RE: [asa] The image of God- question for Lamoureux

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Thu Oct 08 2009 - 12:18:50 EDT

George said: "My own view is that the image of God refers to the commission given humanity to represent God in ruling/caring for creation - "let them have dominion &" helps to explain the concept. "

Did that commission happen at one time for all existing humans, or is it an emergent thing, as they are gradually given representation for God as their capabilities (in intellect, etc.) emerge? One is a direct action by God, the other is sort of built into the system (like fully gifted creation). Since we know that man gradually evolved, an emergence seems rational. Otherwise, you have God looking at the intermediate state of mankind, in various stages within the population, then saying "OK, now is my time to bestow my image upon them all." That would seem to be arbitrary, as if one year prior wasn't good enough, but waiting for the next year might have been too much of a delay.


From: George Murphy []
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 8:57 AM
To: Dehler, Bernie
Subject: Re: [asa] The image of God- question for Lamoureux

Bernie -

Since you mention me, let me jump in. It's clear from the use of the plural "them" and the phrase "male and female he created them" in Gen.1:26-28 that the reference is to humanity in general and not just to a single male human. Thus it is proper to translate 'adham in v.26 as "humankind" as NRSV does. (Of course that can also be the sense of "man" in the older KJV.) It's a bit confusing that the male singular is also used in v.27 but it's possible to read this as Westermann does in his Genesis 1-11, "according to the image of God he created it" - "it" being "humanity. Hebrew has no neuter 3d person pronoun. Or the use of the singular my emphasize that each individual shares in the image.

It's open to harmonizers to argue that "male and female" refer to Adam and Eve, not humankind in general. But that's artificial since the 1st creation account knows nothing of individuals named Adam and Eve.

My own view is that the image of God refers to the commission given humanity to represent God in ruling/caring for creation - "let them have dominion &" helps to explain the concept. But the old idea that it means rationality isn't completely off base since humans have to be rational to exercise such regency.

All the speculations aside, nothing is said in Genesis about humanity losing the image of God, how much of it was lost, etc. As a matter of fact that whole idea of humanity as the image of God isn't pursued in the OT. It gets picked up in the NT where Christ is the true image of God - which means that Christ, not "Adam", shows us what humanity is supposed to be.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dehler, Bernie" <<>>
Cc: <<>>
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 10:37 AM
Subject: [asa] The image of God- question for Lamoureux

>I was just reviewing "the image of God" from my favorite textbook and theologian "Christian Theology" by Millard J. Erickson, and I think it leads me to a fascinating question for Denis Lamoureux and his theories.
> Millard describes the three views/theories of "the image of God,' labeled "substantive, relational, and functional." He also says all three views are not completely satisfying (pg. 517 chapter summary), then gives a detailed analysis using Scripture with his own opinion.
> So it seems to me, after looking at Millard's discussion, that the image of God is completely spiritual (as well as a mystery), and in no way can be scientifically measured, etc. (just like the existence of God, the Devil, etc.).
> However- this does pose a very interesting question for Denis Lamoureux. As I understand Denis, he says "there is no Adam" just like there is no firmament. Can we go farther? The only mention of "made in the image of God" is also from the same passage! No firmament, no literal man named Adam... why not also no literal 'image of God' given at one point. Wouldn't that be consistent? It is all Gen. chapter 1! Shouldn't the same hermeneutic be used on the whole chapter?
> Also- since we know that God made humans biologically through evolution, and there is no literal Adam, that means to give 'man and woman' an 'image of God' it would likely have been given to all people everywhere at that point. This solves the problem of man one man being picked as a representative, then trying to figure out how some humans have the image and some don't, and how the image descends to children. So giving the 'image' all at one to all humans at one time means there was no single guy picked-out, contrary to Dick Fischer's thesis. So _with_biological_evolution_, we have these choices for theology:
> 1. "Image" given at one time to all humans, and their descendents. Who teaches this view SPECIFICALLY (I don't know)? This way, there's no mystery as to how descendents get it... they just get it by birth. (I think George Murphy would likely accept this, amongst many other possible theories too.)
> 2. "Image" given to one representative person, with mystery as to how descendents and peers get it (Dick Fisher, and Roman Catholic church?).
> 3. "Image" is figurative like the firmament. It just describes our God-like attributes (love, compassion, intelligence, etc.). (This is MY extension of Lamoureux's work, although I'm not a believer, it would have been my theory if I remained). This is consistent with saying 'there is no literal Adam like there is no literal firmament.' In this sense, the image is from EMERGENCE. Humans are accountable to sin to the degree that they are able to perceive it (Luke 12). It is a figurative term for a capability/structure that humans have, as it is a part of their structure/make-up (MADE in the image of God).
> Luke 12:
> 47"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
> Interesting quote:
> RE: Millord pg. 536 in summary:
> "The image is universal in humankind. It was to Adam, human, that the image was given. Whether one regards him as the first human being or as a representative or symbolic being, "Adam" was the whole human race and "Eve" was the mother of all living.
> After this discussion finishes up, I'd like to next talk about "the entrance of sin" into the world in regards to evolution (so please save that for later).
> ...Bernie
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Received on Thu Oct 8 12:19:47 2009

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