Christian Cyclopedia

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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.


In broad sense, an image is any representation of men, animals, plants, etc. (pictures, statues, paintings, photographs, mosaics). In religious context “image” gen. refers to representations of Christ or of saints. Improper use (i. e. worship) of images is forbidden Ex 20:4–5. But the Bible nowhere forbids proper use of images, i. e. as reminders of Christ and saints, and so as aesthetic aids to devotion.

Paintings in the catacombs* at Rome dating back to the 2d c. include some of the earliest Christian images still extant. Later both pictures and statues began to play an integral part in Christian art and devotion. As a result of the 8th–9th c. Iconoclastic* Controversy, the E Ch. has restricted its use of images to icons.* The W Ch. has not restricted the forms that an image may take. Luth. reformers retained proper use of images. See also Reformation, Lutheran, 8.

Many Luth. and RC chs., esp. in Eur., are rich in statues, paintings, and other forms of religious art. Luths. have retained use of the crucifix*; many sectarian chs. use only the simple cross* or no cross at all. Luth. Confessions condemn abuse of images (Ap XXI 34–39). EFP


(Arab. “leader”). Muslim term for person or thing serving as model, leader, pattern, guide. The Koran* (II 118) applies it to Abraham. Muhammad* is an “imam”; by constitutional law a caliph* is “supreme imam.” The first 4 caliphs are “imams” of Sunnites.* Shi'ites* regard their imams as divinely appointed, illumined, and preserved from sin. The term also designates a leader in prayer or a religious functionary and is applied as honorary title to outstanding theologians. See also World Community of Al-Islam, The.

Imitation of Christ.

Classic manual of spiritual devotion; summarizes the religious attitude of the Devotio* moderna and gives it expression. Divided into 4 parts: admonitions useful for spiritual life; admonitions to promote interior life; discussion of interior dispositions of the soul; discussion of Holy Communion. Authorship disputed for centuries. Inseparably connected with Thomas* à Kempis; probably best traced to 4 of his 13 indep. treatises. Content derived esp. from Devotio moderna literature.

Immaculate Conception.

RC dogma “that the most Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, in consideration of the merits of Jesus Christ, savior of the human race” (Pius IX, bull [or encyclical letter] Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854). The bull continues that this has been revealed by God and must, therefore, firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.

See also Mariolatry; Roman Catholic Confessions, C.


(from Lat. immanere, “to remain in”). (1) In medieval scholasticism an immanent cause is one whose effects are exclusively in the agent. (2) In I. Kant* the immanent is experiential as opposed to transcendent. (3) In contemporary metaphysics immanence means presence as opposed to absence (see also Immanence of God). (4) Ernst Julius Wilhelm Schuppe (1836–1913; Ger. philos.; b. Brieg, Silesia; educ. Breslau, Bonn, and Berlin; taught in Silesia; prof. Greifswald 1873–1910) identified consciousness, an inseparable union of “I” and its objects, with the real.

Immanence of God.

God is present in all creatures but is never part of them. All creatures live, move, and have their being in God (Acts 17:28; Cl 1:17); one difference bet. God and His creatures is that bet. infinite and finite (Nu 23:19; 1 Sm 15:29); God remains transmundane, transcendent. See also Transcendence of God.

Immanuel Lutheran College,

(Eau Claire, Wisconsin). Organized by a private assoc. of meres, of Immanuel Luth. Ch., Mankato, Minnesota, 1959. Became property of the Church* of the Luth. Confession 1961. Moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1963. Courses of study are on the high school, coll., and sem. levels. Primary purpose: to prepare teachers and pastors for the Ch. of the Luth. Confession. See also Ministry, Education of, VIII C 2.

Immanuel Lutheran College,

Greensboro, N. C. Preparatory school est. 1903 to train Black preachers and teachers for the Ev. Luth. Synodical* Conf. of N. Am. Closed June 30, 1961.

Immanuel Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America.

Founded 1885 in Wall Rose, Pennsylvania, by Luths. desiring greater freedom in ch. life than they found in other Luth. syns. Dissolved 1917 by formal resolution. A remnant retained the name but disbanded ca. 1921.


(RC constitution). See Curia, 2 b.

Immer, Karl

(1888–1944). B. Manslagt, near Emden, Ger.; Ref. pastor Barmen-Gemarke; active in Kirchenkampf; leader among those who convoked the 1934 free syn. at Barmen-Gemarke (see Barmen Theses).


Mode of baptism in which the baptized is submerged completely; some Baps. and others hold it to be the only correct mode. See also Adiaphora; Grace, Means of, III 1.

Immigrant and Emigrant Missions.

This kind of miss. did much to orient Luths. during 19th-c. mass immigrations. A conv. held in connection with the 1861 conv. of the New York Ministerium discussed ways of protecting Luth. immigrants. The Pennsylvania Ministerium resolved 1862 to investigate the possibility of helping to place a miss. for immigrants at Castle Garden, NYC, and the New York Ministerium est. a committee to work with the miss. committee of the Pennsylvania Ministerium in the placement of such a miss. Robert Neumann (formerly Gen. Syn. miss. to China) began work 1865, W. H. Berkemeier* 1867. The Gen. Council accepted care of the miss. 1869.

