the earth and the sea, He created one
creature to be uniquely
made in His own image. Genesis 1:26-27 declares:
Then God said, “Let Us
make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let
them have dominion over
the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and
over the cattle, over all
the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps
on the earth.” So God
created man in His own image; in the image of God He
created him; male and
female He created them.
That the Bible says we are created in the image
and likeness of God has led
some (notably Roman Catholics) to conclude that
there is a difference between
being in the image and being in the likeness of
God. But the structure of the
biblical language indicates that image and
likeness refer to the same thing.
We are the icons of God, creatures made
with a unique capacity to mirror and
reflect the character of
Being made in the image of God is usually understood to point to the
which we are like God. Though He is the Creator and we are
though God transcends us in being, power, and glory,
nevertheless there is
some sense in which we are like Him. There is some analogy between God and us.
God is an intelligent and moral being. We are
also moral agents equipped with
a mind, a heart, and a will. These faculties
make it possible for us to mirror
God’s holiness, which was our original
The term man, when used in such Scripture passages as “God
created man in His
own image” (Genesis 1:27), means “humankind.” Both male
and female of the
human species are made in the image of God. Part of the
mankind’s call to rule the earth, to have dominion over it. We
are called to
dress, fill, and keep the earth as God’s vice-regents. Here we
are called to
reflect the character of God’s righteous rule over the
universe. He never
ravages or exploits what He rules, but rather reigns in
justice and kindness.
In the fall of mankind, something ghastly happened.
The image of God was
severely tarnished. Our ability to mirror His holiness
has been greatly
affected so that now the mirror is fogged.
however, did not destroy our humanity. Though our ability to reflect
holiness was lost in the Fall, we are still human. We still have a mind,
a heart, and a will. We still bear the mark of our Creator upon ourselves. The
restoration of the fullness of the image of God in human beings
accomplished by Christ. He is, as the author of Hebrews declares,
brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Hebrews
God created human beings—both male and female—in His image and
There is some analogy between God and human beings that makes
between them possible.
Human beings, like God, are moral
agents with the faculties of mind and will.
Human beings are called to
have dominion over the earth.
In the Fall, the image of God in human
beings was marred.
Christ is the perfect image of God. He is restoring us
to the fullness of the
image of God.