The Image of God in man                                                                 By Jack Kettler

The Bible

“Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.” (Psalm 25:4)

In this study, we will look at the biblical teaching about mankind being created in God’s image. How does man show this image? Is it physical, or spiritual?

As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, lexical evidence, commentary evidence and confessional support for the purpose to glorify God in how we live. May God be glorified always!

Definitions from two sources:    

Image of God:

(Or, for the lovers of Latin, imago Dei.) A phrase used in scripture in reference to humankind as created by God and as distinguished from other creatures. Throughout history, there have been many different ideas as to what it means to be created in God’s image, but the bottom line is that in some way (or ways), human beings are like God and represent him. *                          

Image of God:

Man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). The image of God is generally held to mean that people contain within their nature elements that reflect God's nature: compassion, reason, love, hate, patience, kindness, self-awareness, etc. Though we have a physical image, it does not mean that God has one. Rather, God is spirit (John 4:24), not flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). **

From Scripture:

“And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:26-31)

“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.” (1 Corinthians 11:7)

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:49)

In regards to the 1 Corinthians 15:49 passage, consider:

The Image of God in Man by Abraham Kuyper

“As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” -- 1 Cor. xv.49.

One more point remains to be discussed, viz., whether the divine image refers to the image of Christ.

This singular opinion has found many warm defenders in the Church from the beginning. It originated with Origen, who with his brilliant, fascinating, and seducing heresies has unsettled many things in the Church; and his heresy in this respect has found many defenders both East and West. Even Tertullian and Ambrose supported it, as well as Basil and Chrysostom; and it took no less a person than Augustine to uproot it.

Our Reformed theologians, closely following Augustine, have strongly opposed it. Junius, Zanchius and Calvin, Voetius and Coccejus condemned it as error. We can safely say that in our Reformed inheritance this error never had a place. .

But in the last century it has crept again into the Church. The pantheistic philosophy occasioned it; and its after-effects have tempted our German and Dutch mediation theologians to return to this ancient error.

The great philosophers who enthralled the minds of men at the beginning of this century fell in love with the idea that God became man. They taught not that the Word became flesh, but God became man; and that in the fatal sense that God is ever becoming, and that He becomes a better and a purer God as He becomes more purely man. This pernicious system, which subverts the foundations of the Christian faith, and under a Christian form annihilates essential Christianity, has led to the doctrine that in Christ Jesus this incarnation had become a fact; and from it was deduced that God would have become man even if man had not sinned.

We have often spoken of the danger of teaching this doctrine. The Scripture repudiates it, teaching that Christ is a Redeemer from and an atonement for sin. But a mere passing contradiction will not stop this evil; this poisonous thread, running through the warp and woof of the Ethical theology, will not be pulled from the preaching until the conviction prevails that it is philosophic and pantheistic, leading away from the simplicity of Scripture.

But for the present nothing can be done. Almost all the German manuals now used by our rising ministers feed this error; hence the widespread prevalence of the idea that the image in which man was created was the Christ.

And this is natural. So long as it is maintained that, even without sin, man was destined for Christ and Christ for man, it must follow that the original man was calculated for Christ, and hence was created after the image of Christ.

For evidence that this deviates from the truth, we refer theologians to the writings of Augustine, Calvin, and Voetius on this point, and to our lay-readers we offer a short explanation why we and all Reformed churches reject this interpretation.

We begin with referring to the many passages in Scripture, teaching that the redeemed sinner must be renewed and transformed after the image of Christ.

