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C.L. Feinberg, The Image of God, Bibliotheca Sacra 129, (1972): 235-246.

THEO 525 LUO (Fall 2011)

The Image of God

Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Tracey Stallworth (ID# L23070808)

June 2011

This peer-reviewed journal article gives a detailed understanding of the many-sided debate over the meaning of the image of God in man. This debate has gone on for centuries within the Christian community. According to the article many theologians have argued the point of whether or not the image of God in the New Testament is in conflict with the Old Testament conception.1 Most theologians argue that the image of God is not reflected upon humans as a physical image, related to the way we look. Rather, the fundamental qualities of the image of God are characteristics of the mind and soul, however we understand those: the ability to love selflessly; engage in meaningful relationships; exercise rationality; maintain dominion over the Earth; and embrace moral responsibility.2 The author also notes that in order to maintain a correct understanding of the image of God in man, not only is theology involved, but reason, law, and civilization as a whole, whether it views regenerate or unsaved humanity from its origin to eternity.3 The author examines that the only method for arriving at a correct solution of the problems related to the image of God is to carry through a careful and accurate exegesis (critical explanation of interpretation of a text) of the Scripture passages involved.4 Appropriate passages are Genesis 1:26-27 (the creation account); 5:1, 3 (the transmission of the image from Adam to his posterity); 9:6 (the doctrine of the image relative to homicide); 1 Corinthians 11:7 (discussion of headship in the family); Colossians 3:10 (exhortations to the believer to put on the new man); and James 3:9 (treatment of the proper use of the tongue).5 According to the author, when analyzing the image of God in man, there are three basic questions that should be asked: (1) In what specifically does the image of God consist? (2) What effect did sin and the fall of man have on this image? (3) What results accrued to the image of sinful man because of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ?6 The author agrees with Laidlaws explanation of the image of

God in man: Although thus definite and significant, however, the phrase [image of God] is not explicit.This is why the doctrine of the Divine Image in man has been a topic so fruitful of differences in theology.7 The authors argument holds strength because it is an argument that countless individuals struggle with. He compares the passages of the Old Testament versus the passages of the New Testament as it relates to the image of God in man. Controversies with Pelagians and semiPelagians debate the matter of sins effect on man. How can man fallen and corrupt and rebellious against God still be viewed as the image of God? He questions the views of theologians, scientists and humanists since many believe the image of God in man is found in mans dominion over nature8, his corporeality.9 On the other hand, may believe that the image must be the intellect and mind, not a physical image because God is Spirit and has no human form and mans form has no divine likeness.10 Findings from this journal article conclude that when the Scriptures represent man in the image of God, it is of the Godhead, and not of Christ exclusively. Because man, even when redeemed and glorified, cannot be equated with God, his image of God must necessarily be imperfect. 11 The New Testament noticeably labels Jesus Christ to be the image of God, while man is said to be created to that image. Being in the image of God differentiates man from the lower creation, such as animals. Findings also noted by the author comprised that the image of God in man is fundamental for proper views of creation, sin, redemption, Christology, and the future of life.12

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C.L. Feinberg, The Image of God, Bibliotheca Sacra 129, (1972): 235-246. Pete Enns, Alister McGrath, and Jeff Schloss, At What Point In The Evolutionary Process Did Humans Attain The Image Of God, The BioLogos Foundation. 3 Carl F.H. Henry, Man, Bakers Dictionary of Theology, ed. By Everett F. Harrison and Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, 1960), p. 339. 4 Feinberg, p. 236. 5 Feinberg, p. 236. 6 Feinberg, p. 236. 7 J. Laidlaw, Image, A Dictionary of the Bible, ed. By James Hastings, II (1899), 452. 8 Feinberg, p. 239. 9 Feinberg, p. 240. 10 Feinberg, p. 236. 11 Feinberg, p.244. 12 Feinberg, p. 246.