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Why Every Life Is Valuable, Imago Dei - PART 1

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Why Every Life Is Valuable, Imago Dei - PART 1

Genesis 1:27

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them. (ESV)

Human life has become cheap. When public officials and lawmakers stand and applause for the passing of a law that allows the murderous taking of the life of infants moments before exiting the womb, we may be sure that the moral and spiritual degradation of such leaders is complete. Furthermore, we may be more assured of the judgment of God than the coming of tomorrow. Islam murders thousands in their quest for world domination while the nations of the West stand by confused as to whether they deserve to survive, having lost their spiritual and moral vision. Renewed Communism ravages Venezuela stealing life and wealth from everyone in its path while many of the younger generations of America, having been robbed of their spiritual and cultural legacy cheer. A seismic shift has occurred in our cultural consciousness. In stark contrast, the Bible teaches that every life is valuable before God because it is made in the image of God, and therefore, every person should be valuable to us as well.  

The Meaning of God’s Image

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? 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).

God created man. Man (Adam) was formed from the dirt of the ground. It was within man that God breathed the breath of life giving him a “living soul” (Gen. 2:27). It was to man that responsibility was given to manage the creation (Gen. 1:28). Man was granted the honor of fellowship with God and the ability to worship Him. In other words, mankind, not animals and vegetation, was created with a rational mind, a moral conscience, and the spiritual ability to know his Creator. This is what it means to be made in the image of God (imago Dei). 

Within the imago Dei is the purpose of mankind’s creation, i.e., to reflect his Creator. Man was to be an ‘icon’ that points to his Maker. By the term ‘icon’ we do not mean that mankind is to be the object of worship (as in Humanism) but that mankind was made to reference and reflect the glory of God. As Moses did to Pharaoh (Ex.7:1), man was to stand in the stead of God to God’s creation. Mankind was to be God’s steward, His representative. This is one reason why it is wrong to make ‘idols.’ Idols are images. God created His own image bearer to point others to Him - mankind. This is what it means to be created in the image of God. 

God’s Image and Murder

By being the imago Dei, man is endowed with a certain dignity demonstrated by his unique creation and role within God’s plan. A related issue must be considered here, i.e., how the murderous taking of a human life relates to man’s inherent dignity. The Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). can be traced directly to mankind’s innate value because he was made in the image of God. To murder a human being is to lash out at the image of God, and therefore, by extension to God Himself. All humanity was created in the image of God. This is exactly the idea behind James 3:7-9. It is not happenstance that as men and women in our culture have forgotten God’s Word as their guide every sort of inhuman act toward their fellow man has become commonplace. Children, the aged, the mentally ill, and the poor are not respected and valued but are increasingly seen as easy prey for a progressively predatory society. Such leaders are quickly dismantling the foundations of civilization built by adherence to Biblical and common humane concepts of right and wrong because of their bloodlust for power and privileged. In stark contrast to the increasingly raw depravity that is on the rise, stands the spirituality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Image of the Invisible God (Col. 1:15-20). The Bible calls out the depravity and rebellion of mankind by declaring the will of our Creator at the beginning. God declares that every life is valuable before Him because it is made in His image. Because this is true every person regardless of status, size or skin should be valuable to us as well.   

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

SES | Coggins Courier | revised, 2-2019

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