Imago Dei as Divine Kinship

Genesis 1:26–27 has long generated a tremendous amount of lay and scholarly interest, and rightly so. Not only does it hold pride of place, with the rest of Genesis 1, as the introduction to the Bible, but it also describes the creation of the first humans in relation to God himself using the unexpected terms image (ṣelem) and likeness (dəmût).

Imago Dei in Genesis

What the terms image and likeness mean has been debated for centuries. In this chapter I will suggest that to be created in God’s image is to be God’s kin, specifically, “son,” with all the responsibilities and privileges sonship entails. I will then examine how Israel’s status as “created in the image” was embodied in the law and what this can teach us about bearing the image of God in our world today . . .

Catherine McDowell, “In the Image of God He Created Them: How Genesis 1:26-27 Defines the Divine-Human Relationship and Why It Matters,” The Image of God in the Garden of Eden (Eisenbrauns, 2015).

Dr. McDowell (PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University) is an Associate Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. For a number of years, she worked in the field at archaeological digs in Israel. Her work includes The Image of God in the Garden of Eden.

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