Animals and the Image of God

Very few people that work closely with apes would agree with this statement. They may not be morally equivalent to humans (and, again, almost no one would say that either), but they are moral agents in any meaningful sense of the word.



The line being drawn here by YECs (and by lots of other Christians) is that the non-human primates do not share the psychological elements unique to those who bear the image of God.

I wasn’t aware that the image of God can be measured as psychological elements, but since that clearly takes this question out of the realm of scientific evidence, I am happy to bow out of the discussion.



I am sure there must be some audiences who decide to interpret God’s Image to mean his physical appearance.

But the more common view is either:

a) a reference to Freewill (or more freewill than any other creature), or
b) a reference to a particular level of morality.

And I would wager there are those who equate the “image” as being equivalent to (sit tight for a circularity) the ability to experience an afterlife.

I would certainly hope not. Every theologian I have met would vigorously dispute that idea.

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Neither was I aware…

@swamidass (@NLENTS):

Nor you, Joshua?

The alternative to psychological elements is phenotype. Have you customarily interpreted the phrase “God’s Image” to mean humans have the physical appearance of God?

@swamidass (@NLENTS):

I didnt see this post of yours until now.

The suspense is killing me…

How many ways are there for interpreting the term God’s image?

I suggest that it is mostly mental/psychological, rather than physical image.

Is there another category to consider? Perhaps we are just struggling over terminology?

Well I have a whole chapter on the image of God in the book. Read it yet?

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Still waiting for the book delivery.

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That’s the only alternative? I seem to recall all kinds of possible meanings for “image and likeness” that are hotly debated. But pinning it on specific psychological attributes or cognitive abilities seems fraught to me, given that humans vary incredibly on all of these traits. Oh well, I have no dog in this hunt. :slight_smile:


I would describe apes as moral patients. Not agents.