Imago Dei?

ccravens

Puritan Board Freshman
Forgive me if this isn't in the correct forum..

A brother (in the Lord) and I are having a discussion about man being made in the image of God. I’ve always believed that the bible shows, and I’ve always read from others, that man was made in the image of God, but that image was corrupted by the Fall. Yet we still retain in us some of the image of God.

I had believed, rightly or wrongly, that this had been the position of protestants for centuries. I mainly take my Biblical proofs from: Gen 9:6, I Corinth 11:7, Col 3:10, James 3:9, and Mark 12:13-17 (by implication).

My brother believes that the image of God was totally lost due to the fall, and now we are only made in the image of Adam. There is no sense in which we can say we are made in God’s image.

So my questions are:

#1 – is there a general consensus in this area among Protestants? I wasn't even aware that this was debated.

#2 – can you point me to any credible Bible verses or theological writings that would support my friend's position?

I am always wanting to make sure I have my theology correct. The bible verses seem pretty convincing. All I have to rely on from my small library as far as men are concerned are: Bavinck, Calvin, John Frame, Berkhof, Barnhouse, Matthew Henry, John MacArthur, Arthur Pink, and John Gill. Only John Phillips is unclear on the issue, among those I have in my library. All the rest favor the viewpoint that I hold.

Any help would be appreciated! Many thanks.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
Hi Chris,

There's loads of previous posts on the PB. You might want to do a little searching. But, who knows? We might be up for a whole new go-a-round.

Ed
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
I guess it depends on what one means by "lost." Calvin, for example, does count the image of God in man practically obliterated, but still born by the soul of man (Institutes I.xv.1-4). Turretin states that "we affirm" that "Adam by his fall lost the image of God." Yet, he goes on to say:

By the divine image, we do not understand generally whatever gifts upright man received from God or specially certain remains of it existing in the mind and heart of man after the fall. Rather we understand it strictly of the principal part of that image which consisted of holiness and wisdom (usually termed original righteousness). In this sense, we treat of it in the present question.​
— Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology: First through Tenth Topics, ed. James T. Dennison, trans. George Musgrave Giger, vol. 1, 3 vols. (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1992), 612; emphasis added.​

Louis Berkhof says:

In connection with the question, whether the image of God belongs to the very essence of man, Reformed theology does not hesitate to say that it constitutes the essence of man. It distinguishes, however, between those elements in the image of God which man cannot lose without ceasing to be man, consisting in the essential qualities and powers of the human soul; and those elements which man can lose and still remain man, namely, the good ethical qualities of the soul and its powers. The image of God in this restricted sense is identical with what is called original righteousness. It is the moral perfection of the image, which could be, and was, lost by sin.​
— Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1938), 207.​

Robert Reymond says:

The image of God, reflected originally both by Adam and Eve as individuals and by the human community which they comprised in terms of a true knowledge of God and concern for justice for one’s neighbor, was immediately fractured and distorted​
— Robert Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1998), 447-48.​

Morton Smith says:

The image though not lost has been terribly marred, and thus man suffers the loss of some of the consequences of being the image of God, such as the loss of moral excellence, and the darkening of his reason, and the corruption of all his members. He still remains, however, the image of God.​
— Morton H. Smith, Systematic Theology, 2 vols. (Greenville, SC: Greenville Seminary Press, 1994), 240.​

So, in just looking around to find these quotes for about five minutes, it doesn't seem to me that there is any kind of Reformed "consensus" that the image of God in man was totally lost after the Fall, but only lost insofar as the moral qualities are concerned—according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, "righteousness, and holiness."
 

ccravens

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Chris,

There's loads of previous posts on the PB. You might want to do a little searching. But, who knows? We might be up for a whole new go-a-round.

Ed

My apologies! I forgot the first rule of question posting: check the search engine first. Most questions/topics have been covered.

Doing that now.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
A’ Brakel says the image is totally gone in Vol. I of TCRS. As Taylor has shown in Cavin, something similar can be seen in Brakel by reading sections starting at pg. 323 and also of pg. 389. However, I think it all depends on how one is using the phrase “image of God”. So I think most reformed would agree but it depends more on how one is defining “the image of God”, rather broadly or narrowly.

