From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

The use of this term in the apostolic writings may be conveniently discussed under three heads.

1. Connexion with idolatry .-Apart from  Romans 1:23, where St. Paul is reviewing the corruption of the pagan world and the perversity with which men neglected the living God for ‘the likeness of an image’ of men, birds, quadrupeds, and reptiles, all our references are found in the Apocalypse and concern the particular form of idolatry that acutely distressed the early Church, viz. the worship of the bust of Caesar. This ‘image’ is first brought forward in  Revelation 13:14 f. (but cf. ‘Satan’s throne’ at Pergamum,  Revelation 2:13). The Seer has described the Roman Empire in the guise of a monster rising out of the sea ( Revelation 2:1 ff.), and its counterpart, a monster from the land (afterwards described as the false prophet), who represents the Caesar-cult and its priests in the Eastern provinces. This sacerdotal land-monster is plausible and seductive, and his inducements to Christians to show themselves good citizens are backed up by miracles. The image or statue of the first monster, i.e. the bust of the Emperor, is set up among the statues of the gods to receive the offerings and devotion of the citizens, and through ventriloquy it seems to have the power of speech. The cult was enforced with all the resources that could be devised, and to counteract it an angel utters fearful judgment on all who worship the monster and his statue ( Revelation 14:9-11). The supremely happy fate of those who resisted both blandishment and compulsion is depicted in  Revelation 15:2 f. and  Revelation 20:4; the punishment of those who conformed, in  Revelation 16:2 and  Revelation 19:20. See, further, articleIdolatry.

We may note at this point that the word εἰκών (like εἴδωλον) in classical Greek usually stands for the portrait statues or paintings of men and women; seldom for images of the gods. An instance of its use in the NT which may be regarded as focusing the range of its varied application and as a transition from the above discussion to those which follow, is found in  Hebrews 10:1, where the Mosaic Law is spoken of as being a mere ‘shadow’ of the coming bliss, instead of representing its reality or being its ‘very image.’ ‘The’ ‘shadow” is the dark outlined figure cast by the object … contrasted with the complete representation (εἰκών) produced by the help of colour and solid mass. The εἰκών brings before us under the conditions of space, as we can understand it, that which is spiritual’ (B. F. Westcott, in loc. ).

2. Christ as the image of God .-Two of the passages where Christ is spoken of as the image of God are Pauline- 2 Corinthians 4:4 (‘the image of God’), and  Colossians 1:15 (‘the image of the invisible God’). The first is in a context which clearly points back to the Apostle’s conversion experiences. All his thought turns on his doctrine of the Divinity of Christ, and the basis of that doctrine was the bright vision he had beheld on the way to Damascus. This was his distinctive gospel, that which marked him off from those who simply knew the human Jesus, blameless and pure though His life had been. In the second passage he is concerned to set before the people of Colossae the overwhelming superiority of Christ as a mediator between man and God, over the many and strange spirits and forces which they thought of as intervening between the Divine and the human. Hence he uses the word εἰκών, which, even in its material sense already referred to, connotes true representation rather than accidental similarity, and representation of that which is at any rate temporarily out of sight. His thought is that Christ is the external expression as it were of God: at once His representation and manifestation. ‘Ethically and essentially He is at once the Revealer and the Revelation of the Eternal Spirit’ (J. Strachan, The Captivity and the Pastoral Epp. [Westminster NT, 1910], p. 41). It is not simply that He is like God-He is God manifest. And beyond the reference to the earthly life and ministry of Christ, even primarily perhaps, there is the implication that in the timeless heavenly life He is the εἰκών θεοῦ, God’s representative acting in the sphere of the visible (cf.  John 1:18,  Hebrews 1:3). We may state it more fully thus: Christ is the outcome of His Father’s nature, and so related to Him in a unique manner; and He is especially the means by which the Father has manifested Himself to all that is without, from the first moment of creation and for ever, though the centre and focus of that manifestation is the Incarnation. We recall at once the Johannine doctrine of the Logos; the one is a manifestation to the mind of man through Ear-gate, the other (‘Image’) through Eye-gate. A title given to the Logos in the Midrash, ‘the light of the raiment of the Holy One,’ is suggestive in this connexion. We are reminded also of Christ’s own word recorded in  John 14:9 : ‘he that hath seen me hath seen the Father’ (cf. also  John 8:19;  John 8:42). There are other modes of the Divine manifestation; through creation itself he who has an eye to see may behold ‘the invisible things of God’ ( Romans 1:20), but there is no revelation or manifestation so sure, so adequate, so satisfying as that in Christ.

