Article 103-1 – Humanity in God’s Image

Biblical Principles for Living

103-1.1 The human race exists as a result of an instantaneous creative act of God.1 Humanity shares many characteristics with other creatures, but is unique in that each individual bears the image or likeness of God.2 This image makes possible the worship of God,3 relationships between persons,4 and responsibility to rule over God’s creation.5 Only God confers this image, and it cannot be removed by any created being. Originally God’s image in humanity included true righteousness and holiness; but by the entrance of sin into humanity these have been lost6 and the image distorted yet not destroyed.7

103-1.2 Because human beings are made in God’s image, every person has an unique identity, individual worth, and purpose to live for God’s glory.8 The image of God is also the basis for the dignity of every person. All human life should be cherished and protected, not neglected, despised or abused. God forbids the unlawful destruction of human life, both murder and suicide, and provides the strongest of sanctions, including capital punishment, to protect it.9 The killing of the weak and defenseless by means of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia is a crime against both those persons and the God whose image they bear. Christians should exert every effort to oppose these evils in society, and other evils as defined and condemned by Scripture, including racism;11 cultural bias;12 gender discrimination;13 ignoring the poor,14 disabled15 and aged;16 and every other form of injustice against human beings.17 They should respect the image of God in every person despite the sins of that person or the consequences of those sins.18 They should also work to protect the dignity of every human being.19

1Gen.1:26, 27; 2:7
3Gen.3:8-9; Acts 17:26-28
5Gen.1:28; 2:15; Psa.8:3-8
6Eph.4:24; Col.3:10
7James 3:9
9Ex.20:13; Gen.9:6
11 Deut. 10:17-19; Gal. 2:6
12 Acts 10:27, 28; 1 Cor. 9:19-23
13 Mark 10:6, 10-12; Gal. 3:28, 29
14 Prov. 14:31; 21:13; James 2:1-4
15 Lev. 19:14; Deut. 27:18
16 Lev. 19:32; 1 Tim. 5:1,2
17 Deut. 27:19; Acts 20:35
181 Cor.6:9-11; James 3:9
19Rom.13:8-10; Rom. 12:10

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