Imago Dei before/after the Fall

Man has a will and his will is in bondage to his nature.
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Joined: 18 Jul 2012, 14:57

27 Aug 2012, 14:27 #11

So... I've tried to make sense of what I've been given. I've listed my understanding of the material in numbered bullet points (for easier correction :sad:).
  1. The Imago Dei consists of knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. (Eph 4:24, Col 3:10)
    1. It does not consist of "reasonable and immortal souls"(WC IV) "which is man's constitutional make up in body and soul" (Stewart).
    2. It does consist of the communicable attributes of God (e.g. wisdom, power, love, mercy) insofar as they are accidens of the three characteristics (knowledge, righteousness, and holiness).
    3. Consciousness, moral agency, and moral responsibility do not affect the Imago Dei, either positively or negatively.
  2. The Imago Dei is ethical rather than ontological
    1. It cannot be attributed to any faculty of man (body, soul, or spirit). Fallen man, though it has all 3 faculties, does not imply the Imago Dei.
    2. Nor does such a capacity imply the Imago Dei.
    3. The statement "Man, and man alone, is the very image of God" is false. Only pre-Fall Adam, Christ, and the regenerate are the very image of God.
  3. At the Fall, the Imago Dei was "not utterly effaced and destroyed in him, it was, however, so corrupted that any thing which remains is fearful deformity" (Institutes 1.15.4). (i.e. Total Depravity)
    1. Man cannot look within himself for God (Horton's overcoming estrangement)
    2. "Even fallen man is inescapably related to God" (Hoekama), not in semblance to the Imago Dei per se, but in breach of covenant (Horton).
  4. Dominion over the Earth is an accidens of being in the image of its ruler, i.e. the result of an ethical distinction rather than an ontological one.
    1. The Earth is under the dominion of the devil (for a time). Therefore those who are totally depraved are under the imago diaboli and have dominion under the devil's rule.
    2. The Kingdom of God is under the dominion of God at all times. The regenerate are under the Imago Dei and have dominion under God's rule.
Question 1:

Question 2:
Fallen man has lost all sight of God's knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, so from his perspective injury to another person or group of persons is only a crime insofar as it deviates from his imago diaboli. i.e. different people would say it is or is not a crime. And furthermore, there can be no claim to universal morality since it has been abandoned, resulting in imago diaboli.

The regenerate see injury to another person or group of persons not as a crime against God (it does not hurt God's image or reputation in anyway), but as a crime against the self "imago"; even persecution is not a crime (sorry if this sounds heartless in light of the "disgusted beyond belief" thread, but does God not discipline the ones He loves and test them to see if they will keep His ways?). However, the regenerate can "see through a glass, darkly" (1 Cor 13:12) and at worst see its deviation from its original purpose and at best make corrections to its imago. In a weird way, the regenerate HAVE knowledge, HAVE righteousness, and HAVE holiness yet are NOT knowledgeable, NOT righteous, and NOT holy.

Question 3:
I have no clue... Is the spirit an ontological "thing"? I'm getting mixed messages here. The term "ethically/spiritually" implies that it is not. Yet I can attach adjectives to it such as "sinful spirit" "holy spirit" "unjust spirit". Is the spirit immortal also after the Fall? Is it sort of like "a perpetual idea"? I don't know where to begin here.

(followup question to question 3)
Is it true that animals have the capacity for reason, but not the capacity for morality?
"The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification." - Spurgeon

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Joined: 18 Jul 2012, 14:57

14 May 2014, 08:48 #12

Tsukasa:17632 wrote:2) Does any portion of this image remain after the Fall? Or stated another way, are "crimes against humanity" crimes against the image of God or crimes against those-who-were-originally-created-in the image of God?
I FOUND IT!!! (almost two years later yay!)

The answer to question 2 is:
"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles." - Ro 1:21-23
(This is a direct parallel to WCF " endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image;")


"Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge." - Psa 51:4
(Crimes against humanity are crimes against God.)
"The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification." - Spurgeon