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What does 'in his image' mean ?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by michel, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    What's a spiritual image? Aren't you just substituting the word "attributes" for "image"? I think we have tremendous spiritual potential, but I'm afraid that's not what an "image" is. Could you give me an example of how you might use the word "image" in a sentence to mean what you're saying it means in the scriptures?
     
  2. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays Well-Known Member

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    Some definitions for appraisal:

    image

    Main Entry: 1im·age
    Pronunciation: 'i-mij
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, short for imagene, from Latin imagin-, imago; perhaps akin to Latin imitari to imitate
    1 : a reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing; especially : an imitation in solid form : [size=-1]STATUE[/size]
    2 a : the optical counterpart of an object produced by an optical device (as a lens or mirror) or an electronic device b : a likeness of an object produced on a photographic material
    3 a : exact likeness : [size=-1]SEMBLANCE[/size] <God created man in his own image -- Gen 1:27 (Revised Standard Version)> b : a person strikingly like another person <she is the image of her mother>
    4 a : a tangible or visible representation : [size=-1]INCARNATION[/size] <the image of filial devotion> b archaic : an illusory form : [size=-1]APPARITION[/size]
    5 a (1) : a mental picture of something not actually present : [size=-1]IMPRESSION[/size] (2) : a mental conception held in common by members of a group and symbolic of a basic attitude and orientation <a disorderly courtroom can seriously tarnish a community's image of justice -- Herbert Brownell> b : [size=-1]IDEA[/size], [size=-1]CONCEPT[/size]
    6 : a vivid or graphic representation or description
    7 : [size=-1]FIGURE OF SPEECH[/size]
    8 : a popular conception (as of a person, institution, or nation) projected especially through the mass media <promoting a corporate image of brotherly love and concern -- R. C. Buck>
    9 : a set of values given by a mathematical function (as a homomorphism) that corresponds to a particular subset of the domain

    ------


    The most common understanding of "image" in the sense of the Genesis verse is "SEMBLANCE" which means:


    Main Entry: sem·blance
    Pronunciation: 'sem-bl&n(t)s
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Old French sembler to be like, seem -- more at [size=-1]RESEMBLE[/size]
    1 a : outward and often specious appearance or show : [size=-1]FORM[/size] <wrapped in a semblance of composure -- Harry Hervey> b : [size=-1]MODICUM[/size] <has been struggling to get some semblance of justice for his people -- Bayard Rustin>
    2 : [size=-1]ASPECT[/size], [size=-1]COUNTENANCE[/size]
    3 a : a phantasmal form : [size=-1]APPARITION[/size] b : [size=-1]IMAGE[/size], [size=-1]LIKENESS[/size]
    4 : actual or apparent resemblance
    [​IMG]


    I would submit that other definitions are less concrete than the usual definition of image meaning semblance. There's a reason the English word "image" is used rather than something else.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  3. Bangbang

    Bangbang Active Member

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    Would that come to mean that if we have enough faith that we can escape space and time?
     
  4. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Hi, Scott.

    Thanks for the definitions. I think they're actually pretty good evidence for my position. I think we can both agree to eliminate definition 9 from consideration. But the rest of them, particularly numbers 1 through 6 pretty clearly pertain to the representation of physical qualities...

    1. a reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing
    2. an optical counterpart of an object
    3. an exact likeness (she is the image of her mother)
    4. a tantigle or visible representation
    5. a mental picture
    6. a graphic representation

    So, that leaves numbers 7 and 8. Are you saying that being created in God's image is merely a figure of speech or a popular conception?

    Kathryn
     
  5. Searcher of Light

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    Katzpur, do you think the idea that God looks as we do is limiting Him? He is, afterall, God. As such, He can do, look, be anything He wants.

    Personally, I could care less what God looked like. He could be a blob of jello for all I care. I just want to spend eternity with Him.
     
  6. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Not at all. After all, you're a Christian. You believe that Jesus Christ was God. All He had to do to calm the Sea of Galilee was say, "Peace. Be still." He did that while sitting in a boat fishing. His physical appearance could never limit him. I'm sure that, as God, He could look like anything He wanted to look like. But since He said He created us in His image, I think He thought a human image was a pretty good one. ;)

    Well, I don't really care what He looks like either -- at least not when it comes to details. But I'd much prefer to feel His arms around me and see the love in His eyes when I get to heaven than be welcomed by a blob of jello!
     
  7. maggie2

    maggie2 Active Member

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    See, Katzpur, I don't take the Bible literally and I don't consider myself a Christian...rather I consider myself spiritual. That means that I can have any concept of God that I find appropriate and my description that I posted previously works really well for me. That's all I need or ask.

    However, when I read that God created man in his image I still have enough imagination to think that as God is a spiritual entity, then God is spirit, not an entity that looks like man. Here's how I describe God: The source of energy that infuses all of life. That would preclude a human type being, so for me it's easy to see God as spirit rather than as a human-type entity.