In 2 Cor. iii.18 we read: “We all are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”; and in Rom. viii.29: “That we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son”; and in I Cor. xv.49: “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” To this category belong all such passages in which the Holy Spirit admonishes us to conform ourselves to the example of Jesus, which may not be understood as mere imitation, but which decidedly means a transformation into His image. And lastly, here belong those passages that teach that we must increase to a perfect man, “to the stature of the fullness of Christ”; and that “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

Hence believers are called to transform themselves after Christ's image, which is the final aim of their redemption. But this image is not the Eternal Word, the Second Person in the Trinity, but the Messiah, the Incarnate Word.1 Cor. xv.44 furnishes the undeniable proof. St. Paul declares there that the first man Adam was of the earth earthy; i.e., not only after the fall, but by creation. Then he says that as believers have borne the image of the earthy, so they will also bear the image of the heavenly, i.e., Christ. This shows clearly that in his original state man did not possess the image of Christ, but that afterward he will possess it. What Adam received in creation is clearly distinguished from what a redeemed sinner possesses in Christ; distinguished in this particular that it was not according to his nature to be formed after Christ's image, which image he could receive only by grace after the fall.

This is evident also from what St. Paul teaches in -- 1 Cor. xi In the third verse, speaking of the various degrees of ascending glory, he says that the man is the head of the woman, and the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. And yet, having spoken of these four, woman, man, Christ, God, he says emphatically, in ver.7, not as might be expected, “The woman is the glory of the man, the man the glory of Christ,” but, omitting the link Christ, he writes: “For the man is the glory of God, and the woman the glory of the man.” If this theory under consideration were correct, he should have said: “The man is the image of Christ.”

Hence it is plain that according to Scripture the image after which we are to be renewed is not that after which we are created; the two must be distinguished. The latter is that of the Triune God whose image penetrated into the being of the race. The former is that of the holy and perfect Man Christ Jesus, our federal Head, and as such the Example [Dutch, Voorbeeld; literally, an image placed before one. -- Trans.], after which every child of God is to be renewed, and which at last he shall resemble.

Hence Scripture offers two different representations: first, the Son who is the image of the Father as the Second Person in the Trinity; second, the Mediator our Example [Voorbeeld, image put before one], hence our image after which we are to be renewed; and between the two there is almost no connection. The Scripture teaching that the Son of God is the express image of His Person and the image of the Invisible, refers to the relation between the Father and the Son in the hidden mystery of the Divine Being. But speaking of our calling to be renewed after the image of Christ, it refers to the Incarnate Word, our Savior, tempted like as we are in all things, yet without sin.

Mere similarity of sound should not lead us to make this mistake. Every effort to translate Gen. I.26, “Let Us make man in or after the image of the Son,” is confusing. Then “Let Us” must refer to the Father speaking to the Holy Spirit; and this cannot be. Scripture never places the Father and the Holy Spirit in such relation. Moreover, it would put the Son outside the greatest act of creation, viz., the creation of man. And Scripture says: “Without Him was not anything made that was made” (John i.3); and again: “Through Him are created all things in heaven and on earth.”

Hence this “Let Us” must be taken either as a plural of majesty, of which the Hebrew has not a single instance in the first person; or as spoken by the Triune God, the Three Persons mutually addressing each other; or the Father addressing the two other Persons. A third is impossible.

Supposing that the Three Persons address each other; the image cannot refer to the Son, because, speaking of His own, He cannot say, “Our image,” without including the other Persons. Or suppose that the Father speaks to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; even then it cannot refer to the image of the Son, since He is the Father's image and not that of the Holy Spirit. In whatever sense it be taken, this view is untenable, outside the analogy of Scripture, and inconsistent with the correct interpretation of Gen. I.26.

To put it comprehensively: If the divine image refers to the Christ, it must be that of the Eternal Son, or of the Mediator, or of Christ in the flesh. These three are equally impossible. First, the Son is Himself engaged in the creative work. Second, without sin there is no need of a Mediator. Third, Scripture teaches that the Son became flesh after our image, but never that in the creation we became flesh after His image.