The New York pastoral conf. of the Mo. Syn. opened an emigrant miss. 1869, with S. Keyl* directing the work; the same yr. the Mo. Syn. assumed the work which Keyl had begun. The Lutherisches Pilgerhaus, State Street, NYC, was bought 1885, sold 1917. Emigrant miss. work was conducted also in Baltimore, Maryland

Scands. also undertook immigrant miss. work in the 19th c. See also Andersen, Rasmus.


Ethic which tries to est. a new morality in place of a traditional one. See also Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm.


(from Lat. immortalis, “undying; imperishable”). Exemption from death; in Christian thought such exemption is attained through Christ (Jn 11:25–26; 1 Ti 6:15–16; 2 Ti 1:10).

Belief in immortality is common in non-Christian thought. Plato assoc. the soul (psyche) with reason and on that basis urged the immortality of the soul, asserting that the soul exists before its embodiment. Some Gk. thinkers hinted at repeated incarnations of the same soul. Epicurus* and Lucretius* denied immortality. Many exponents of deism* taught the immortality of the soul as rationally implied in natural theol. In some Christian thought the body is considered an encumbrance or prison of the soul.

In the Bible, immortality pertains to the entire man, including the body, after the resurrection to eternal life. Some OT statements about the future world involve reference to a shadowy existence (e.g., Jb 10:20–22; Ps 88:10–12). The resurrection of the body is mentioned, e.g., Is 25:8; Dn 12:2. Acc. to Ec 12:7 the spirit of man returns to God at death, but this may simply mean for judgment; cf. Heb 9:27. Joy and pleasure are assoc. with eternal life Ps. 16:11.

In the NT immortality is assoc. with Jesus Christ (Jn 1:4; 3:36; 14:19; Ro 5:17; 1 Jn 5:12), esp. with His resurrection (Ro 6:4–23; 1 Co 15; Ph 3:8–21).

The early fathers continued to assoc. immortality and resurrection with Christ's redemptive work. Over against a one-sided emphasis on the soul, they often stressed the resurrection of the body in their creeds.

According to the NT, believers are with Christ after death (Lk 23:43; Ph 1:23; cp. 2 Co 5:1; 2 Ti 4:6–8). Unbelievers face judgment, damnation, and eternal death (Mt 25:41–46; 2 Ptr 2:9; Rv 20:14).

See also Hereafter; Immortality, Arguments for; Last Things, 4, 5. EL

Immortality, Arguments for.

Arguments for immortality include (1) the ethical, which rests on the premise that evil is not adequately punished or virtue adequately rewarded in this world and that God's justice must be satisfied in some other world; (2) the hist.: since all nations at all times have believed in immortality, the idea of immortality must be founded on fact; the testimony of man's conscience to immortality is the witness of Him who gave man a conscience and a moral nature; or, we may say, man's belief in immortality is part of the divine Law written in man's heart; (3) the metaphysical, which operates with the thought that since man's soul is absolutely simple, and not compounded or material, it cannot be destroyed by death, which essentially is separation of body and soul; the soul, pure spirit, cannot be annihilated, as the body perishes, returning to dust; hence the soul must live on in some other world; (4) the teleological: since man, as a religious, moral being does not attain the goal of his existence on earth, his development here being imperfect, there must be a greater and better world, where man's religious and moral being may come into its own. JTM

Immortality, Medicine of.

Term occasionally used in ancient times for Holy Communion to indicate that it gives eternal life in fellowship with God.

Immutability of God.

In God's essence and attributes there never has been and never will be or can be division, increase, decrease, mutation, development, or any other change. Nm 23:19; Pr 19:21; Ml 3:6; Ro 1:23; 1 Ti 1:17; 6:16; Ja 1:17. See also God.


Theory of local inclusion of Christ's body and blood in eucharistic elements without change in substances. The Wittenberg* Concord and FC SD VII 14–15, 64 reject impanation.


Factors that prevent marriage* from being properly constituted.

Luths. have recognized impediments based on degrees of relationship either of consanguinity or of affinity (Lv 18:6–20; 20:10–23; Dt 27:20–23; Mt 14:3–4; 1 Co 5:1). Impotence and incurable disease were usually considered natural impediments.

In RC theol. 2 types of impediments are distinguished: (1) prohibitory, which make marriage unlawful but not invalid (e.g., vows of virginity; differences in religion); (2) diriment, which make marriage invalid and unlawful (e.g., when man is under 16 and woman under 14; permanent impotence prior to marriage; existing marriage; disparity bet. a RC and one who is unbaptized; sacred orders; certain blood relationships; affinity resulting from valid marriage; spiritual relationship). Bps. can dispense from many impediments; some are reserved for the diocese of the pope.

See also Prohibited Degrees.


(Lat. “let it be printed”). Term used for license given by proper authority to print the book or item to which it is applied.


(Lat. “reproaches”). Part of W liturgy of Good Friday (see Church Year, 4, 7, 8); based on Lm 1:12. See also Trisagion.


Term used by some dogmaticians with reference to Adam's sin and Christ's righteousness. Accordingly, Adam's sin is described as so attributed to every man as to be considered, in the divine counsels, each man's own and rendering him guilty; the righteousness of Christ is so attributed to a believer as to be considered his own and to justify him.

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

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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