How are we made in the Image of God?

What does it mean that humans are made in the image of God?

Genesis 1:26-27 says: Then 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 birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

In all of creation, only human beings were created in the image of God. Therefore human beings are uniquely different from all the other creatures that God made.
The image of God does not refer to our physical appearance or likeness. We do not physically look like God because God is not a physical Being.

John 4:24 says that God is Spirit and therefore God has characteristics and qualities that function above and beyond our physical likeness and capabilities.

Being made in the image of God refers to the righteous immaterial attributes of God that are reflected in man. Being made in the image of God also means that just like God, human beings have a moral, social, intellectual and spiritual nature and this is primarily why we are different from other creatures.


4 Ways Humans Were Made in the Image of God

1. We are Moral beings
Morality refers to the set of standards or laws that enable people to live cooperatively in groups or in a society. A group or society cannot exist without moral laws. Individuals who disobey moral standards and laws of the society are either considered immoral or lawbreakers.

So unlike the animals, God created us with a moral conscience so that we can discern right from wrong. This is why we feel guilt or shame when we do something wrong; It is why we desire justice when we witness injustice. Our conscience is why we seek goodness and righteousness even in the midst of evil and why we believe that an immoral deed or crime must have a penalty.


2. We are Social beings
From the first man, God decided that it was not good for Adam to be alone and so God created Eve (Genesis 2:18).

God created us with the desire to fellowship with others instead of living in isolation. We were made to internally desire and seek meaningful relationships and friendships with others.

So as human beings we seek to both love and to be loved by others. We seek to both give and receive the care and companionship of others. We are also capable of expressing kindness, mercy and gratitude towards one another. Therefore as humans we desire fellowship.


3. We are Intellectual beings
Humans are different from the animals in that God created us with the ability to mentally and intellectually think and act on a very wide variety of issues and subjects.
For example, whenever we write a poem, write a book, invent a gadget, perform a mathematics calculation, draw a picture, program a computer  – we are demonstrating that we are made in God’s image.

Being made in the image of God means that just like God, humans have a creative mind with the ability to solve problems as well as perform different kinds of tasks that require mental aptitude.
We are volitional beings who can reason and make choices and decisions with our minds and not just by instinct. This is also the reason why God gave mankind dominion over all the other creatures on the planet (Genesis 1:26).


4. We are Spiritual beings
Just as God is Spirit, humans also have a spirit. We do not only have a physical body, but we each have a spirit that lives on long after our physical bodies have died (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

God created man in His own image when He formed Adam from the dust and then breathed into Adam. This signifies that a part of God’s attributes was transferred into man so that man was not only a physical being made from dust – but man became a spiritual being.

Genesis 2:7 says: Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Mankind was created to worship God and to have a spiritual relationship with God. In every human God has put eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and this is why we seek purpose beyond just the natural experience.


Humanity Has A Fallen Image

In Genesis 1:1-31 God made everything and He saw that was He had made was good. Therefore there was a time when the world was once a perfect and flawless place because of the creation of the Lord.

However the world soon became imperfect because of the sin and disobedience of Adam in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24).
When Adam sinned, man’s perfect image of God became broken and distorted because of the taint of sin. For example, when Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God because their perfect fellowship with God was broken due to their sin and disobedience (Genesis 3:8-13).

What followed for every human born after Adam is that every person is a sinner who falls short of Gods perfect standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23).

Romans 5:12 says: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

So humanity has a sin nature. We have all broken God’s Ten Commandments. So because of sin our moral, intellectual, social and spiritual life was greatly affected. Mankind has problems and issues in all these 4 areas of life.
For example, instead of expressing love for one another – we express hatred; instead of caring for others, we have become selfish; instead of worshipping God, we engage in idolatry; instead of creating things that benefit others, we create with the intention to destroy our fellow man; instead of desiring moral living, we love and pursue immorality and all forms of ungodliness.

This is a picture of our fallen nature. It is a picture of how the once perfect image of God which was in man, has been now been distorted because of sin.


Become a New Creation

The only way our distorted image can be restored is through becoming born again. It is when we become a new creation in Christ that we are given a new heart and become more like Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:49 says: Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the Man of heaven.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

The distorted image of God in us will eventually be perfectly restored when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Stay Equipped & Inspired

Subscribe to receive weekly updates about fresh articles, videos, and resources.