Imago Dei

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV)
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and 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.”

Human beings are not merely material beings. When God created the first man, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7), making man a living soul and giving to him spiritual life. Only humans are able to relate to God in worship and communication. The command to have dominion over creation and to subdue it is an explicitly-stated consequence of our role as the image of God. When it states we were created in His image it does not mean that God is a physical being and that we are like Him in that manner.

So what does it mean to be created in God’s image?

We can look at the many attributes and characteristics of God and see the similarities for them in mankind: love, goodness, thinking, creating, having dominion and authority, and free will to name but a few.

But is this what being in the image of God means?

If it is, then we are accepting the pro-choice version of the image of God.

All of those attributes listed above are only potentials: something that a human can grow into, but are not present when—if you believe life begins at conception (pro-life)—in a human embryo.

Therefore to limit the image of God to the potential for these characteristics is to affirm that a human embryo has yet to achieve God’s image. This is a similar stand for those who agree with abortion, that a potential person is not a person at all.

Nowhere in Scripture does it suggest a human must grow into the image of God. Psalm 139:13 notes God knitting us together in the womb; indicating His knowledge of us as a person right then. David says he was “fearfully and wonderfully made”. Jeremiah was told by God He knew him before he was even formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), a clear indication of personhood at the very onset.

To be imago dei means that we are as God’s image, or representatives, here on earth. It is a status, not an ability. In Genesis 1:28, God commands humans to be fruitful and multiply, to have dominion over the earth and subdue it. We are to be stewards of this planet, representing God here on earth.

This is something that we need not wait for the potential to arrive; it is within us from the very beginning.