What does created in God's image mean?


#1

Could it be that we are literally made in the image of the creator? Could it be that the human form pre-dates Adam; that Jesus had his earthly image from the beginning but not in fleshly form?
We think in linear time concepts – people are made in Genesis & Jesus doesn’t take on human form till the New Testament, so to speak – so we assume that Jesus came to earth in our image. But Jesus is eternal so to limit his bodily form to 33 years on earth may be completely wrong.
We are promised new incorruptible bodies after the resurrection of the dead – it seems our bodies will not be completely a thing of the earth age, but only changed. Jesus had a new body after the resurrection - maybe Jesus had that heavenly body always … & his heavenly image is the pattern for our earthly creation.
When we speak of God as having arms, a heart, eyes, ears etc we say we are anthropomorphizing God – creating him in our own image. But God does have arms & ears & a heart etc – Jesus.
Of course God is much more than that – but the bodily form Christ was to assume on earth may have been already existing – in fact it would have to be because God is eternal & unchanging.
If you know of biblical proof against this, please reply - Thanks - KJ


#2

I’m going to throw in what I’ve pieced together from my time at a catholic-relativist high school. It may be true, but if it is, it’s equal to anybody else’s truth, even if that truth is false.

Did you ever study Plato? We just read Sophie’s World, but here:

Socrates goes around looking for the absolute definition of something, making people look like morons because the guy who owns horses doesn’t know what a horse is.

Plato, student of Socrates, decides that hey, we all know what a horse is. We all have an image of the archetype horse in our minds. If a horse has a broken foot or a gash on its back, we still know it’s a horse. It can be mutilated or drunk or have a funny personality but we still can tell it’s a horse.

Maybe Jesus is the archetype, the perfect, the ideal, the image of the horse we have in our minds. We’re copies of that - horses of different colors and shapes and sizes and ages and stuff. But we’re all, in essence, horses, all made in the image of the archetype horse, the definition of a horse ( = Jesus).

There’s my two cents… and the pennies have maple leaves on them. Canadian money is as good as American money where I live. But not so much in the south. It is what it is; it may work, it may not.


#3

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body as he discusses this very topic in brilliant detail.


#4

When you read the bible you will see God’s emotions of rejoicing, pain, hurt, joy, anger, compassion and love. As God loves us so also are we fully capable of giving love. Man’s emotions and capacity to love are definitely shadowed in God’s image. Can animals love the least of Christ’s brothers as He does? Animals and all other objects on earth do not have the capacity to love or feel emotions similiar to God. Man does have the capacity through free will to love and man can feel emotions similiar to God’s emotions.


#5

Keeping in mind that God in His divine essence is pure spirit, being made in the image of God must have reference to that in us which is spirit and not matter. We resemble God in the we have intellect and free will–attributes of spirit, and of the human spiritual soul.


#6

I do think we are created in God’s image in free will, creativity, etc - but I’m wondering if Adam & Eve were created in the physical form that Christ was to assume on earth.
I’m wondering if ‘created in our image’ means literal as well as spiritual.


#7

God didn’t have a very good mirror;)


#8

Hey! Speak for yerself Steve!! forums.catholic.com/newreply.php?do=newreply&noquote=1&p=841776#


#9

:d :stuck_out_tongue: :slight_smile:


#10

[quote=kjmccool]I do think we are created in God’s image in free will, creativity, etc - but I’m wondering if Adam & Eve were created in the physical form that Christ was to assume on earth.
I’m wondering if ‘created in our image’ means literal as well as spiritual.
[/quote]

Well yes, in a sense, that goes without saying. God knows from all eternity the form of human beings*, and knows from all eternity that His Son will assume a human nature.

Since God does not exist in time, but eternity:
Before creation of the world, He could have shown the angels the Second Person of the Trinity in human form and said, “This is my beloved son. Worship Him.”

And some of the angels could have refused, thereby rejecting God. (Some theologians speculate that this is exactly what happened.)