    I respect your beliefs that God is human-like. We all have a right to believe what works for us. And that's what's so beautiful about this old world...we each have an opportunity to explore our spirituality as we journey through life and to make our own decisions about what faith means to us.
     
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  8. jeffrey

    jeffrey †ßig Dog†

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    And I 3rd that! :D
     
  9. jeffrey

    jeffrey †ßig Dog†

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    I don't know, good question. I tend to think we make God in our image. He's a great light, bright. We're not. I don't think of him of having a physical body. I'd sure he could manifest one, but he could make that look like anything he wished.
     
  10. retrorich

    retrorich SUPER NOT-A-MOD

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    Actually, man created God in his own image.
     
  11. may

    may Well-Known Member

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    "Become imitators of God, as beloved children, and go on walking in love." (Eph. 5:1, 2) Yes, Jehovah God is the very personification of love. (1 John 4:8)

    The Bible explains: "God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:27) Being made in God’s image does not mean that humans were made so as to look like God, but, rather, that God put in the first humans the potential, the ability to exercise His own qualities. so the potential is in us to be a chip of the block we all are capable of displaying LOVE, JUSTICE, WISDOM, AND POWER if we want to

    Just imagine if everyone on earth would imitate Jehovah God, and go on walking in love There would be no wicked conduct—no stealing, no fighting, no immorality; in fact, no one would do anything to hurt others. so it seems that the potential is there but man has gone his own way

     
  12. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Maybe some people make God in their image. I don't. The Bible says He created me in His image and that's what I believe happened.

    One of the abilities the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) has is the ability to manifest Himself in any form. He did so at the baptism of Jesus Christ, appearing as a Dove, while the voice of God the Father was heard speaking from Heaven. But Exodus 33:11 says, "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." You can say He just chose on that occasion to take on a human form, but if you do, you have to ignore close to a dozen verses in the Bible that strongly suggest that His constant form is that of a man. In fact, in reading that verse in Exodus, I don't see how God could have put it much more plainly: "I look like a man, folks. It's not your imagination. I'm real and I have a physical form." Seventy Elders of Isreal saw Him on another occasion and, in fact, ate and drank with Him. Again, you can insist that He only appeared to be a man temporarily, but I've got to ask you: What evidence do you have to support that belief?
     
  13. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I think that since you're not a Christian, your opinion is as valid as mine, Maggie. As as you essentially said, the only real truth we can have is the one that works for us. I'm arguing my position strictly from the many verses in the Bible that support the one in the first chapter of Genesis. I am not a Bible literalist myself, but when taking dozens of verses together, I think there is plenty of evidence we can accept what Genesis says about God's image as meaning precisely what it says.
     
  14. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Character traits are part of God's attributes. They have nothing whatsoever to do with His image. I, too, believe that we are endowed with many divine qualities, which give us the potential to be like God. But one's attributes and one's image are not the same thing at all.
     
  15. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays Well-Known Member

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    I believe the Essence of God is beyond our comprehension. Therefore what the "image" of God might be is also beyond our comprehension.

    The only way we can behold God is through His attributes. We know that God is perfect love. We know that God is Sovereign. We know that God is the Healer. We know that God is the Sufficer. We know that God is the Creator. We know that God is Just. We know that God is Merciful. We know that God is Powerful. We know that God is Lofty. We know that God is . . . . . . many attributes, but no physical image.

    So, if if we are in His image it is because it is in our capability to mirror forth those attributes, not limbs, torsoes, appendages, eyes, mouths, ears, etc.

    God is the perfect example of all His attributes. We are in the image of God because we have the capaqcity to mirror forth ALL the attributes (even if not so perfectly). Therefore we are in the image of God, even if it is an image of the Spirit not the flesh.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  16. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I think this is where we're going to come up against a brick wall. First off, I find the word "essence" problematic because nobody has ever even been able to explain to me what they mean when they use the word. When you use it, are you referring to physical attributes or to spiritual attributes? I would agree wholeheartedly that we, as finite beings, cannot even begin to comprehend God's power or knowledge. If, when you use the word "essence," you are speaking of these "spiritual attributes," I'm with you 100%. I don't actually think we can fully comprehend God's image either. Obviously, His glory and brilliance far exceed anything most mortal eyes have ever experienced.

    I'm with you, but until the last four words of your statement.

    I personally think that our spiritual attributes resemble God's even less than our physical attributes do. Everything about Him (his love, compassion, mercy, etc.) are so perfect that we can hardly even begin to compare ourselves to Him in that regard.

    I respect your opinion, Scott, but I don't agree with it. Furthermore, I am confident that the Biblical evidence is on my side. You can continue to insist that God has no image, but the Bible appears to be saying He does. There are just too many verses I'd have to ignore to believe otherwise. I think that denying that God has a physical image is a perfect example of how people try to interpret the scriptures according to what they think the scriptures ought to be saying instead of simply believing what they are saying.

