Unlike what I (we) believed when we were younger (read spiritually younger), with a little more study and thought, it is evident that the idea of the Image of God is possibly a little more complex than the traditional understandings passed down from the pulpit.
To better understand this comlex theme, I’m beginning to take notes of various ideas floating, to help me better understand this theme. As it will be evident, it is a work in progress and must be treated as such.
WHAT IS THE IMAGE OF GOD: Functional, ontological and theological
Functional: It is a representation of the authority of God, here, the history of ANE cultures helps to remind us that there was a practice of setting up poles or images as marks of authority/rule in large lands. This must certainly be one, if not the, meaning intended.
Ontological: Are we like God in everything, or in something (but the key word is “thing”). Is there something, anything, everything of us that resembles God’s being?
One view that the whole being made in God’s image… (even looks)
(cf. Ps. 94:8-9) it is not that God is like us, but that we are like God
rejecting the idea that there is (only) a part in us that is the image
cf. Silva, God, Language and Scripture, p. 208ff
For silva, Linguistic… that we can speak/communicate… distinguishes us from other lower-order beings. (207) and thought… in an ‘adult’ sense…
(but this is becoming exceedingly ‘verbal’ cognitive… is this the truth?)
linguistic/rationality is important… since it is the filter to access truth. It is in itself not the truth… only the WORD of God is both the medium and the message, the method (way) and the truth and the life
Personally, it is safer perhaps to assume that human beings in totality are made in God’s image… b/c then it is not just the linguistic or the rationale or the relational aspect that is central, but a holistic combination of all factors that make us human beings, including our gender.
Theological: Yet to bring it together, even if man was not entirely unique and there were other creatures equally like him, there remains the bond of election… where scripture clearly depicts the human being as created in god’s image as a mark of God’s elected purpose. It is thus it is also in that election we see we are God’s image; because the creature deems us to be so (who are we to critique the artist, his vision, when we are the work of art (the pots). What painting can go to the artist and say that I am not a tree as you say but a river, just because the painting doesn’t feel/look like a tree?) In matters of likeness, the creature, artist reserves the right to name the painting/artwork… and in this instance, the creature has named us his image (where we think we are or not).