*(Even if one assumes evolution of species to be correct, God would certainly have known and planned for the ultimate form that humanity would take.)


#11

Jim G - your last post puts into better words what I was trying to say.
Also - the water from the rock, the manna - there seem to be many forms that Jesus has taken on earth in order to help humanity.
On the other hand - the New Testament says that no one has ever seen God’s form - so since Jesus has had form on earth, and is God, but no one has seen God’s form, that is confusing also.
Of course we would say that is part of the Trinity - and the fact that Jesus’ form was flesh as well as spirit would be the Holy Spirit, 3rd in the Trinity.
Does that seem correct, theologically?


#12

RE: Evolution - I don’t know, I’m not a scientist - but evolution’s ‘proofs’ from what I’ve seen have only shown change within species. The missing link is still missing - there is no evidence of evolution from one species into another and I think there may never be, because the Bible is clear in Genesis that God created things to reproduce after their own kind.

An interesting thing aout the Bible to me is that it is parrallel to science - there is so much in the Bible about natural history that we know to be true. If you make an exception for miracles, no where does the Bible contradict science except in evolution of species.
Even the Big Bang - Genesis says the universe did come into existence at once - God spoke & Bang, it happened! :smiley:


#13

Hi Kim,

Since God is a pure spirit, we are created in his image as far as our spiritual being is concerned. Our spiritual being consists of two things : intelligence and will. In this we ressemble God. We possess in a limited way what God **is **in an infinite way.God’s act of creation is a pure act of love. As well, since God maintains us in being, his act of love is continuous.

Contrary to popular thinking, God cannot be unhappy or angry, or whatever. God is unchangeable. He has no emotions. God’s love is infinite, but it is something that , with our limited understanding, we cannot understand. When the bible attributes emotions to God, it is speaking in a human way, so that we can understand certain things better.

However, one of his greatest acts of love is that he became incarrnate, took on a human nature, so that he could feel our emotions.Now that his humanity has been glorified by our resurrection, Jesus can no more suffer or feel negative emotions… So it is not correct to say that our sins “hurt” Jesus. They are, however, part of the burden that he assumed during his passion. So we can say, that, in a certain way, we were the cause of his suffering.

Does this answer your question?

Verbum


#14

Verbum - I’m not sure how your reply addresses my Q - but I’m confused as to how we as emotional beings are to relate to a God who has no emotions or feelings.
Yes, love is a verb, but isn’t it also an emotion?
I think the idea of a God that can’t change is overstated. Obviously there is change in God because at one point he created time, us, the universe etc.
At another point he sent his son to earth & the veil was rent.
These are changes of a sort, even in an eternal sense.


#15

[quote=kjmccool]I do think we are created in God’s image in free will, creativity, etc - but I’m wondering if Adam & Eve were created in the physical form that Christ was to assume on earth.
I’m wondering if ‘created in our image’ means literal as well as spiritual.
[/quote]

No for that one would have to place a finite quality on God. Now it is true that some religions believe that God was human first and for that you would have to go to the LDS thread. But basically, we consider God to be an infinite spirit, the Creator. He has no need to create himelf though. If the image was literal, God would have to create himself first as a human being, begging the question of where did the physical matter to do so come from?


#16

[quote=kjmccool]Jim G - your last post puts into better words what I was trying to say.
Also - the water from the rock, the manna - there seem to be many forms that Jesus has taken on earth in order to help humanity.
On the other hand - the New Testament says that no one has ever seen God’s form - so since Jesus has had form on earth, and is God, but no one has seen God’s form, that is confusing also.
Of course we would say that is part of the Trinity - and the fact that Jesus’ form was flesh as well as spirit would be the Holy Spirit, 3rd in the Trinity.
Does that seem correct, theologically?
[/quote]

The Trinity as well as the timelessness of God are the things that make this difficult to understand. (But of course we are only finite, so we won’t understand it completely.)