    Kathryn
     
  17. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Interesting; the word essense seems to have been derived from the Bible !
    essence 1398, from L. essentia "being, essence," abstract n. formed in imitation of Gk. ousia "being, essence" (from on, gen. ontos, prp. of einai "to be"), from prp. stem of esse "to be," from PIE *es- (cf. Skt. asmi, Hittite eimi, O.C.S. jesmi, Lith. esmi, Goth. imi, O.E. eom "I am;" see be). Originally "substance of the Trinity," the general sense of "basic element of anything" is first recorded in Eng. 1656, though this is the base meaning of the first Eng. use of essential (c.1340). I would take 'essense'as being 'the entirety of', which means that I would claim to be unable to understand the essense of God.

    Strangely enough, I am one of those awful people who can't seem to get to grips with the literal teaching of the Bible about 'in his likeness'. I think it is because, in a way, I feel it is demeaning to God........does that make sense (even if I am wrong)?
     
  18. may

    may Well-Known Member

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    No one on earth knows what God’s glorious, heavenly, spiritual body looks like, so we cannot liken man’s body to God’s body. "God is a Spirit."—Joh 4:24.​

    Nevertheless, man is "in God’s image" in that he was created with moral qualities like those of God, namely, love and justice. (Compare Col 3:10.)

    and clothe yourselves with the new [personality], which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the IMAGE of the One who created it,

     
  19. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Michel,

    I think you actually hit the nail on the head. I think that the reason most people can't accept that we are literally created in God's image is because they, too, feel it is demeaning to God. In fact, I would almost guarantee that they feel exactly like you do.

    From my perspective, I find this a bit odd. First of all, God created His only begotten Son as a man. If we can believe what the Bible has to say on the subject, He was also resurrected as a man, ascended to Heaven as a man, and will return to earth someday as a man. Evidently, God does not see the human form as being at all demeaning or inferior.

    Go back and read Genesis 1:20-25. See how God states that He will create "every creature after His kind"? In order words, each species will reproduce after its own kind. Dogs will beget dogs, cats will beget cats, and so on. He is speaking of all the species of life and of the way in which these species will continue to beget offspring in their own image. Then, immediately after He is through talking about the animals, He says (in verse 26), "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." It's obviously a continuation of the same line of thought as we saw in verses 20-25.

    Jesus Christ is described in the scriptures as the "Son of Man." While there are various interpretations of that phrase, the Latter-day Saints believe it to mean that Jesus Christ is the Son of the archetypal Man, or God the Father. The scriptures state that Christ is in the express image of His Father's "person," and that if someone has seen the Son, he has seen the Father. Again, by what rationale would anyone conclude that if these statements are true, the Father is not a person and is invisible?

    I have a book that is written by a non-member of my Church. It's called A Travel Guide to Heaven. In this book, the author attempts to use the Bible to describe what Heaven is going to be like. He obviously attempts to be completely open-minded and accurate. Here's what He says:

    "You know that when you see your friends and relatives there someday, you're going to see these people in the flesh. You'll be able to recognize them and they're gong to recognize you. Imagine what that first moment will be like -- the first instant when you see you mom, your dad, your husband, or your grandmother. It may be that you haven't seen them in years and years, and now they're right there, standing two feet in front of you. What do you think your reaction will be?

    Remember, you're going to have your body in heaven, so you won't be resticted to merely comtemplating or praying for them. You'll be able to get physical. You'll be able to run up to them the second you see them and jump into their waiting arms and embrace them and kiss them. You'll be able to cry with joy when you're hugging them. You'll be able to feel the warmth of their bodies again. You'll be able to hear their voices -- voices you haven't heard in so long. You'll be able to have a conversation with them, and tell them all that's happened in your life since you last saw them. You'll be able to hear them laugh again and watch them smile again, hold their hands and squeeze them tight, and put your head on their shoulders."

    The author goes on to say: "God is... all-loving, and knowing how much He enjoys seeing us happy, do you really think he's going to let us miss out on a moment like that?"

    As I read this book, I thought, "How odd that God would allow all of us to be physically reunited with our loved ones again, enjoying their touch, their smile and their arms around us. But, according to most Christians' beliefs, He won't allow His Only Begotten Son that same privilege. See, I believe that God the Father physically welcomed His Son back into His presence after His resurrection. You can't embrace an invisible essence or look into the eyes of someone without a form. I see us as being in the image of a being who can hug His Son and look into His eyes and tell Him how much He loves Him. People say that having a physical body restricts God. I say that not having one restricts Him even more.

    He is brilliant and glorious beyond description. He is the essence of pure light and love, but He is more that just light and love in my opinion. I see His perfect form as being something so incredible that I can't even begin to doubt its existance.

    I don't expect that anything I've said will change how you feel, but hopefully it will help you understand why I don't see my belief as being demeaning to God at all.

    Kathryn
     
  20. jeffrey

    jeffrey †ßig Dog†

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    Frubals to you Michel, as soon as I get more to pass out!
    Kat, you claim people have seen God.... The Gospel according to John, 1:18 "No one has ever seen God."​
    And the dove, I believe at Jesus' baptism represents the Holy Spirit, not God. Which also shows the trinity. :D
     
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