See here for a great short answer:


Please define "image of God?" If it is defined broadly, so as to include rationality and morality, yes, man is still the image of God in some sense (James 3:9). If it is defined narrowly, as being created in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, no, the image of God has been defaced in fallen man (Ps. 49:20; Col. 3:10).
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
Gordon H Clarke says the image of God in man is rationality. The fallen man is irrational for his god is his belly and his glory his shame (membrum virile). Since Jesus Christ is the Word he is also the Logic, the Reason, the Rationality, the Arhuement, the Way, the Truth and yes even the Life and the Light. Moral uprightness and rationality go hand in hand, for if Christ be in you, the truth destroys the lies of the flesh, for does light commune with darkness, nay it exposes it. Homosexuality is the apex of irrationality for their is no glory in it, it is the exchange of truth for a lie.
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
The fall of man is hence the defacing of perfect rationality and the innocence therein, the mind is fully persuaded of the flesh, the desirable ness of sin and so mans nature is totally depraved in extent not magnitude. The natural man is a dog and by Christ Jesus the King we grow up into his perfect and righteous humanity and enter into his gate.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Gordon H Clarke says the image of God in man is rationality.
I think that is part of it, but there is something else.

The sense of always seeking home, or the desire for peace or unity with creation, or the obvious fact that we by nature are looking for something to believe in and worship. Those things point to that "something" that distinguishes man from the beasts.

I forget who said it, but it goes something like this: "we all have a God-shaped hole that we are looking to fill." Of course, in our sin, we come up with thousands of bad ways to fill it.
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
I think that is part of it, but there is something else.

The sense of always seeking home, or the desire for peace or unity with creation, or the obvious fact that we by nature are looking for something to believe in and worship. Those things point to that "something" that distinguishes man from the beasts.

I forget who said it, but it goes something like this: "we all have a God-shaped hole that we are looking to fill." Of course, in our sin, we come up with thousands of bad ways to fill it.
There is heaven and there is earth , flesh and Spirit. Man in the fall lost his dominion over nature and yes even over the woman, who hence forth is more of a body and less a spirit unto his carnal mind. With the loss of dominion becomes the loss of physical and mental power, yet the desire to rule remains; the lust in mans members and his desire to rule ensures a perpetual state of war. Christ the King gives us dominion over our animal spirits, our lists and doggedness and shows us that unapproachable Light, the glory therein through a veil.
 

Von

Puritan Board Sophomore
Man in the fall lost his dominion over nature and yes even over the woman,
The man does not have dominion over the woman. The man is the head of the woman. Relating the relationship between man and woman to "dominion", places the woman in the category of the rest of creation, which I think is a bit problematic. Furthermore, God gave dominion over nature to both of them:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:
and have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air,
and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
(Gen 1:27-28)
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
A brother (in the Lord) and I are having a discussion about man being made in the image of God. I’ve always believed that the bible shows, and I’ve always read from others, that man was made in the image of God, but that image was corrupted by the Fall. Yet we still retain in us some of the image of God.
Confessionally, the Westminster Divines, in 4.2, speak of the image of God in terms of knowledge, righteousness, and holiness (Col 3:10; Eph 4:24).

2. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it: and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

Under chapter 6, the Westminster Divines address the fall of man and how it affected him without addressing the image of God directly. Most Reformed theologians speak of the image of God in fallen man as having been marred and/or defaced, but not as having been completely lost.

In his systematic theology Berkhof wrote, "But the image of God is not to be restricted to the original knowledge, righteousness, and holiness which was lost by sin, but also includes elements which belong to the natural constitution of man. They are elements which belong to man as man, such as intellectual power, natural affections, and moral freedom. As created in the image of God man has a rational and moral nature, which he did not lose by sin and which he could not lose without ceasing to be man. This part of the image of God has indeed been vitiated by sin, but still remains in man even after his fall in sin. Notice that man even after the fall, irrespective of his spiritual condition, is still represented as the image of God, Gen. 9;6; I Cor. 11:7; Jas. 3:9. The crime of murder owes its enormity to the fact that it is an attack on the image of God. In view of these passages of Scripture it is unwarranted to say that man has completely lost the image of God."

Fallen man does retain the image of God though marred, which according to Gen 9:6 is why murder is so heinous.
 