No one has seen God’s form because he is pure Spirit.
Yet the Son did take on a human nature while remaining fully God. But God’s essence is spirit, not matter.

The Second Person of the Trinity flows from the Father’s knowing Himself. He speaks his Word. The Third Person of the Trinity, the Spirit, flows from the love of the Father and Son. Distinct persons. One nature.

I think the idea of a God that can’t change is overstated. Obviously there is change in God because at one point he created time, us, the universe etc.
At another point he sent his son to earth & the veil was rent.
These are changes of a sort, even in an eternal sense.

These are temporal changes; but from God’s viewpoint, there is no time separating them. To God, each event in ‘time’ (which is his creation) is now.


#17

JimG -
yes, since God is in eternal now-ness there is no change - its all eternity.
Thats a hard one for humans, or me anyway, to grasp because we are so tuned into time, the death of loved ones, our pending death, etc. Time has us in its grip, or so it feels.


#18

Honeybear -
I did not mean to imply that God was human first - only that God knew, before creating Adam & Eve, what human form Jesus would eventually take, & so Adam could have been created literally in the image of Jesus - in the image that would eventually be born in Bethlehem, ie the human form.

I do not think God is flesh at all - God is spirit.
I don’t think Jesus is flesh either - only that he took on flesh & blood for our sakes.

But the Bible says we will have new bodies & I wonder if those will be spirit bodies that resemble our human bodies but are perfect, & not flesh, ie not corruptible.
It seems like nothing in God’s plan is ever wasted.


#19

I think people really put God into suspect when they imply that God does not take great joy in mankind’s free willed love for God. If God does not take great joy when His People choose to love Him through obedience, then why did God allow the horrible biproduct of free will which is hatred, sin and damnation. God feels our love for Him and He feels it when we hate Him.

INT 1JO 5:3

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.INT JOH 14:15

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

NAB JOH 15:22

"If I had not come to them and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; now, however, their sin cannot be excused. To hate me is to hate my Father. Had I not performed such works among them as no one has ever done before, they would not be guilty of sin; but as it is, they have seen, and they go on hating me and my Father."
NAB DEU 5:9

". . . you shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishments for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation but bestowing mercy, down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments."
NAB JOH 14:21

"He who obeys the commandments he has from me is the man who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father. I too will love him and reveal myself to him."
NAB DEU 30:15 The Choice before Israel.

"Here then, I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live

NAB SIR 15:11 Man’s Free Will.

Say not: “It was God’s doing that I fell away”; for what he hates he does not do. Say not: “It was he who set me astray”; for he has no need of wicked man. Abominable wickedness the LORD hates, he does not let it befall those who fear him. When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice. If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will. There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him.
NAB SIR 35:1

To keep the law is a great oblation, and he who observes the commandments sacrifices a peace offering. In works of charity one offers fine flour, and when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise. To refrain from evil pleases the LORD, and to avoid injustice is an atonement. Appear not before the LORD empty handed, for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts. The just man’s offering enriches the altar and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High. The just man’s sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten. In generous spirit pay homage to the LORD, be not sparing of freewill gifts. With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy. Give to the Most High as he has given to you generously, according to your means. For the LORD is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold.NAB SIR 17:17

A man’s goodness God cherishes like a signet ring, a man’s virtue, like the apple of his eye.
NAB EZE 18:23

Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?

NAB BAR 4:11

With joy I fostered them; but with mourning and lament I let them go. Let no one gloat over me, a widow, bereft of many: For the sins of my children I am left desolate, because they turned from the law of God, and did not acknowledge his statutes; In the ways of God’s commandments they did not walk, nor did they tread the disciplined paths of his justice.

NAB MAT 23:37

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murderess of prophets and stoner of those who were sent to you! How often have I yearned to gather your children, as a mother bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused me.

Please visit Choices Of The Heart


#20

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