We live in a society that views human beings are cosmic accidents. Ironically, at the same time we celebrate the dignity of human beings. Humanists protest worldwide on behalf of human rights. Their naïve view of dignity of human beings rests ultimately on capital borrowed from Judeo-Christianity, which sees the dignity of mankind established by God’s act of creation.
The image of God
The world we live in today puts more value on sea turtle eggs than on the human embryo. We give more dignity to whales than to humanity, which is a reversal of the order of creation. God created mankind alone in His image. The word man is used generically in Genesis; it incorporates both male and female, such that all human beings participate in bearing God’s image.
God’s image is found in our rationality (our ability to do complex reasoning), our faculty of choosing (our ability to make moral choices), and our affections (love, joy, anger).
Part of the uniqueness of the human race is the mission we have received from God to be His representatives to the rest of creation, to reflect the very character of God. In Christ’s perfect obedience, we see the fulfillment of the human mandate to reflect the holiness and the righteousness of God.
The image of God in man has been so marred by the fall that the question arises: was the image of God obliterated by the fall so that we are no longer the image bearers of God? The Bible says that even though the image of God, it has not been destroyed. Even sinful human beings are creatures made in the image of God.
“Even though we are fallen, we can think. Our minds have been infected by sin, but we still have minds, and we can still reason. We reason fallaciously, but we have the ability. We have a will; and we have the capacity to make choices.” We can only make sinful choices in God’s eyes, unless we are regenerated, but we have the ability to make choices. Likewise, we have affections, even though they are totally misplaced unless we are regenerated.
[Adapted from Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul]