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Image of God.

1. God created man in His image, and man was “very good” (Gn 1:27, 31). Man was distinguished from other creatures by an excellence all his own, for he was made in the image of God. This image was not of the essence of man's nature, nor was it a gift to man after creation; it was a concreated quality.

2. Luth. theologians gen. hold that the image of God, which consists in the knowledge of God and holiness of the will, is lacking in man after the Fall (Cl 3:10; Eph 4:24). Some hold that Gn 9:6 and Ja 3:9 ascribe a divine image to man after the Fall, namely that the intellect and will of man constitute a similitude with God; those who reject this view (e.g., F. A. Philippi,* G. Hoffmann*) interpret Gn 9:6 and Ja 3:9 as referring to the image that is to be restored again in Christ.

3. Some theologians speak of the image of God in a wider sense, namely, inasmuch as man, even after the Fall, is still an intellectual, self-determining, rational being who feebly rules over other creatures. Others use the term only in the narrow sense; they point out that the upright body and the rational soul with its human understanding, affections, and will, woefully corrupt as a result of sin, are still the constituent elements of the human nature and therefore must not be considered as being the divine image or parts thereof. Conscience* and the Moral Law, whereby man is distinguished from brutes in his present state, cannot be subsumed under the image of God.

4. “In his original state, man was not only sound in body and soul, without a germ of disease or death, or a taint of sin, but endowed with concreated spiritual wisdom and knowledge, and with perfect natural righteousness, goodness, and holiness, in the image and likeness of the Triune God.…

“While Christ's obedience imputed to us constitutes a perfect righteousness in the sight of God, our own obedience, or the righteousness inherent in us, must, on account of the residue of sinful flesh still active within us, remain imperfect in this life—justitia inchoata—, the beginning only of the restitution of the divine image in the regenerate being made in this temporal life.” A. L. Graebner,* Outlines of Doctrinal Theology, pars. 70, 156.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
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Content Reproduced with Permission

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