@jongarvey's Shift on Image of God

In a Genealogical Adam scenario, I don’t think the argument would be about not all being in the image of God, but about what the image means - which changes nothing if all of us bear it/are it, because all share in Adam’s calling.

In an evolutionary scheme, or any where there are questions to ask about other human “varieties”, the question of who were image bearers and who not will always be there, probably unanaswerable, and irrelevant to human rights now, which I would argue are firmly based on being created in the image of God. I think only theological outliers would disagree, and it’s a risky place to be, given the history of excluding certain groups from full humanity.

But as I recently stated, my own view has come round to treating Gen 1 and 2 fully sequentially, so that mankind outside the garden is, phenomenologically speaking, assumed to be created in the image and likeness of God. The when and how of that is irrelevant, unless someone invents a time machine to go and enslave or evangelise Neanderthals.

Note that it is no shame not to be in that image if you’re not one of the creatures designated scripturally as mankind. Australopithecus no doubt had the dignity of an intelligent ape of whatever capacities it had, just as orang utans are worthy of respect for what they are - more respect than sinful man gives them, in fact. But they are not bothered about how closely they resemble God, or not - and maybe that’s one of the factors involved in the image.


In this matter surely Genesis 9 is the firm basis for human rights, because it legislates an accounting before God for the life of a man, for both animal and man, the subject being the lifeblood of Noah and his sons, as humans (v1,5), and by implication their offspring, and noting that this is based on a fraternal relationship (v5). Its scope is therefore universal amongst mankind descended from Noah. But also it unequivocally states that its final basis is that man was created in the image of God, and hence its scope is actually universal for those descended from Adam.

Ergo, contra the thread heading, "Image of God does Grouns Human Rights. QED.

I note with mild interest that, for those who might still rabbit on about the curse on Ham and the bolack races, that even if there were a shred of truth to the generalistion, it is trumped by the universal respect for humanity in these verses.


1] Not to worship idols.
2] Not to curse God.
3] To establish courts of justice.
4] Not to commit murder.
5] Not to commit adultery or sexual immorality.
6] Not to steal.
7] Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal.

If Genesis 1 and 2 are “fully sequential” then where exactly does it say that Adam was “created in the image of God.”?

I agree that 9:6 lends support to the idea that the right to life comes in part from the fact that God originally created the man in His own image (it says “ha-adam” there). That is, this was the original state of the man. And it is God’s intent for mankind, which is present reality in heaven and working its way out on earth. Not that this is the exclusive scriptural basis for our rights. Again I refer to John Locke who may have used 9:6 but did not rely on it even primarily to make his case for human rights coming from God. This verse goes further than expressing rights in that it demands an accounting when those rights are violated.

But my main point is that 1) a sequential reading is not essential to see a population inside the garden and outside the garden in chapters one and two and 2) If the chapters are strictly sequential then there is no textual support for the idea that the man in chapter two was even created (just formed and made as @Guy_Coe has pointed out), much less created in the image of God. Yet from 9:6 there seems to be a connection between Adam’s descendants (Noah and His sons) and the creation of the Man in chapter one.

Hence I conclude that the chapters are not fully sequential though they do indicate a population outside the garden and then Adam (and Eve) inside it.

Take raw oysters and some sushi dishes off the menu…

If Adam and Eve are descended from prior humans, the most unintuitive part of my proposal, given the traditional (mis?)understanding, they are “created in God’s image” just as much, and no less than, every other human being. They are special, however, by being the paradigmatic first humans to willfully disobey a command of God, and thus betray that image. Given that, up to that point, sin was not accorded because no commandments had been given yet, they stand at the fountainhead of human rebellion against God, the capacity and inclination for which has translated on down to every human being, as illuminated by a GA understanding.
Reading the chapters sequentially does not displace them from this pivotal role in Biblical history and revelation.They certainly were “called for a purpose” --as we all are, but they spectacularly failed, so God redeemed them to set them back to their purpose.

That is true, but that is a big “if” given the text of chapter two. But we needed re-hash that here.

I fail to see what’s even slightly iffy about it. If they weren’t “specially created” (as you favor), then how did they come to be, if not descended from “imago Dei” humanity?

I don’t think you can sustain the case for making “form” and “create” mutually exlusive in the OT, let alone Genesis. They are not only used interchangeably, but the number of uses of bara in particular serves a literary/thrological function.

And that reliance on the definite article … too much altogether is being hung on it. It is not a singular man in Gen 1, but a generic man, which is why male and female is immediately added as a qualifier.

I’m the lasy person to insist on the de novo creation of Adam from literal dust, but even if created separately, he is of the same kind and the representative of the humanity in ch 1. And so the interpretation of image language in the rest of the text seems straightforward and unproblematic to me.

As I’d mentioned before, I see these things as situating Adam and Eve solidly within the stream of “Imago Dei” humanity from chapter 1, as is the entire string of comments that establish the climate, geography, ecosystem, and culture into which they were placed. In my view, the author was careful to situate them in a manner that wouldn’t be confused as a rehash of chapter one’s day six, providing any number of distinctions between the two accounts.

