"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Q: What does it mean for humanity to be made in the image of God? Consider how this understanding contrasts secular/humanist approaches to explaining the nature and purpose of humanity
Textbooks and sources have many things to say regarding what is means for humanity to be made in the image of God, but their arguments are best described in three terms according to theological anthropology. Those terms are functionally, relationally, and substantial/noetically. These terms help us to comprehend what in what fashion we are looking at what it means to be made in the image of God. The functional view point is our likeness being in a position of “caring for God’s creation” as Beth Jones puts it. In this view we as mankind have control over all of God’s creations acting as God Himself does over us. The next view would be the relational view. This view is centered on our relationship with God. This is the more accepted and traditional view. Jones states regarding the relational view that, “To be in the image of God, therefore, might mean that humans are, at our core, beings created to exist in relationship with others.” The noetical or substantial view points out the intellectual comparisons to God such as a thought process and processing emotions. Ian McFarland points out the fact that we as humans, “possess distinct spiritual capacities that reflect God’s own transcendence of the material order.”The fact that we can reason to logical conclusions and figure out problems/concepts beyond our physical location is something that no other creature can do. Chimps can use tools to scavenge for food, but they cannot do simple algebra equations or plan a vacation. Those activities require reasoning abilities and the intellectual capacity only given to those who were created in the image of God. While I do not agree with many of Mcfarland’s statements or lack of conclusion, I agree that we must view the image of man in this fashion through all three views.
Perhaps our lecture explains God’s image best when they state, “the biblical text describes humanity as possessing a likeness to God unparalleled in all of creation. No animal or plant is given this distinction, for it is solely reserved for human beings.” They go on to say, “The image of God in humanity makes all people God-like, not in the sense of being one with his nature, but in the sense of being able to reason and act in a God-like manner toward others.” In conclusion of the class sources answer, I believe that they all lean in the direction of the substantial view while also maintaining that the other views play a small role in what it means to be created in the image of God. This stands in stark contrast to the secular/humanist viewpoint that we are indeed equal in nature and worth to all creatures. Scripture does not hold any validity in their world; therefore they will not view mankind through its scope. Our worth is not that of God’s, but rather that of any other living creature. This allows us to be seen as disposable animals no greater than any livestock of the earth. This is why our unborn children are slaughtered as sacrifices to the idol of self with its demonic sexual desires. We want the pleasure with no regard for the life it creates. It is obvious that there are huge differences in the Christian worth of mankind and his creation compared to that of the secular world.
 Ian A. McFarland. "Theological Anthropology." In Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology, edited by Ian A. McFarland, David A. S. Fergusson, Karen Kilby, and et. al.. Cambridge University Press, 2011. https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/cupdct/theological_anthropology/0?institutionId=5865
 Beth Felker Jones. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 105
 Jones, Practicing Christian Doctrine, 105
 McFarland, "Theological Anthropology."
 Grand Canyon University, “The Doctrine of Humanity” (lecture, Christian Doctrines, Grand Canyon University, August 21, 2014).
 Grand Canyon University, “The Doctrine of Humanity”