The notion that the divine image refers to Christ's righteousness and holiness, implying that Adam was created in extraneous righteousness, confounds the righteousness of Christ which we embrace by faith and which did not exist when Adam was created, and the original, eternal righteousness of God the Son. It is true that David embraced the imputed righteousness, although it existed not in his day, but David was a sinner and Adam before the fall was not. He was created without sin; hence the divine image cannot refer to the righteousness of Christ, revealed only in relation to sin.

In our present sad condition, we confess unconditionally that even now we lie in the midst of death, and have our life outside of ourselves in Christ alone. But we add: Blessed be God, it shall not always be so. With our last breath we die wholly to sin, and in the resurrection morning we shall be like Him; hence in the eternal felicity our life shall be no more without us, but in us.

Wherefore, to put the separation which was caused only by sin, and which in the saint continues only on account of sin, in Adam before the fall, is nothing else than to carry something sinful into Creation itself, and to annihilate the divine statement that man was created good.

Wherefore we admonish preachers of the truth to return to the old, tried paths in this respect, and teach in recitation-hall, pulpit, and catechetical class that man was created after the image of the Triune God. (1)

Another Important Scripture:

“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Colossians 3:10)

From the Pulpit Commentary on Colossians 3:10:

Verse 10. - And having put on the new (man), which is being renewed unto (full) knowledge, after (the) image of him that created him (Ephesians 4:23, 24; Ephesians 2:15; Romans 6:4; Romans 7:6; Romans 8:1-4; Romans 13:12-14; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 1:9; Colossians 2:2, 3; Genesis 1:26-28; Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 12:10; 1 Peter 1:16; Romans 8:29). New (νέος) is “young,” “of recent date” (compare the “once,” “but now” of vers. 7, 8; also Colossians 1:5-8; 1 Peter 2:1, 2). Whose birth was well remembered, and which presented so vivid a contrast to the “old man with his deeds.” “Being renewed” (ἀνακαινούμενον, derived from the adjective καινός) sets forth the other side of this newness, its novelty of quality and condition (compare “newness of life,” Romans 6:4). And this participle is in the present tense (continuous), while the former is in the aorist (historical). So the notions are combined of a new birth taking place once for all, and a new character in course of formation. In Ephesians 4:23, 24 these ideas are in the same order (see Trench's 'Synonyms'). “Full knowledge” was one purpose of this renewal, the purpose most necessary to be set before the Colossians. The nature and objects of this knowledge have been already specified (Colossians 1:6, 9, 27, 28; Colossians 2:2, 3, 9, 10: comp. Ephesians 1:18, 19; Ephesians 3:18, 19; Philippians 3:8-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; and on ἐπίγνωσις, see note, Colossians 1:6). “After (the) image” is clearly an allusion to Genesis 1:26-28; so in Ephesians 4:24 (“after God”). It is adverbial to “renewed,” not to “knowledge.” Man's renewal in Christ makes him what the Creator at first designed him to be, namely, his own image (compare note on “reconcile,” Colossians 1:20). Chrysostom and others take “Christ” as “him that created,” in view of Colossians 1:15, 16; but then it is said that all things “were created in... through... for Christ,” not absolutely that Christ created them. But “the image of God after which” man was created and is now recreated, is seen in Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; John 1:18). (2)

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:

1 Strong's Number: g1504      Greek: eikon


Denotes “an image;” the word involves the two ideas of representation and manifestation. “The idea of perfection does not lie in the word itself, but must be sought from the context” (Lightfoot); the following instances clearly show any distinction between the imperfect and the perfect likeness.

