Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God

Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God

by John F Kilner


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Misunderstandings about what it means for humans to be created in God's image have wreaked devastation throughout history -- for example, slavery in the U. S., genocide in Nazi Germany, and the demeaning of women everywhere.

In Dignity and Destiny John Kilner explores what the Bible itself teaches about humanity being in God's image. He discusses in detail all of the biblical references to the image of God, interacts extensively with other work on the topic, and documents how misunderstandings of it have been so problematic.

People made according to God's image, Kilner says, have a special connection with God and are intended to be a meaningful reflection of him. Because of sin, they don't actually reflect him very well, but Kilner shows why the popular idea that sin has damaged the image of God is mistaken. He also clarifies the biblical difference between being God's image (which Christ is) and being in God's image (which humans are). He explains how humanity's creation and renewal in God's image are central, respectively, to human dignity and destiny.

Locating Christ at the center of what God's image means, Kilner charts a constructive way forward and reflects on the tremendously liberating impact that a sound understanding of the image of God can have in the world today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802867643
Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date: 01/08/2015
Pages: 414
Sales rank: 1,007,607
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Director of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity inBannockburn, Illinois.

Table of Contents

Introduction x

Part I The Human and Divine Contest

1 Much Is at Stake: The Liberation and Devastation of God's Image 3

Image-Inspired Liberation 4

Image-Inspired Devastation 17

Why Such Disagreement 37

Little Attention in the Bible 37

Little Definition in the Bible 40

Importing Theological Ideas 43

Importing Cultural Ideas 47

2 Much Is Known: Christ as God's Image 52

The Term "Image" 54

The Primary New Testament Passages 60

Christ as Enabler and Standard of God's Image 69

Part II Human Dignity

3 Humanity's Creation in God's Image 85

Who Is Identified with the Image of God 85

How People Are Related to the Image of God 88

What Creation in God's Image Is Not 94

Inadequate Assumptions 105

How People Are Excellent 106

How People Are Like God 107

How People Are Unlike Animals 109

Common Themes 112

Creation in God's Image 113

Image as Connection 116

Image as Reflection 124

4 The Impact of Sin on God's Image 134

Humanity as a Whole 133

People Experiencing New Life in Christ 141

The Undamaged Image of God 147

Images of Adam and of "Gods" 150

Contrary Voices 159

Completely Lost 160

Virtually Lost 164

Partly Lost 166

Appearance Compromised 172

Other Voices 174

Damaging God's Image 174

5 Misunderstandings about God's Image 177

Reason and God's Image 178

Righteousness and God's Image 189

Rulership and God's Image 199

Relationship and God's Image 210

A Better Understanding of Human Attributes 227

Part III Human Destiny

6 Humanity's Renewal in God's Image: Primary Voices 233

The Primary Passages 235

Romans 8 235

2 Corinthians 3 235

Colossians 3 252

The Primary Echoes 260

Ephesians 4 260

1 Corinthians 15 266

1 John 3 271

7 Humanity's Renewal in God's Image: Recurring Themes 274

Eternity and Destiny 274

People and Image 281

Connection and Reflection 281

Connection 287

Reflection in the Present 289

Reflection in the Future 299


Living in the Image of God 311

Being Viewed as in God's Image 313

Being Treated as in God's Image 316

Being in God's Image 323

A Better Way Forward 326

References Cited 331

Index of Names and Subjects 383

Index of Biblical Passages 396

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