Genesis 1:26-27: What is the Image of God in mankind?

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”[1] When discovering what the “image of God in mankind” is, there has to be an understanding that “likeness” and “image” are synonymous. Author John Davis says, “Any differentiation between them has been rejected on both exegetical and theological grounds.[2]

Making some observations from the biblical text, we can deduce we are not exact copies of God since God is not measurable or viewable. In addition, any other thing created by God was not created in His image nor is His image gender neutral. “There is no hint that humanity grows into the image, or develops the image. There is no ‘potential’ image of God. Whatever the image of God means, it is by definition inseparable from the human species.”[3] Therefore, image and likeness has to mean that we “were created in a natural and moral likeness to God.”[4] The Lexham Bible Dictionary proposes, “The concept can be conveyed if we think of “image” as a verb: Humans are created as God’s imagers—they function in the capacity of God’s representatives. The image of God is not a quality within human beings; it is what humans are.”[5] Therefore, it is impossible to lessen the image of God into one trait or even a collection of traits; the image of God is assembled into the whole human.


Davis, John J. Paradise ot Prison. Salem, Wisconsin: Sheffield Publishing Company, 1998.

Heiser, Michael S., John D Barry, and Lazarus Wentz. Theh Lexham Bible Dictionary; In The Image of God. Bellingham, WA, 2012.

Ryrie, Charles. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1995.


[1]  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, Ge 1:26–27. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001.

[2] John J Davis, “Paradise to Prison,” (Wisconsin: Sheffield Publishing Company, 1998), 81.

[3] Michael S. Heiser, “Image of God” In , in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. John D. Barry and Lazarus Wentz (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012).

[4] Charles Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible, (Chicago: Moody Publishing Company, 1995), 6.

[5] Michael S. Heiser, “Image of God” In , in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. John D. Barry and Lazarus Wentz (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012).


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