The word is used

(1) of an “image” or a coin (not a mere likeness), Mat 22:20; Mar 12:16; Luke 20:24; so of a statue or similar representation (more than a resemblance), Rom 1:23; Rev 13:14, 15 (thrice); 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4; of the descendants of Adam as bearing his image, 1Cr 15:49, each a representation derived from the prototype;

(2) of subjects relative to things spiritual, Hbr 10:1, negatively of the Law as having “a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things,” i.e., not the essential and substantial form of them; the contrast has been likened to the difference between a statue and the shadow cast by it;

(3) Of the relations between God the Father, Christ, and man,

(a) Of man as he was created as being a visible representation of God, 1Cr 11:7, a being corresponding to the original; the condition of man as a fallen creature has not entirely effaced the "image;" he is still suitable to bear responsibility, he still has Godlike qualities, such as love of goodness and beauty, none of which are found in a mere animal; in the Fall man ceased to be a perfect vehicle for the representation of God; God's grace in Christ will yet accomplish more than what Adam lost;

(b) Of regenerate persons, in being moral representations of what God is, Col 3:10; cp. Eph 4:24;

(c) Of believers, in their glorified state, not merely as resembling Christ but representing Him, Rom 8:29; 1Cr 15:49; here the perfection is the work of Divine grace; believers are yet to represent, not something like Him, but what He is in Himself, both in His spiritual body and in His moral character;

(d) Of Christ in relation to God, 2Cr 4:4, “the image of God,” i.e., essentially and absolutely the perfect expression and representation of the Archetype, God the Father; in Col 1:15, “the image of the invisible God” gives the additional thought suggested by the word “invisible,” that Christ is the visible representation and manifestation of God to created beings; the likeness expressed in this manifestation is involved in the essential relations in the Godhead, and is therefore unique and perfect; “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,” Jhn 14:9. “The epithet "invisible.”... Must not be confined to the apprehension of the bodily senses, but will include the cognizance of the inward eye also" (Lightfoot).

As to synonymous words, homoioma, “likeness,” stresses the resemblance to an archetype, though the resemblance may not be derived, whereas eikon is a “derived likeness” (see LIKENESS); eidos, “a shape, form,” is an appearance, “not necessarily based on reality” (see FORM); skia, is “a shadowed resemblance” (see SHADOW); morphe is “the form, as indicative of the inner being” (Abbott-Smith); see FORM. For charakter, see No. 2.

2 Strong's Number: g5481      Greek: charakter


Denotes, firstly, “a tool for graving” (from charasso, “to cut into, to engross;” cp. Eng., “character,” “characteristic”); then, “a stamp” or “impress,” as on a coin or a seal, in which case the seal or die which makes an impression bears the “image” produced by it, and, vice versa, all the features of the “image” correspond respectively with those of the instrument producing it. In the NT it is used metaphorically in Hbr 1:3, of the Son of God as “the very image (marg., 'the impress') of His substance.” RV. The phrase expresses the fact that the Son “is both personally distinct from, and yet literally equal to, Him of whose essence He is the adequate imprint” (Liddon). The Son of God is not merely his “image” (His charakter), He is the “image” or impress of His substance, or essence. It is the fact of complete similarity which this word stresses in comparison with those mentioned at the end of No. 1. In the Sept., Lev 13:28, “the mark (of the inflammation).”

“In Jhn 1:1-3, Col 1:15-17; Hbr 1:2, 3, the special function of creating and upholding the universe is ascribed to Christ under His titles of Word, Image, and Son, respectively. The kind of Creatorship so predicated of Him is not that of a mere instrument or artificer in the formation of the world, but that of One 'by whom, in whom, and for whom' all things are made, and through whom they subsist. This implies the assertion of His true and absolute Godhood” (Laidlaw, in Hastings' Bib. Dic.).

Note: The similar word charagma, “a mark” (see GRAVEN and MARK), has the narrower meaning of “the thing impressed,” without denoting the special characteristic of that which produces it, e.g., Rev 13:16, 17. In Act 17:29 the meaning is not “graven (charagma) by art,” but “an engraved work of art.” (3)

The Image of God by Gordon H. Clark

IMAGE OF GOD. See also fall of Man; Imitation of Christ. The image of God in man is asserted but not precisely explained in Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6; I Cor. 11:7, and James 3:9. Something of an explanation comes in Col. 3:10 and Eph. 4:24, where one may infer that the image consists of knowledge or rationality and righteousness or holiness, from which proceeds dominion over the creatures. Romans 8:29 confirms this by describing salvation as a process of conforming the predestined saint to the image of Christ.

