Why Every Life Is Valuable, Imago Dei - PART 2


Why Every Life Is Valuable, Imago Dei  - PART 2

In the issue of the Coggins Courier, we considered what it means to be created in the image of God. We noted that Carl F. Henry summarizes the Protestant Reformed view of mankind being made in the image of God (imago Dei, Latin for “image of God”) as, “By the imago the Protestant Reformers understood especially humankind’s state of original purity, in accordance with Genesis 1 and 2, wherein Adam is depicted as fashioned for rational, moral, and spiritual fellowship with his Maker.” (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Elwell). Not only did we discuss the meaning of imago Dei we began applying this important doctrine to human life. By doing this we see that all human life has inherent value because we were created in God’s image. We found that since all human life is valuable God forbids murder of any kind. God’s Image and Men and Women

What remains is for us to apply the doctrine of imago Dei as God’s Word does to the sexes and to marriage. First, it includes both men and women. This is not to imply that women and men have the same role within the created order but to state emphatically that both are made in God’s image. Both are endowed with inherent dignity and equal value as human beings before the Creator. Each has been made by their Creator to serve Him in differing ways. This may be observed in the creation account in the first two chapters of Genesis.

Consider some facts gleaned from the Genesis account. The man was created first, denoting a certain amount of separateness, possibly even suggesting God’s intention that he, the man, be the spiritual leader in the home. Secondly, Adam was permitted to experience a brief time of existence without the woman, Eve. Though a subtle point, it should not be dismissed. God could have just as easily made them together but He did not. He allowed Adam to name the animals and feel the loneliness and incompleteness of life without womankind thus suggesting the significant role that womankind was going to play as a human being. It was here, at the point of Adam’s loneliness and incompleteness that God uttered His only malediction during the creation record. God said, “It is not good that man is alone.” She is a “help suitable for him.” This is not suggesting indignity or even servanthood. When Adam saw Eve, he did not utter, “Great! I have a servant!” his words are filled with meaning which attributes to her great honor and value, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh if my flesh.” What did this mean to Adam? It is clear. Adam was recognizing Eve’s inherent dignity and worth as being imago Dei as himself. 

Consider as well how God chose to create the woman. She is not made from nothing. She is not made from clay as Adam was. She is made from the man. God’s choice of creative material is clearly meant to be didactic. She is meant to feel a sense of loyalty and duty to her husband as he is to value her and care for her. 

The creation account is rich with instruction for ‘the modern person,’ that is, if we have not gotten, to use the old metaphor, “Too big for our trousers.” God has bestowed the greatest honor and dignity possible to mankind by creating man in His own image. This great honor elevates man in his inherent value and places upon him many solemn privileges and responsibilities. One might summarize by combining two of the great Latin phrases used for centuries by the church of Jesus Christ, imago Dei soli Deo gloria, “the image of God for the glory of God alone.” The creation account is rich with instruction for ‘the modern person,’ that is, if we have not gotten, to use the old metaphor, “Too big for our trousers.”     



SES | Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary | 6-27-2008

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