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Imago Dei

Let’s explore what it means that God made humanity in His image, and how that impacts the way we view human life.

I cracked open my copy of Grudem’s Systematic Theology for a little help with this one.  He offered this as a working definition: The fact that man is in the image of God means that man is like God and represents God. Grudem points out that a complete understanding of the ways in which man is like God would demand a complete understanding of who God is and who man is.  The more we study Scripture, the more we’ll know, though our understanding will never be full.  But at least it can be said that any way in which men and women are like God is an aspect of their being in the image of God.  There are moral, spiritual, mental, relational, even physical aspects of being made in the image of God, but it must be made clear that humans bear the image of God by virtue of being the kind of thing they are, not from any acquired property (such as the ability to make choices, experience things, perceive things, demonstrate self-awareness, etc).

Since God created us in His image, we are more like our Creator than any aspect of creation – more like Him than the starry skies that leave us breathless, or snow capped mountain ranges that are so awe-inspiring.  Our being in the image of God gives us a dignity and significance that other aspects of creation do not have in the same fullness.  And even though our image bearing is marred by sin or some disability,every human “must be treated wit the dignity and respect that is due to God’s image-bearer.”  Abortion is an egregious offense against God that destroys that part of His creation with which He has most chosen to identify Himself and from which He receives the most delight and glory.  Abortion is stealing God’s glory.

Why do we defend life?

Why should we cherish and defend life?  As Christians we have a solid foundation for why we believe life is valuable.  Godless pro-lifers have to presuppose human rights and dignity.  They may have a moral framework, but it isn’t grounded in anything.  But as believers, the foremost reason that we cherish and defend life is that God does.  He calls us to be as He is.  “The pro-life movement and the Christian faith are synonymous.  Where there is one, there will be the other – for one cannot be had without the other.”*  God is the author and sustainer of life, and on human life God has placed His image, making it intrinsically valuable.  It was in response to His creation of man and woman that God said, “It is very good.”  Abortion, like other forms of homicide, is stealing God’s glory by destroying what He has created.


*George Grant, from Third Time Around: The History of the Pro-Life Movement from the First Century to the Present

A lot of the thoughts from this post(and future ones) are coming from Answering the Call: Saving Innocent Lives, One Woman at a Time by John Ensor.  I highly recommend it.