At this point we may notice the striking expression in  Hebrews 1:3 where Christ, in a passage reminding us of Colossians, is spoken of as ‘the very image of God’s substance.’ The word used is χαρακτήρ, which meant originally a graving tool and then the impression made by such a tool, especially on a seal or die, and the figure struck off by such seal or die; hence the translations ‘stamped with God’s own character’ (Moffatt), ‘the impress of God’s essence’ (Peake). The Son is thus the exact counterpart of the Father, the exact facsimile, the clear-cut impression which possesses all the ‘characteristics’ of the original. Again it is noteworthy that Philo ( de Plant. Noae , § 5) speaks of the Logos as the impression on the seal of God. Westcott ( in loc. ) distinguishes χαρακτήρ from εἰκών by saying that the former ‘conveys representative traits only,’ while the latter ‘gives a complete representation under the condition of earth of that which it figures’; and from μορφή, ‘which marks the essential form.’

3. Man as the image of God or of Christ .-The fundamental text,  Genesis 1:26-27, is the basis of St. Paul’s statement in  1 Corinthians 11:7 (cf.  Colossians 3:10). Man is the image of God in those matters of rational and moral endowment which distinguish him from the humbler creation. St. Paul would no doubt have subscribed to Justin Martyr’s statement that God ‘in the beginning made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative’ ( Apol. i. 28). In neither the OT nor the NT are we to press for a difference between ‘image’ and ‘likeness,’ which are used as synonyms. The image has, however, been marred and obscured by men’s sin. Yet there is the glorious possibility of its renewal and restoration. The new man in Christ Jesus bears once more the image of his Creator ( Colossians 3:10); he becomes akin to God, is able to know Him (εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν) and His will in all the affairs of life. In this perfected likeness to God human distinctions, whether of nationality, religious ceremonial, culture, or caste, fall away-‘in it there is no room for Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free man; Christ is everything and everywhere.’ This agrees with  Romans 8:29, in which the elect are spoken of as sharing the image of God’s Son-that He might be the firstborn of a great brotherhood. Thus it matters little whether we speak of bearing Christ’s image or God’s, and it is fruitless to debate which is prior in time. The two are one. To be conformed to the image of Christ is to share not only His holiness but His glory-a thought brought before us in  2 Corinthians 3:18 (‘We all mirror the glory of the Lord with face unveiled, and so we are being transformed into the same image as himself, passing from one glory to another’) and in  1 Corinthians 15:49 (‘as we have borne the image of material man so we are to bear the image of the heavenly Man’). In the first of these passages the spirit of the believer is likened to a mirror which receives the unobstructed impression of the glory of the Lord. That glory takes up its abode in the Christian, and instead or fading as in the case of Moses, becomes ever more glorious (cf.  Romans 8:11). The assimilation of Christ’s mind and character involves the assimilation of His splendour. The outer man may perish but the inner man, the real man, waxes more and more radiant, strong, and immortal, till it dwells, like its Lord, wholly in the light. With these passages, and especially with the second, which points forward, we may compare  1 John 3:2 f., ‘We are to be like him, for we are to see him as he is.’ While the primary implication is ethical and spiritual it is not the only one in the NT thought of our likeness to Christ.

Literature.-Besides the Commentaries, especially A. S. Peake, Expositor’s Greek Testament  : ‘Colossians,’ 1903; A. Menzies, The Second Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians , 1912; and B. F. Westcott, Epistle to the Hebrews , 1889; see, for Christ as the image of God, W. L. Walker, Christ the Creative Ideal , 1913, pp. 52f., 60f.; H. R. Mackintosh, The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ , 1912, pp. 65, 83; for man as the image of God, H. Wheeler Robinson, Christian Doctrine of Man , 1911, p. 164f.; on image-worship in the Roman Empire and its parallels to-day, C. Brown, Heavenly Visions , 1910, pp. 70f., 175-183.