Other passages also, such as Heb. 2:6-8 with its appeal to Ps. 8, and Acts 17:26-29, are examples and contribute at least implicitly to the doctrine. When, too, empirical philosophers deny innate ideas, inherited corruption, and a priori forms of the mind, Rom. 2:15 and Ps. 51:5 give the Biblical reply.

To avoid error, one must note that the image does not consist in man’s body. First, animals have bodies but were not created in God’s image. Second, God is spirit and has no body; for which reason idolatry is sin (Rom. 1:23).

Man is not two images, as a fanciful exegesis would interpret image and likeness in Gen. 1:26. Note that likeness is not repeated in Gen. 1:27. Nor can the single image be divided into parts. Dominion over the creatures is not an extra part, but one of the functions of unitary rationality. Not even morality is a second part, as if knowledge and righteousness are two components. Righteous action is a function of the unitary image. In fact, the unitary image is not something man has: the image is man. “Man is the image and glory of God” (I Cor. 11:7).

The reason some theologians have asserted a duality in the image, rather than the unity of the person and the plurality of his functions, is the occurrence of sin. Since Adam remained Adam after the fall, these theologians thought that some part of the image had been lost. Unfortunately this view allows the remaining part of man to be untouched by sin and so conflicts with the doctrine of total depravity.

Although sinful men, especially very sinful men, do not seem to be God’s image, these men could not sin unless they were. Sin presupposes rationality and voluntary decision. Sinning always starts in thought. Adam thought, incorrectly, but nevertheless thought that it would be better to join Eve in disobedience than to obey God and be separated from her. Sin has interfered with but does not prevent thought. It does not eradicate the image but causes it to malfunction. Responsibility (q.v.) depends on knowledge. Animals cannot sin and are not morally responsible because they are not rational or intellectual creatures. Therefore man remains the image of God even after the fall.

The image must be reason or intellect. Christ is the image of God because he is God’s Logos or Wisdom. This Logos enlightens every man that comes into the world. Man must be rational to have fellowship with God. II Peter 1:2-8; 2:20; 3:18 emphasize knowledge and state that the means through which God grants us all things that pertain to life and godliness is theology- our knowledge of him. This idea is important for the late twentieth century when the dialectical theologians deny the image of God in man, calling God Totally Other, or define image ridiculously as the sexual distinction between man and woman (Karl Barth), and insist that God cannot put his “truth” into language, thus denying that the Scriptures are revelation and even reducing them to false pointers to something unknowable.

Secular objections to the image of God in man can be based only on a general non-theistic philosophy. Evolution views man as a natural development from neutrons and protons, through plants and animals, until in Africa, Asia, and the East Indies human being emerged. Therefore evolution cannot insist on the unity of the human race as Christianity does in Acts 17:26.

Evolution as an explanatory principle must apply to the mind as well as to the body. There can then be no divine image, no eternal principles, no fixed truth or logic. The mind operates only with the practical results of biological adaptation. Reason is simply a human method of handling things. Earlier man had and future man will have other forms of logic. The syllogism called Barbara is valid now but will become a fallacy after a while.

If this be so, that is, if evolutionists have used evolutionary logic in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in order to sustain their theory, then their arguments will prove fallacious in the next evolutionary advance and evolution will then be a fallacy.

The Biblical doctrine alone makes eternal truth possible (and “truth” that is not eternal is not truth). Reason makes possible both sin and fellowship with God. Sin has caused a malfunctioning of man’s mind, but redemption will renew men in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, so that in heaven we shall no longer make mistakes even in arithmetic. GORDON H. CLARK (4)

Does the image of God in man mean that God has a body?

No, because God is omnipresent, meaning, He is fully present everywhere.

