The Image of God – Short Exegetical Version

We (mankind) were created in the image of God.

We were created in a position of authority, enjoyment, and responsibility over the physical world.

God is ruler over all, but we were made rulers over the Earth. It is ours to enjoy, ours to subjugate, and ours to rehabilitate.

God made us garderners not so that we would be enslaved by the land, but so that we would enjoy the good things of creation, with his blessing. It is only because of Adam’s sin that fulfilling this creation mandate has become laborious.

You’ll hear a lot of other explanations for the “image of God,” but the bottom line is that the only exegetical explanation is: dominion.

Genesis 1:26-31
26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

In the original reference, the immediate context is authority/dominion, enjoyment, and responsibility. Man was to subdue the earth, enjoy the garden, and care for it.

1Co 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

And again, the “image of God” is about authority, dominion, right of enjoyment, and responsibility for care. The woman was created for the man, and, thus, the husband/wife relationship is itself an image of the God/man relationship.

I note there are two other passages that mention the phrase, “image of God,” but they are not especially relevant to this particular discussion:

2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:


2 Responses to “The Image of God – Short Exegetical Version”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Gordon Clark says the image of God in man is rationality (I think–don’t have a quote).–Godith

  2. Turretinfan Says:

    He’s not neccessarily wrong (though that’s not the central aspect): rationality is a key component to the task of ruling/providing.The ECF who said it was “free will” was not necessarily wrong either, as making choices is also a key component, but again – not the central aspect.Doubtless Clark would point out that the choices would be rational choices, and that Christ the Logos was the Image of God (thereby tying in those other two verses).-Turretinfan

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