A. J. Grieve.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [2]

This article is concerned solely with the subject of humankind’s status as being created in the image of God. And this image of God is expressed in all human beings alike, regardless of sex or race (Gen_1:27-28: 2:18; see Humanity, Humankind ) Concerning images in the sense of idols see IDOL,


A unified being

Human beings are different from all other animals in that they alone are made in the image of God ( Genesis 1:26-27). This does not merely mean that certain ‘parts’ of them, such as spiritual, moral or intellectual characteristics, reflect the nature of God. The whole person, exists in God’s image. The eternal God is in some way expressed in human beings, so that they represent God on earth. God has appointed them as the earthly rulers over the created world ( Genesis 1:27-28).

Certainly, one result of creation in God’s image is that people have spiritual, moral and intellectual characteristics that make them different from all other creatures. If they were not in God’s image, they would not, in the biblical sense, be human. Even if they had the same physical appearance as humans, they would still be no more than animals. An animal’s ‘animality’ is something self-contained, so to speak, something entirely within the animal itself. But a human being’s humanity is not self-contained. It is not something that exists independently within a person. It is dependent on God in the sense that its relation with God is what makes it human.

Dignity and responsibility

In creating human beings in his image, God has given them a dignity and status that make their relation to him unique among his creatures ( Psalms 8:3-8;  Matthew 10:31;  Matthew 12:12). At the same time God limits their independence. They are not God; they exist only in the image of God. They cannot exist independently of God any more than the image of the moon on the water can exist independently of the moon. People may try to be independent of God, and will bring disaster upon themselves as a result, but they cannot destroy the image of God. No matter how sinful they may be, they still exist in God’s image ( Genesis 9:6;  1 Corinthians 11:7;  James 3:9).

The story of Adam and Eve shows something of the dignity and responsibility that God gave them (and all human beings through them) as being in God’s image. As God’s representative they authority over the lower orders of creation ( Genesis 1:28-30;  Genesis 2:15;  Genesis 2:19-20). God places them in a world where they can develop mind and body through making rational choices and exercising creative skills. God wants them to enjoy fully this unique life he has given them, but they must do so in fellowship with him and submission to him. They do not have the unlimited right to do as they please, to be the sole judge of right and wrong ( Genesis 2:15-17).

Since God is unlimited and since people exists in his image, there is a tendency within them to want to be unlimited. But the fact of their being in God’s image means they are not unlimited; they have no absolute independence. They fall into sin when they yield to the temptation to rebel against God and set themselves up as the ones who will decide what is right and what is wrong. They are not satisfied with their unique status as the representative of God; they themselves want to be God ( Genesis 3:1-7).

The perfect man

In contrast with Adam and Eve, Jesus shows what people in God’s image should really be. Jesus accepted the limitations of humanity, yet found purpose and fulfilment in life, in spite of the temptations. As God’s representative he submitted in complete obedience to his Father, and so demonstrated, as no other person could, what true humanity was ( John 8:29;  Philippians 2:8;  Hebrews 2:14;  Hebrews 4:15).

There was yet a higher sense in which Jesus reflected the image of God, a sense that could be true of no ordinary person. Jesus was not merely in the image of God; he was the image of God. As well as being human, he was divine. He was the perfect representation of God, because he was God. He had complete authority over creation, because he was the Creator ( John 12:45;  John 14:9;  2 Corinthians 4:4;  Colossians 1:15-16;  Hebrews 1:3).

By his life, death and resurrection, Jesus undid the evil consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience ( Romans 5:12-20). But he has done far more than that. He has become head of a new community. Adam and Eve were made in the image of God and passed on that character to the human race that is descended from them. In like manner Christ shares his image with all who by faith are united with him ( Romans 8:29). Although this image of Christ is something that believers in Christ share now, it is also something that they must be continually working towards in their daily lives. It will reach its fullest expression at the return of Jesus Christ ( 1 Corinthians 15:49;  2 Corinthians 3:18;  Colossians 3:10;  1 John 3:2).

