His Image, His Likeness

Now that we have concluded our study of the domestic church and the roles within the family, I would like to go a little deeper into something I touched on in the article The First Covenant. What does it mean to be made in the “image and likeness of God?”

As I was getting prepared to post this study, I noticed that TheologicalStudies.org has an article, What is the image of God, fortunately for me, he takes a different approach in his article, than I do in this study.

This is what I hope we will learn through this study:

In an attempt to understand that humanity was made in the image of God, we must have a true image of who God is. And how that image, that is given to us, should be acted upon to reflect that image. In the very first book of the Bible, God starts to reveal to us His image, His likeness, thus handing down to humanity, the blueprint of who they are to be and their responsibilities.


2 Responses

  1. Catholicism has tended to follow St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas on the matter of “image” and “likeness”.

    While the two words are often used as synonyms, especially these days, traditional Catholic dogmatic theology distinguishes them.

    The linked essay makes the following observations:

    “Augustine (354–430) argued that the image of God resides in the rational and spiritual soul (see Demarest, 145–46).”

    “Thomas Aquinas said the image consisted of memory, understanding, and will or love.”

    “Thomas Aquinas distinguished between image which is the intellectual nature retained after the Fall and likeness which is conferred righteousness lost in the Fall (Demarest, 146).”

    Men and women are made in the IMAGE OF GOD, not because of any physical resemblence, but because humanity stands out from all the rest of creation as its steward; finally there is a creature that can respond to God in kind– we can know, love and serve God. Man is self-conscious and rational. He can know himself and others in a self-reflective way. He also has the power of will, which is to be focused principally in loving others, particularly God. It is the soul with its gifts of intellect and will that most resemble God who is an infinite and perfect Spirit.

    Men and women forfeited the LIKENESS OF GOD in the primordial rebellion and sin. They lost the preternatural graces and eternal life; in other words, they were stripped of sanctifying grace and the worthiness to share God’s life. However, baptism and faith, while not restoring all the lesser gifts, does restore the saving grace (justification) of God and grants us once more a likeness to God. Christians see this likeness as putting on the mind and heart of Jesus. It is a transformation in Christ. We become adoptive sons and daughters to the heavenly Father and brothers and sisters to Jesus. We are invited into the inner life of the Trinitarian God and share in divine (eternal) life.


  2. Thank you Father Joe, for sharing the Catholic dogma of image and likeness and the fact that they are indeed different. You certainly put it in a way that was easier to understand than some of the things I’ve read. I know it will be of great value for others also, who may not be familiar with the Catholic doctrine.
    I can’t wait to get started on this study! What a great start!

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