The Image of God in Man
Martin Luther: "If these powers [memory, will,
and mind] are the image of God, it will also follow that Satan was
created according to the image of God, since he surely has these natural
endowments, such as memory and a very superior intellect and a most
determined will, to a far higher degree than we have them" (Commentary
on Genesis, p. 61).
Heinrich Bullinger: "This depravation of our
nature is nothing else but the blotting out of God’s image in us. There
was in our father Adam before his fall the very image and likeness of
God; which image, as the apostle expoundeth it, was a conformity and
participation of God’s wisdom, justice, holiness, truth, integrity,
innocency, immortality, and eternal felicity. Therefore what else can
the blotting or wiping out of this image be but original sin; that is,
the hatred of God, the ignorance of God, foolishness, distrustfulness,
desperation, self-love, unrighteousness, uncleanness, lying, hypocrisy,
vanity ... ? This corrupt image and likeness is by propagation derived
into us all, [for] ... ‘Adam begat a son in his own similitude and
likeness’" (The Decades of Heinrich Bullinger, Third Decade, p.
Scottish Confession of Faith (1560) penned by
the "six Johns," including John Knox: "By which transgression, commonly
called original sin, was the image of God utterly defaced in man;
and he and his posterity of nature, became enemies of God, slaves to
Satan, and servants to sin" (Article 3).
William Perkins: "The image of God is nothing
else but a conformity of man unto God whereby man is holy as God is
holy: for Paul saith, Put on the new man, which after God, that is in
God’s image, is created in righteousness and holiness. Now I reason
thus: Wherein the renewing of the image of God in man doth stand,
therein was it at the first; but the renewing of God’s image in man doth
stand in righteousness and holiness: therefore God’s image wherein man
was created at the beginning, was a conformity to God in righteousness
and holiness. Now whether God’s image doth further consist in the
substance of man’s body and soul, or in the faculties of both, the
Scriptures speak not" (Works, vol. 1, pp. 150-151).
Paul Bayne, the successor of William Perkins
at the University of Cambridge: "The image of God is not to be conceived
in bodily things, as the anthropomorphites imagined, nor yet standeth in
the essence and faculties of the soul, as memory, reason, will, as
Augustine took it, for wicked men have these; nor in dominion and
rule, which made man as a little God amongst the creatures, for this is
a consequence that followed on the image; but as Paul teacheth, it
standeth in these divine qualities, which as certain signs and forms
express the divine nature, most holy, most just, so far as the Creator
can be figured forth in such a creature" (Comm. on Eph. 4:24).
Richard Sibbes: "Therefore, when you read of
the image of God in the New Testament [this would include I Cor. 11:7
and James 3:9], it must be understood of the image of God in Jesus
Christ, the second Adam. Now this image consists in knowledge, in
holiness and righteousness. If we compare Col. iii. [verse 10] with Eph.
iv. [verse 24], this was perfect in Christ, who was the image of his
Father, and we must be like Christ the second Adam in sanctification ...
When God set his image on the first Adam, it was rased, and decayed and
lost, by the malice of the devil ... For every man by nature carries
the nature of the devil on him, till the image of God be stamped on, and
the image of Satan rased out" (Works, vol. 4, pp. 260-261).
Westminster Larger Catechism: "After God had made all other
creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body
of the man out of the dust of the ground, and the woman of
the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable and
immortal souls [this is man’s constitution]; made them after
his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness
[this is the image of God in man]" (A. 17).
Thomas Vincent: "Q. 3. Wherein doth consist the image of God,
which was put upon man in his first creation? A. 1. Negatively, the
image of God doth not consist in any outward visible resemblance of his
body to God, as if God had any bodily shape. 2. Positively, the
image of God doth consist in the inward resemblance of his soul to God,
in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. 'Renewed in knowledge,
after the image of Him that created him' (Col. 3:10). 'Put on the new
man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness'
(Eph. 4:24). Q. 4. What is included in this image of God, in knowledge,
righteousness, and holiness, as man had it at first? A. The image of God
in man at the first doth include the universal and perfect rectitude of
the whole soul: knowledge in his understanding, righteousness in his
will, holiness in his affections" (The Shorter Catechism Explained
from Scripture, p. 48).
George Smeaton: "The image of God, in which
Adam was created, was replaced by the entire corruption of man's nature
(John 3:6). His understanding had been furnished with a true and saving
knowledge of his Creator and of spiritual things; his heart and will had
been upright; all his affections had been pure; and the whole man holy:
but, revolting from God by the temptation of the devil, the opposite of
all that image of God became his doleful heritage; and his posterity
derive corruption from their progenitor, not by imitation, but by the
propagation of a vicious nature, which is incapable of any saving
good. It is prone to evil, and dead in sin. It is not denied that there
still linger in man since the Fall some glimmerings of natural light,
some knowledge of God and of the difference between good and evil, and
some regard for virtue and good order in society. But it is all too
evident that, without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, men are
neither able nor willing to return to God, or to reform their natural
corruption" (The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, pp. 17-18).
R. L. Dabney: "This image [of God] has been
lost, in the fall, and regained, in redemption. Hence, it could not have
consisted in anything absolutely essential to man’s essence, because the
loss of such an attribute would have destroyed man’s nature. The
likeness which was lost and restored must consist, then, in some
accidens" (Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 293).
Arthur Custance: "It is not, therefore, the
possession of a faculty that constitutes in man the Imago Dei, but the
possession of a relationship ... [when a man is] born again,
something which sets him apart from all unredeemed men and makes him a
member of what is, in fact, a new species, the blameless family of God.
He becomes related as a son to the Father and knows it. He knows
it because the new spirit born within him bears witness to this fact in
a self-conscious way and because he is assured of it by the Holy Spirit
of God, whereby he cries, "Father" (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6)" (Man in
Adam and in Christ, Part 3, chapter 1, p. 9).
Harry Fernhout: "The search to locate the
image of God somewhere inside man can never become concretely
meaningful. It can never give us comfort and encouragement because it
is basically on the wrong track. The essence or heart of man cannot
be found by looking inside him at some of his faculties. Rather
the essence of man comes out in his way of relating to the bond with
which God ties man to Himself, the "Love me and keep my commandments."
When God’s Word tells us that we are His image-bearers, it wants us to
know not that we have certain qualities or abilities which remain vague
and difficult to relate to the bread and butter of daily living, but
that we, in the very way we are put together, in our whole way of living
and acting, must give a reflection of the king whom we serve" (Towards
A Biblical View of Man: Some Readings, eds. Arnold H. De Graaf and
James H. Olthuis [Toronto: AACS, 1978], p. 13).
Homer C. Hoeksema: "It is perhaps even well
not to speak of the image of God in the '[f]ormal' and 'material' sense,
though this distinction is much safer [than that of the image of God in
the broader and narrower sense]. For after all, the 'image of God in the
formal sense' is, strictly speaking, not the image of God in man, but
his capacity to be an image bearer. And as such, he may bear either the
image of God or the image of the devil. It is well, therefore, to
limit ourselves to the language of our Canons and to include in the
image of God only what this article [i.e. III/IV:1] included,
namely, the excellent spiritual, ethical gift which man forfeited
through his rebellion and fall" (The Voice of Our Fathers: An
Exposition of the Canons of Dordrecht, pp. 433-434).
For quotes on the image of God in the