@marty.pomeroy You have nicely contributed with a great illustration. You have aroused a frequent meditation of mine about humankind’s creativity that I had forgotten. We exert great effort to approach God’s Creation as closely as possible in both science and art. That is part of @Lakshmismehta’s God-shaped void. I think that it parallels a child’s mimicry of his or her parents. Maybe this is part of the child-like faith that Jesus said we should have in Matthew 18:3: a creativity directed to worshipping God through mimicry, not self-aggrandizement.
Yes hermana Lakshmi, What you mention is that, had recently help me to become even more passionate to pursue my call on outreach and evangelism. This rationality of creation, helps me to talk to people of any worldview, including the Christians. I always apply in the process, three of the most important properties of God: love, truth and justice.
Hi Brendon @blbossard. I’ve read the different answers to your question and am humbled by their knowledge and philosophical depth. Anthony @anthony.costello is trying to teach me philosophy, but I have a long way to go. The course you just took would probably have me with a big question mark above my head. But, I would still like to put forth some ideas.
One thing I’m learning is how much the various disciplines of science rely on theory and then empirical evidence, only to find out that what they thought was fact proof turned out to be otherwise. So, it is always in a state of flux. So, perhaps what we might call empirical proofs regarding the image of God really end up being theories when all is said and done.
Recently, I wrote a paper in response to a New Creationist’s article I read. In it, the author made a somewhat sarcastic referance to the image of God that Christians are keyed into. What I realized in the process of researching Scripture (and I know you don’t want an answer from a biblical perspective) is that Genesis doesn’t say we are made in the physical image of God. In fact, I found that God took on the human likeness of man (Philippians 2:6-7)
Who, being in very nature [form] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[form] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Here we see that God took on man’s physical image. So, our physical form may be just “housing” for the real image of God. Of course, we read of God’s eyes, His feet, His arm’s, that He can smell, etc… but if God wrote Scripture, couldn’t He have used terms to describe Himself in terminology we could understand?..just as John prophesied in Revelation using images that he was familiar with, not knowing about airplanes and tanks of our day.
What we do know from Scripture is that God is a spirit and must be worshiped in “spirit and truth”.(John 4:24) So, I think we are getting closer to what the image of God is about. Then, we are told to love the Lord with all our “heart, soul, and mind.” (Matt. 22:37). I think this brings us closer to what it means to be made in the image of God. “Heart” and “soul”, I think, get used interchangeably, but they basically mean our desires, our wills, the moral fiber of our being. “Mind” is the thinking aspect. So, by these, we can deduce that God has a will, desires, a moral character, and that He thinks. Over all of these, they are encompassed by love. If we can see these characteristics in humans, then, perhaps, we can say that we have empirical evidence that we are made in His image.
To me, to question being made in the image of God, the secular world has to use the Bible. So, how else can we respond? Just the process of raising the question reflects the “thinking” character of God. If you think about it, the statement, “I think, therefore I am,” (Rene Descartes) reveals the image of God because one of the names God calls Himself is “I Am”.
In regard to the animal kingdom responding differently from man to God, Jesus said that the very rocks would cry out in praise to Him if the people didn’t.(Luke 19:40) Also, Romans 8 talks about all nature “groaning” because it is out of sync with how God intended creation. I heard a sermon by Dr. David Jeremiah when he quoted someone (unfortunately, I can’t remember who) who said that all of the sounds of nature, from the birds’ songs to the sound of the ocean are in the minor key. So, beyond the beauty of nature that reveals the character of God, there is also a “human” nature, or personification, built into natural creation that responds to God’s nature. (I hope I’m explaining that sensibly.)
I’m not sure if I have added anything to your study, but I enjoyed delving into the question, even if from a biblical perspective.
@sgewehr You did very well with your post. I appreciate it. To clarify, it is not that I did not want to use the Bible to defend concept of the image of God. It is that I want to give something outside of the Bible that can be grasped by a skeptic. I have found that skeptics do not usually respond well to Biblical citation for one’s reasoning, because they typically see it as a form of circular reasoning. (That is my experience anyway.) So I have found that giving them a “hook,” so to speak, can help to open them to listening to what the Bible says.
Yes. I understood that. It’s just that they take from the Bible to ask us to prove (or disprove) it. Science (or math) uses science to prove or disprove itself. Why isn’t the Bible allowed? If using science/math on itself isn’t considered circular reasoning, why is using the Bible on itself considered circular?
I think Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” is very subtle. You might say, “ I think therefore God”.
I think I’ll go back and research Dr. Jeremiah’s comment about nature’s sounds being in a minor key. Would that be empirical enough to back up that all nature is groaning?
Anyway, I’d be interested to see what you come up with.