Made In The Image Of God: Unveiling The Meaning Of Imago Dei

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Published by Shannon Jacobs



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Why is humankind so unique? Why do we possess qualities that set us apart from other creatures? The answer lies in our divine image. God created us in his own likeness.

The Bible reveals that we are made in the image of God. Understanding our divine origin is of utmost importance in the Christian faith. It allows us to grasp the theological significance behind our existence, as holiness is emphasized in biblical texts. In the New Testament, Jesus himself referred to this concept of our divine origin, highlighting its relevance for Christians today in understanding the invisible god.

When we delve into systematic theology, we uncover a profound truth: being made in God’s image is not just about physical resemblance but also about reflecting his character and attributes. This original design defines who we are at our core and shapes our journey toward becoming a new self.

Man Is Made In The Image Of God: Biblical Perspective

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.

— Genesis 1:26–27 (ESV)

The Bible, particularly the book of Genesis, provides an account of humanity’s creation in the image of God. In Genesis 1:27, it is written that we are made in the image of God. This ancient narrative sheds light on our unique nature as humans and our divine resemblance.

Examining the Genesis account of creation[1] reveals that God intentionally crafted humans, in accordance with the teachings of the Bible, to bear his likeness. Humanity thus stands apart as a reflection of God’s divine nature. This distinction sets us apart from all other earthly beings.

In Genesis 1:28, God blessed humankind, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’

Linking humanity’s nature to divine attributes, this biblical narrative highlights our connection to God Himself. The history recorded in the Bible’s creation story emphasizes that humans are not mere products of chance or evolution but intentionally made by God. We carry within us a spark of divinity that sets us apart from everything else on Earth.

The concept of being made in the image of God carries profound implications for understanding our purpose and value as humans. It signifies that each individual possesses inherent dignity and worth, irrespective of external factors or societal standards. This truth has resonated throughout time, shaping religious beliefs and moral frameworks across cultures, as seen in the Bible’s book of Genesis.

In Psalm 8:5, King David marvels at the exalted position of humans, declaring, “You have made them a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.” This poetic expression captures the awe-inspiring reality that we, as Christians, are partakers in something greater than ourselves through Jesus.

However, this biblical narrative also acknowledges the fallibility of humans due to sin. Despite being created in the image of God, Christians are prone to err and deviate from goodness. Yet even amidst these shortcomings, there is hope for redemption through faith in Jesus and reconciliation with God.

The Imago Dei And Human Dignity

Recognizing the inherent worth and value of every human being is at the core of the doctrine of Imago Dei. This belief upholds that all individuals, regardless of their differences, possess a unique dignity as they are made in the likeness of God. It challenges us to honor and respect humans for who they are, just as Jesus did.

In understanding the Imago Dei, we come to appreciate the true image that each human being, with their humanity and likeness to Jesus, represents. This recognition calls us to uphold human rights, acknowledging that every individual, regardless of race, gender, or any other characteristic, deserves peace, freedom, and wholeness. Discrimination goes against this fundamental principle.

The concept of Imago Dei offers a powerful lens through which humans view themselves and Jesus. It reminds us that each person carries a likeness to God within them—an essence that should be honored and protected. By embracing this perspective, we can foster a society where diversity is celebrated rather than feared.

In today’s world, where technological advancements like transhumanism challenge our perception of human nature, the doctrine of Imago Dei becomes even more relevant. It serves as a reminder that despite our advancements and potential enhancements, our shared humanity, in the image and likeness of Jesus, remains sacred to us humans.

Upholding respect for all people, regardless of their differences, not only promotes equality but also nurtures a sense of community and compassion. When we recognize the immeasurable value present in each person’s life, it becomes easier to build bridges instead of walls. This understanding aligns with the teachings of Jesus and reflects the likeness of humanity.

hands doing pottery and made in the image of god

The Imago Dei And Human Relationships

Recognizing the sacredness of every human connection is at the core of understanding the concept of being made in the image of God. As humans, we are unique beings created in divine likeness, reflecting the very nature of our Creator. This understanding should shape how we approach our relationships with others and embrace our shared humanity.

Promoting love, compassion, and empathy towards every human becomes imperative when we acknowledge that each person carries this inherent value. It means treating every individual with kindness and respect, regardless of their background or beliefs. By embracing this mindset, we foster an environment where healthy relationships with God can flourish.

Building healthy relationships based on mutual respect is essential for nurturing connections that honor the image of God within each human. It involves valuing the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of others while also expressing ourselves honestly and authentically. When we prioritize respect in our interactions, it creates a foundation for trust and understanding to grow.

The Imago Dei reminds us that our relational capacity extends beyond just interactions with fellow humans. We are called to extend love and care to all living beings, including animals in the natural world. By recognizing their intrinsic worth as part of God’s creation, we develop a sense of responsibility toward them and appreciate the value of every earthly being made by God.

The Imago Dei And Christ’s Redemption

And we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

— 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)

Impact Of Sin On Distorting The Imago Dei

Sin has had a profound impact on distorting the Imago Dei, the image in which humanity was created. The consequences of sin have marred this divine reflection, leading to brokenness and separation from God. Our inherent worth and dignity as bearers of God’s image have been tarnished by our disobedience.

Jesus’ Role In Restoring Humanity To Its Original State

In this fallen state, we find hope in Jesus Christ, who came to restore us to our original state of communion with God. In him, we have access to God’s grace. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus offers redemption and reconciliation for all who believe in him. He is the bridge that reconnects us with our Creator and restores God’s image within us.

Finding Hope And Transformation

Through faith in Christ, we can experience a transformative journey toward restoration. His redemptive work brings healing to our human brokenness and renews our identity as children made in the image of God. In communion with him, we discover a renewed purpose and are empowered to live out this restored human image.

By embracing Christ’s redemption, we can find forgiveness from God for our sins and be set free from their burden. We no longer need to be defined by our past mistakes but can embrace a new identity found in him, the image of God. As we rest in his grace and love, we are continually transformed into his likeness through the Holy Spirit.

paint brush smeared with paint and made in the image of god


Bearing God’s image holds immense significance for humanity. Being made in the image of God means we have a responsibility to reflect his attributes in our lives and relationships.

Our interactions with other people should be guided by love, compassion, and respect. When we recognize the value of every person as a bearer of God’s image, it compels us to fight against injustice and promote equality for all.

Hence, let us strive to glorify God and live out our calling as human beings made in his image. By doing so, you contribute to creating a world where every human is valued and cherished.

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