Explain the difference between the image and the likeness of God.

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In order to understand the difference between the image and the likeness of God, you need to first of all remind yourself of the context in which these terms are used in the bible. Humans are referred to as the image of God for the first time in Gen1:27 when “God created man in His own image.” When taking this literally, you could interpret this statement to mean that God is creating men as a visual copy of himself. This is the reason why people imagine God to look like a human person.

However, the consensus of most theologians today is that this likeness is not meant to be taken at the visual level. Instead, humanity being made the image of God refers to the fact that there are some aspects within God which he chose to share with us. He wanted to be able to relate better to us. Therefore, according to Karl Barth and other theologians, our having been created in the image of God refers to our ability to form relationships. Just like God loves us, we are able to love God back and love our fellow humans. We are all linked by the fact that we have been created in God’s image.

These are the qualities that God gave to humans when he created men. All humans, regardless of race or gender, have them in common with each other. According to this view, Jesus, the Son of God, could be seen as the ultimate proof that God did indeed share some of his features with humans. He was willing to send his son to live amongst men in order to show us his love.

With regard to the word “likeness”, you need to look at Gen 5:1, which says, “on the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him”. Likeness, in contrast to image, is to be interpreted as the ability of humans to reflect God morally and spiritually. Unlike animals, humans are not merely driven by instinct and the laws of nature. Instead, humans, like God, have an understanding of moral values and can distinguish between right and wrong. This sets men apart from any other living creature.

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