Dignity and Destiny, Part 2

The following is the second in a two-part review of John Kilner’s new book entitled Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God (Eerdmans, 2015). This review was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2015 (Vol. 4.1) issue of the Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability (JCID), for which I serve as Book Review Editor. Information on the JCID, including subscriptions and downloadable articles, can be obtained at http://www.joniandfriends.org/jcid/


My last post (“Dignity and Destiny, Part 1,” January 14, 2015) traced John Kilner’s argument that creation in the image of God has to do more with God’s intentions for us—to be conformed to the image of Christ—than it does with our present capacities or functional abilities. For Kilner, the “image of God” is not a substantial (physical) object to which one can point, or a degreed property of which one can have more or less. Instead, it is a fixed and invariable standard—namely, (the person of) Christ himself—to which people made “in,” or “according to,” that image, and who have “embraced” their intended destiny through faith in Christ, are being conformed over time. At present, sin interferes with our ability to reflect godly attributes; it does not, however, affect either the “image of God” itself, or humanity’s status as created in (according to) that image. Consequently, a lack of present capacities or functions on the part of any individual human being cannot be taken as evidence that that individual somehow fails to be “in,” or to “bear,” the image of God.

In the book’s concluding chapter, Kilner lays out a few of the implications of the foregoing theological investigation.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.