As we’ve previously argued,
every human being bears the image of God. But what does that mean? What is the
function of the image of God in the everyday lives of men and women? Let me
suggest two:—dominion and dignity.
Dominion is easiest to see from Genesis
1 since the word is explicitly stated in the text.
26b 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 (emphasis added).
To have dominion means to rule
over something or to exercise authority over something. Notice how broad is the
scope of mankind’s dominion.
Mankind has dominion over the
creatures in the water, over the creatures in the air, and over the creature on
the land. That pretty much covers every type of creature.
Unfortunately, some have taken
their God-given dominion and used it in nefarious ways, but dominion doesn’t
imply that we can be careless with God’s creation. After all, we do need to
remember that this is God’s creation—not ours! We are merely stewards of God’s
In being given dominion, we’re
acting with authority as God’s stewards over his creation. So, for example. is
it ok to go and kill an animal to provide food to eat? Yes, of course, it is. One
may choose to eat vegan, but that’s not a requirement of bearing the image of
On the other hand, is it ok to hunt
a species to the point of extinction? No, in doing so, we wouldn’t be
exercising a proper dominion over God’s creation.
Or consider this scenario. What
if we have to make a choice between killing an animal or killing a human being?
What if we’re facing a moral dilemma?
Some of you may remember the
incident with Harambe—a western lowland gorilla in the Cincinnati zoo—that
happened a couple of years ago.
A three-year-old boy had somehow
gotten into the gorilla enclosure, and Harambe, the gorilla, grabbed the boy
and started dragging him around the enclosure. The zookeeper had to make a
quick and devastating decision. He chose to shoot and kill the gorilla so that
the boy could be saved.
It was all a very tragic event,
and we won’t even get into the discussion about whether animal enclosures like
zoos are good or about the boy’s parents and their complicity in allowing the
boy to get that close to the enclosure.
It was a sad thing to have to
shoot the gorilla, but it was the right call. The boy, not the gorilla, is
created in the image of God. That means that the boy has more worth than the
Of course, that doesn’t mean
that it’s OK to hunt gorillas for sport and put their heads on your mantles,
but human beings have more inherent worth than other parts of God’s creation.
Human beings are created in the image of God.
It always strikes me as strange
when some “well-meaning” person has conflicting bumper stickers on their
car—one championing the need to save the spotted owl, and the other championing
a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.
Without a doubt, we ought to
exercise a stewardship over God’s creation to save as many animals that are
nearing extinction as we can, but the baby inside the woman’s belly is just that—a
human baby—a human person. And as such, that baby has worth and dignity.
A couple of years ago, the
singer Beyoncé posted on social media that she was having twins and that she
had “three hearts inside her.” Her post instantly became one of the most
“liked” posts in history. Millions of people “liked” her post.
Yet, many of those same
millions—including Beyoncé herself—advocate for a woman’s right to kill the
baby in the womb. We can’t have it both ways.
We can’t celebrate the baby
simply because it’s wanted. What’s in the womb is either a human being with
human personhood or it’s not. We can’t have it both ways.
Biblical and modern scientific
evidence conclusively shows us that what is inside the womb is a human being.
And because it’s a human being, it has worth, which brings us to the second “D”
Because we are created in the
image of God, mankind alone has a dignity that no other creature has.
Furthermore, EVERY human being has that dignity—from conception to natural
The United States of America has
some of the most liberal and inhumane laws regulating abortion in the world. We
share the company of nations like North Korea, Vietnam, and China. The least
safe place to be for many babies in the US is in the womb.
Lawmakers in New York recently
celebrated the passing of a law that allows for abortion up until the moment of
birth. The embroiled governor of Virginia even made public comments that
sounded like infanticide!
Only a few states place bans on “sex-selection”
abortions (i.e., choosing to have an abortion because the parents don’t like
the biological gender of the baby). This is draconian! But, apparently, to
those who want completely unfettered access to abortion, it’s too much to ask
for a ban on sex-selection abortions. According to one organization that is
openly pro-abortion, they say,
“Bans on sex-selective abortions
place a burden on [abortion] providers.”
How petty is that argument? What
about the burden on that little baby boy and that little baby girl? He or she
has been created with dignity and worth, and their dignity and worth trumps the
burden on the provider.
Human beings have dignity and
worth. Human beings have dominion. That’s the function of being created in the
image of God.