From Scripture, God's Omnipresence is seen in the following verses:

“But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee: how much less this house which I have built!” (2 Chronicles 6:18)

“Wither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalms 139:7)

“Thus Saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1)

“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24)

If God has a corporeal finite body, it would be a logical contradiction and rejection of God’s omnipresence. See *****

Additional support from Scripture that God does not have a body:

In the next two passages, Jesus says: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39)

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

In closing:

Reformed Confessions on man in God’s image:

Belgic Confession (1561):

14. We believe that God created man out of the dust of the earth, and made and formed him after his own image and likeness, good, righteous, and holy, capable in all things to will, agreeably to the will of God. But being in honour, he understood it not, neither knew his excellency, but willfully subjected himself to sin, and consequently to death, and the curse, giving ear to the words of the devil. For the commandment of life, which he had received, he transgressed; and by sin separated himself from God, who was his true life, having corrupted his whole nature; whereby he made himself liable to corporal and spiritual death. And being thus become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways, he hath lost all his excellent gifts, which he had received from God, and only retained a few remains thereof, which, however, are sufficient to leave man without excuse; for all the light which is in us is changed into darkness, as the Scriptures teach us, saying: The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not: where St. John calleth men darkness.

Heidelberg Catechism (1563):

Q. 6. Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?

A. By no means; but God created man good, and after his own image, in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him and live with him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise him.

Q. 86. Since then we are delivered from our misery merely of grace, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?

A. Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image; that so we may testify by the whole of our conduct our gratitude to God for His blessings, and that He may be praised by us; also, that every one may be assured in himself of his faith by the fruits thereof; and that by our godly conversation others may be gained to Christ.

Canons of Dordt (1618-1619):

III/IV: 1. Man was originally formed after the image of God. His understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his Creator, and of spiritual things; his heart and will were upright; all his affections pure; and the whole man was holy; but revolting from God by the instigation of the devil, and abusing the freedom of his own will, he forfeited these excellent gifts; and on the contrary entailed on himself blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity and perverseness of judgment, became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections.

III/IV: R: 2. [The Synod rejects the errors of those] Who teach that the spiritual gifts, or the good qualities and virtues, such as goodness, holiness, righteousness, could not belong to the will of man when he was first created, and that these, therefore, could not have been separated therefrom in the fall.

Westminster Confession (1646):

4:2. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it: and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

Westminster Larger Catechism (1647):

Q. 17. How did God create man?

A. After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man out of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness.

Notable quote:

William Perkins: “The image of God is nothing else but a conformity of man unto God whereby man is holy as God is holy: for Paul saith, Put on the new man, which after God, that is in God’s image, is created in righteousness and holiness. Now I reason thus: Wherein the renewing of the image of God in man doth stand, therein was it at the first; but the renewing of God’s image in man doth stand in righteousness and holiness: therefore God’s image wherein man was created at the beginning, was a conformity to God in righteousness and holiness.” (Works, vol. 1, pp. 150-151)

“Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.” (Psalm 119:12)

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)


1.      Abraham Kuyper, The Work of the Holy Spirit, ‘IX. The Image of God in Man.’ (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing, reprinted 1979), pp. 242-246.

2.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Colossians, Vol. 20, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 151.

3.      W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (Iowa Falls, Iowa, Riverside Book and Bible House), pp. 576-578.

4.      Gordon H. Clark, in Baker’s Dictionary of Christian Ethics. Carl F.H. Henry, ed. Washington D.C., Canon Press, 1973). Encyclopedia 55. Image of God (typed)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. He served as an ordained ruling elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He worked in and retired from a fortune five hundred company in corporate America after forty years. He runs two blogs sites and is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at:

For more study:

* For a great source of theological definitions go to Rebecca writes at Rebecca Writes:

** CARM theological dictionary


**** Reformed answers


Man as the image of God by Louis Berkhof

The Original State of Man by A. A. Hodge