Oh your logic on that is entirely sound IMHO. The text does not provide support for a specially created Adam in chapter two being “imago Dei” if chapter one is not referring to him but a population outside the garden. Of course that’s not a problem in the Christ-centered model because 1:27 is referring to three creations.

Jon it is my understanding that the form of bara used in chapter one is not used interchangeably with “form” even though there is a different form of bara which can be. Of course I am open to correction on this with suitable examples from the text.

Christ used a verb tense (I am the God of Abraham) to show the Sadducees that life after death was found in the text even in the law of Moses. Our Lord seemed to think that each jot and tittle mattered.

It is a generic man in 1:26. That’s why it says “adam” there and not “ha-adam” as in 1:27. Show us anywhere else in the text of scripture “ha-adam” means anything but “the man” (or sometimes “of man” but that doesn’t work here). Our traditional translations mucked it up and we have let that influence our thinking. Except for the first two chapters of Genesis, and 9:6 when referencing it, ha-adam is consistently translated THE man (or sometimes of man).

Now “man” there could be a singular yet composite noun. Like “the flock”. The male and female can be a qualifier but there is no reason it must only be a qualifier. Especially since it drops the “image of God” part. But the near text provides an explanation for this: the two are one flesh.

Various commentaries discuss this - one nearest to hand (Kidner) points aout that in this passage bara marks thgree great beginnings; but it does not define a particular way of creating, since in 2:3-4 it is parallel with asa (‘make’) and covers the whole range of God’s work.

Yes, but what they matter for is a matter of grammar.

The basis for critiquing translators has to be a case argued by better translators, it seems to me. Hebrew scholars weren’t fools even in King James’s day, and even less so now with increased knowledge. Once again, the commentaries discuss the options in detail.

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created [a]and made.

The fact that the text goes to the trouble to say both indicates that there is a difference worth noting.

Yes and what “ha” prefix is for is very similar to our English “the” throughout the volume of the OT.

The more recent translators have already began walking it back. The ESV translates “the man” where the KJV says “Adam” in chapter two for example. But the translators can only go so far when the theologians won’t budge.

@anon46279830 (@jongarvey)

Oh… this is an easy one (at least it is now):

  1. Genesis 1 says the humans (male & female) were made in God’s image.

  2. Genesis 9 has God telling the flood survivors (Noah et al) that murder deserves the death penalty, because murder is killing someone with the image of God.

This, by definition, is everyone descending from Noah and his family … a kinship group based on Genesis 2.

So between Genesis 1 and 9, both the Evolved and de novo branches of humanity are covered.

Look at the context of the verse in chapter nine. God is referencing the original creation in Chapter one and applying it to Noah and his descendants who were of Adam in chapter two. Ergo an understanding of this verse which includes Adam and his lot in chapter one is required. Sequential doesn’t do that. The Christ-centered view does.


Did we already throw this ball in the air? Because your logic sounds just as “indirect” now as my memory seems to recall it before.

Mark, you can’t kill anyone in the past … murder can only be accomplished in the future. Period. Full stop.

If ALL of Noah’s descendants have the Image of God, then de novo humans are covered.

And Chapter 1, which covers the evolved “adams”, explicitly covers them.

Both branches of human creation are settled. Period. Full Stop.

I don’t know what you think you are accomplishing by saying that one branch or another is not covered. They clearly are.

I agree that 9:6 is saying that Noah’s descendants are among those to which the image applies. But the reason they are hearkens back to chapter one when God said “Let us make man in our own image.” And that’s what He did. That God in verse 9:6 is connecting what He did in chapter one to Noah and his sons, descendants of Adam in chapter two, demonstrates that Genesis 1 and 2 are not strictly sequential.

The only view that makes logical sense, if one is to have a population outside the garden in addition to de_novo Adam and Eve inside it, is that both are in chapter one and chapter two zooms in on the latter. This is one reason why I say 1:27 is speaking about three creations with its triplet. One in heaven, one in the garden, and one outside it though with a double meaning which applies to all three.

@anon46279830 (@jongarvey )

This is a circular argument, which I think is unusual for you. Unless you think circularity is a normal part of some rabbinical procedure: You attempt to use the context of Genesis 9:6 to prove that Genesis 1 does not pertain to a pre-Adam population. Then you say that because the root of that context is in Genesis 1, then Genesis 1 obviously can’t pertain to a pre-Adam population either.

It might work for a Sunday sermon, but not for a rigorous theological presentation.

The fact is, Genesis 9:6 stands alone in describing the image of God as applied to Noah and his offspring. There is nothing about Genesis 1 that requires it to be retroactively brought to bear any future time that God’s Image should be again mentioned. There is no “logical entailment” for that interpretation. So, for the interpretation to be sustained, it has to be sustained from the usual context clues.

The fact Genesis 2 makes no mention of God’s Image, while dozens of duplications in references are made, makes it even easier to see that the Genesis 1 reference to God’s image is not “logically binding” on any other references to God’s creation or God’s Image in that creation.