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08/14/2017

Charlottesville and Imago Dei

In light of the events in Charlottesville this past weekend, it is as important as ever for believers in America to understand and be able to communicate what it means that all human beings are made in the image of God.

I have included a couple of excerpts from Dr. John F. Kilner’s Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God below, and recommend the book to anyone wanting to better understand the meaning and implications of this theological truth.

“Being created in God’s image…means that all people have a sacredness to them independent of any actual attributes.  A person cannot be demeaned even in another person’s thoughts without that constituting an unholy affront to God.”[1]

“Just as humanity is not merely a collection of separate people but is also an interrelated whole, so humanity’s status as created in God’s image has implications for the whole together. God has a connection with humanity as a whole; and God intends divine attributes to be reflected in humanity corporately, not just in particular people.  God intends justice to be a hallmark of human society, as it is of God’s own character.  Just treatment of all requires taking account of personal and societal relationships in which people live, rather than merely viewing people as individuals.  Where there is injustice, liberation from that oppression is what humanity’s status in God’s image mandates.”[2]

The flags flown by the white supremacists in Charlottesville belong to regimes that were guilty of vile offense against the image of God.  Not surprisingly, the men aligning themselves under those flags hold similar evil beliefs.  In response to such displays, it is vital that believers hold fast to the foundational doctrine of the Imago Dei and live out all that it implies.  While it is obviously right to condemn white supremacy and terrorism, it is important that in doing so, we are able to explain with clarity and conviction why such ideologies are anathema to the people of God.

[1] John Kilner, Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015), 315.

[2] Ibid., 320.

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