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August 12, 2005

Ch. XIV. Q. 85. The Image of God

MAN is made in the image of God; and although this image especially appears in the spiritual part of his nature, his body, considered as part of the microcosm in which the soul is sovereign, pertains to the divine image in man.1

2. The popular disparagement of man's material organism is a survival of Manichaean error, fortified by protestant reaction from mediaeval caricatures of the sacramental principle. But the human body was made by God, and is therefore good. It was made for the use of spirit, and its anti-spiritual influence arises from our spiritual weakness and failure to rule it rightly. Apart from the flesh man is dead, and his appointed spiritual destiny cannot be attained except through restoration of the body in the resurrection of the dead. The redemption of Christ and His resurrection make possible this resurrection and the ultimate subjection of our flesh to our spirits—the originally designed purpose of our creation.2

3. The divine image is reflected in the human soul m the following ways: (a) Its essence is spiritual, although created; (b) It possesses rational freedom, and, under finite limitations, rules the body somewhat as God rules the world; (c) It is mentally present throughout space and vitally throughout the body, without either division or diffusion, although not possessed of divine omnipresence and immensity; (d) By divine grace it can participate in divine moral perfection, although liable to sin; (e) It is inside for divine fellowship, although capable of absorption in carnal associations.

4. It is part of man's function as made in the image of God to exercise a derivative and limited sovereignty over the world. This rule is exercised immediately over his own organism, which is a microcosm or recapitulation of the larger world or macrocosm.3 From this inner sphere his dominion is designed to extend itself over every creature. Sin has retarded the fulfilment of this creative purpose; and redemption enables man to resume his advance in power. The development of Christian civilization and the progress of science and invention constitute evidences of this. That there is a relation between this advance and the consummation in the new heavens and earth seems likely, but its nature is not revealed to us.4

1 Creation. pp. 186-188; St. Thomas, I. xciii; Cornel. A Lapide, Commentary, on Gen. i. 26; J. Laidlaw, Bible Doctr. of Man, chh. vii-viii; Darwell Stone, Outlines, pp. 41-43; Wilhelm and Scannell, Cath. Theol., §§ 124-125; Hastings, Dic. of Bible, s. v. "Image".

2 Cf. J.R. Illingworth, Divine Immanence, chh. i-ii, vi.

3 P.G. Medd, One Mediator, § 56; H. Martensen, Christ. Dogmatics, §§ 68, 72.

4 A. Moore. Science and the Faith, pp. 200 ety seq.; A.J. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, ch. iii. 9. Cf. St. Thomas, I. xcvi. 1-2.

Posted by AKMA at August 12, 2005 06:00 AM