The Imago Dei: Surveying the Options

This Sunday, I will preach on Genesis 1:26-28 and what it means to be made in God’s image.

This is a rich concept and one that has gone through a number of phases. In the early church, theologians conceived of the imago Dei as an essential aspect of humanity. More recently, functional definitions of man’s dominion over the earth have been considered the norm for what makes men and women ‘image-bearers.’  Still, these are not the only views on the matter. Taking his cues from the male-female division in humanity, Karl Barth suggested a relational view of the imago Dei.

So which is it? Could it be all the above? Is there another option not yet mentioned?

Marc Cortez, professor of theology at Wheaton College, has helpfully surveyed the options in his book Theological Anthropology: A Guide for the Perplexed  (see ch. 2, pp. 14-40). In what follows, I will outline his survey. Tomorrow I will consider his own covenantal proposal.  Continue reading