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jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
The topic has received attention in the last 10 years, particularly as this generation of theologians has considered the implications of the Imago Dei and the intellectually disabled (which makes capability and function difficult prerequisites). Here's a great example.
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
The man does not have dominion over the woman. The man is the head of the woman. Relating the relationship between man and woman to "dominion", places the woman in the category of the rest of creation, which I think is a bit problematic. Furthermore, God gave dominion over nature to both of them:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:
and have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air,
and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
(Gen 1:27-28)
Pardon my sloppy language, i did not mean it in the strict sense, but colloquially, as in the man is the glory of God and the woman is the glory of man, which is true after the fall, but nonetheless defiled by the fall; such that the headship of a man is naturally misued by the man and the woman naturally usurps it. I certainly do not tie in Eve with both of their dominion in the garden.
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
The topic has received attention in the last 10 years, particularly as this generation of theologians has considered the implications of the Imago Dei and the intellectually disabled (which makes capability and function difficult prerequisites). Here's a great example.
I read the article; i am confused by it. Can we not distinguish between the 5 senses, the brain, and perception; perception does not belong to the senses. If a child be deformed with mental disability, their brain completely nonfunctional, this does not mean they are thus irrational, for rationality belongs to perception not the brain and not the 5 senses. In essence, the child is most grievously cut off from the earth, from their body, from their 5 senses, yet they retain rationality (which i am taking to be the image of God), their mind and soul is still functioning normally and properly even though the mind-body connection is virtually dead. Having no a non functional brain can only mean one cannot make sense of the material world, physics, chemistry, biology, food and sex, but yet the spirit of the person can and is communing with other spirits. If we were take an optimistic view, we might say that such a person is communing with God in their spirit and not demons, nor Satan, nor the dead. I do believe that Spirit of Christ will not allow such persons to fall into darkness in their spirit. Every spirit has its being from God, and hence their must be some communion otherwise the person would cease to be.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I'll see if I can find the topic in the full-length manuscript. My gut tells me the rationality concept is an enlightenment construct?
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
I'll see if I can find the topic in the full-length manuscript. My gut tells me the rationality concept is an enlightenment construct?
I think most of the Fathers actually leaned pretty heavily on rationality (following Classical thought in general) in defining the Imago Dei.
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
I think most of the Fathers actually leaned pretty heavily on rationality (following Classical thought in general) in defining the Imago Dei.
The father of the natural man is the devil, the father of lies, so to be a fallen creature is to be deceived, to believe the lie, and lies, and hence to believe a lie is irrational; therefore sin is irrational; just as through the father of lies comes death, so through Christ comes truth, the Truth; John 17:17; Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. Christ is the Truth and the Word and the Logic, the Wisdom, the Reason, the Argument, the Conclusion, he is the power and wisdom of God unto men. Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. We as fallen daughters of Adam are by nature drawn to one sexually immorality and glorying therein, and two our Gods being our belly; thus the beautiful image bearer who was once fully rational and thus innocent, is now utterly irrational and like a brute beast made to be caught and destroyed. The irrationality of sin is crucified with Christ, we are crucified with Christ unto the cross, we are dead yet we live! Christ is guilty of for filling the whole law, condemned for his obedience and righteousness, and his soul is made an offering for our sin. The life of the body is in the blood, and the natural man seeks his own blood, the blood of others whether by malice or by sexual immorality, but the only man with blood that is precious and alive is Christ Jesus the King. The ground upon which we stand is no longer cursed for the earth has drunk its fill of the blood of Christ.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
The father of the natural man is the devil, the father of lies, so to be a fallen creature is to be deceived, to believe the lie, and lies, and hence to believe a lie is irrational; therefore sin is irrational; just as through the father of lies comes death, so through Christ comes truth, the Truth; John 17:17; Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. Christ is the Truth and the Word and the Logic, the Wisdom, the Reason, the Argument, the Conclusion, he is the power and wisdom of God unto men. Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. We as fallen daughters of Adam are by nature drawn to one sexually immorality and glorying therein, and two our Gods being our belly; thus the beautiful image bearer who was once fully rational and thus innocent, is now utterly irrational and like a brute beast made to be caught and destroyed. The irrationality of sin is crucified with Christ, we are crucified with Christ unto the cross, we are dead yet we live! Christ is guilty of for filling the whole law, condemned for his obedience and righteousness, and his soul is made an offering for our sin. The life of the body is in the blood, and the natural man seeks his own blood, the blood of others whether by malice or by sexual immorality, but the only man with blood that is precious and alive is Christ Jesus the King. The ground upon which we stand is no longer cursed for the earth has drunk its fill of the blood of Christ.
If this reply is directed at me (either to build on, or correct what I commented) I'm not sure I'm following you. What's the basic point you are making?
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
If this reply is directed at me (either to build on, or correct what I commented) I'm not sure I'm following you. What's the basic point you are making?
Ah; sin is irrational, sin and thus the irrationality of it is dealt with at the cross; pre eminence of the mind; just trying to support the rationality concept. Some may say what about feelings? Sensations come from the body and the conscience, accusing or excusing, gives or takes joy from the soul. Thus the will, the desires involve the mind. I do know not believe Adam knew God as we know Him, that is through Christ, and Adam had only the glory of God as displayed by creation, but with the latter mediated through the Spirit. We have more direct access unto the Father yet we are imprisoned in bodies of death, so our minds are not as attune to the natural order but the spiritual order, whereas Adam was the opposite. We and Adam both reason according to Logic, either well or poorly; Adam in the garden reasoned deductively from nature to God, but we who are in Christ reason inductively from the word to more broader spiritual understanding by the Spirit, the natural man and some Christians corporately taking care of natural revelation. We as Christians hence supply the spiritual capital to society, wherein if we do not supply it, the natural man decays and becomes unscientific and irrational.
 
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