The Image of God in Man -- By: Gordon H. Clark

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 012:4 (Fall 1969)
Article: The Image of God in Man
Author: Gordon H. Clark

The Image of God in Man

Gordon H. Clark, Ph.D.*

*Professor of Philosophy, Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana. This article is to be published in The Encyclopedia of Christianity, vol. III.


The main and most explicit Biblical Data on the subject are the Mowing passages. Genesis 1:26–27, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” etc. Genesis 5:1, “In the likeness of God made he him.” Genesis 9:6, “In the image of God made be man.” I Corinthians 11:7, “Man “ the image and glory of God.” Colossians 3:10, “Renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” James 3:9, “Men which are made after the similitude of God.”

In addition to these explicit references to the image of God in man, there are many passages, perhaps even some not yet recognized as such, that have some bearing on the subject. Hebrews 2:6–8, with its appeal to Psalm 8, and whatever analogy may be found elsewhere between Christ as the image of God (cf. Heb. 1:3) and the image in man would be such passages, useful in developing the doctrine. Acts 17:26–29 also has implications; for example, with the support of Romans 1:23 and other passages, it gives the reason for the divine prohibition of idolatry. When, too, empirical philosophers deny innate ideas, inherited corruption, a priori forms of the mind, and stress environment to the exclusion of heredity, Romans 2:15 and Psalm 51:5 sharpen the contrast. An analytic mind will discover a great number of verses from which pertinent implications can be drawn.

Paradoxically there are some verses that make no reference, either explicitly or implicitly, to the image of God, but which by their complete silence contribute to the doctrine nonetheless. Chiefly this material is in the first chapter of Genesis, concerning the creation of animals. These were not created in the image of God; man was. Hence the characteristic of humanity, as distinct from mere animality, is somehow to be found in the divine image. From all the Scriptural material, the doctrine must be derived.


The doctrine of the image of God has been studied throughout the histo...

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