The idea that human beings are made in the image of God is foundational for all of Christian bioethics. Sometimes such a foundational idea becomes so much a part of how we think that it is easy to forget that it could be misunderstood in ways that are quite harmful. In his book, Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God, John Kilner has taken a very careful and detailed look at what the scripture says about this vital concept which has indeed been misunderstood in harmful ways at times.
Three ideas stood out to me as I read:
1. Jesus is the perfect image of God.
2. Being made in (or according to) the image of God means that human beings have a special connection to God which confers dignity on every human being.
3. We have been created with an intent that we will be a reflection of God’s glory as our ultimate destiny.
In Jesus we see what being the image of God really means. Being like Jesus is what we aspire to as we are transformed by God into what he desires for us to be.
In being made in the image of God we have a connection to God that is not lessened by the Fall. Even though we are sinful and fall far short of actually reflecting the glory of God as we are now, being an image of God is what we were made to be and that is something that gives worth to every human being no matter how much we now fall short of what were intended to be.
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.