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Theology and Christian Faith

In the Image of God
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins

Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? If not, then are we made in the image of God or not?

H aving a belly button does not have anything to do with being in God's image. A belly button, or navel, shows you were born from a mother.  Since God is spirit and not body, the image of God refers to that creative intelligence God has shared with us.

Further, if you take it literally, how could the first people have a navel, since they were directly created, not born?

Apparently this creative awareness of self and others if what is involved is the abilty to interact with and relate constructively to another living intelligence.  Also involved is the ability for relationship.

These seem to be the characteristics referred to in the Hebrew writings by the term we translate as "image of God."  The relational theme appears to be the ongoing theme of the Bible.  It is helpful to look at what the Hebrew words mean.  The word Adam means "humanity, and the word Hawa (Eve) means Life.  We can tell from this that the passage is telling us something about the whole human race.

The concept of Love in the Hebrew scriptures, carried forward in the Christian writings of the New Testament, has the meaning of contributing meaningfully to the welfare of someone else.  Positive mutually-beneficial relationships are at the root of human personality and society.  God is portrayed likewise in the biblical view as an active relational being or person, not just an organizing principple of of the universe.

Loving someone else and working for their good is basic to God's image.  This is how Jesus portrays God.

Primary expressions of that divine image in us are love, and creativity for good.  We have the ability to contribute good to others and the world around us, or to contribute evil or destruction to others and our world, which is ultimately self-destruction.

Also related:
[TXT] Did God Create the World?
[TXT] Creation or Creationism?


First comments originally written in an Internet discussion group 10 December 2000
Expanded, finalized and posted on OJTR 12 December 2007

Orville Boyd Jenkins, Ed.D., Ph.D.
Copyright © 2007 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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