While the world is still under the power of sin, people do not enjoy the authority over creation that their status as being in God’s image entitles them to. Only at the final triumph of Jesus Christ will humanity, through Christ, enter its full glory ( Hebrews 2:5-9;  Romans 8:19-23). All people may exist in the image of God, but the only ones who will bear God’s image fully are those who by faith become united with Christ. Only Christians will be human as God intended.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

Image . In theological usage the term ‘image’ occurs in two connexions: (1) as defining the nature of man (‘God created man in his own image,’   Genesis 1:27 ); and (2) as describing the relation of Christ as Son to the Father (‘who is the image of the invisible God,’   Colossians 1:15 ). These senses, again, are not without connexion; for, as man is re-created in the image of God lost, or at least defaced, through sin (  Colossians 3:10; cf.   Ephesians 4:24 ) so, as renewed, he bears the image of Christ (  2 Corinthians 3:18 ). These Scriptural senses of the term ‘image’ claim further elucidation.

1. As regards man , the fundamental text is that already quoted,   Genesis 1:26-27 . Here, in the story of Creation, man is represented as called into being, not, like the other creatures, by a simple flat , but as the result of a solemn and deliberate act of counsel of the Creator: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.… And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.’ Distinctions, referred to below, have been sought, since Patristic times, between ‘image’ and ‘likeness,’ but it is now generally conceded that no difference of meaning is intended. The two words ‘image’ ( tselem ) and ‘likeness’ ( demûth ) combine, without distinction of sense, to emphasize the idea of resemblance to God. This is shown by the fact that in   Genesis 1:27 the word ‘image’ alone is employed to express the total idea, and in   Genesis 5:1 the word ‘likeness.’ Man was made like God, and so bears His image . The expression recurs in   Genesis 9:6 , and again repeatedly in the NT (  1 Corinthians 11:7 ,   Colossians 3:10; cf.   James 3:9 ‘likeness’). The usage in Genesis is indeed peculiar to the so-called ‘Priestly’ writer; but the idea underlies the view of man in the Jahwistic sections as well, for only as made in God’s image is man capable of knowledge of God, fellowship with Him, covenant relation to Him, and character conformable to God’s own. To ‘be as God’ was the serpent’s allurement to Eve (  Genesis 3:5 ).   Psalms 8:1-9 echoes the story of man’s creation in   Genesis 1:1-31 .

In what did this Divine image, or likeness to God, consist? Not in bodily form, for God is Spirit; nor yet simply, as the Socinians would have it, in dominion over the creatures; but in those features of man’s rational and moral constitution in which the peculiar dignity of man, as distinguished from the animal world below him, is recognized. Man, as a spiritual nature, is self-conscious, personal, rational, free, capable of rising to the apprehension of general truths and laws, of setting ends of conduct before him, of apprehending right and wrong, good and evil, of framing ideas of God, infinity, eternity, immortality, and of shaping his life in the light of such conceptions. In this he shows himself akin to God; is able to know, love, serve, and obey God. The germ of sonship lies in the idea of the image. To this must be added, in the light of such passages as  Ephesians 4:24 and   Colossians 3:10 , the idea of actual moral conformity of actual knowledge, righteousness, and holiness as pertaining to the perfection of the image. Sin has not destroyed the essential elements of God’s image in man, but it has shattered the image in a moral respect; and grace, as the above passages teach, renews it in Christ.

If this explanation is correct, the older attempts at a distinction between ‘image’ and ‘likeness,’ e.g. that ‘image’ referred to the body, ‘likeness’ to the intellectual nature; or ‘image’ to the intellectual, ‘likeness’ to the moral, faculties; or, as in Roman Catholic theology, ‘image’ to the natural attributes of intelligence and freedom, ‘likeness’ to a superadded endowment of supernatural righteousness must, as already hinted, be pronounced untenable.

2. The idea of Christ , the Son, as ‘the image ( eikôn ) of the invisible God’ (  Colossians 1:15; cf.   2 Corinthians 4:4 ) connects itself with the doctrine of the Trinity, and finds expression in various forms in the NT, notably in   Hebrews 1:3 ‘who being the effulgence of his glory and the very image of his substance.’ Jesus Himself could declare of Himself that he who had seen Him had seen the Father (  John 14:9 ). But the passages quoted refer to a supra-temporal and essential relation between the Son and the Father. God, in His eternal being, reflects Himself, and beholds His own infinite perfection’ and glory mirrored, in the Son (cf.   John 1:1;   John 17:5 ). It is this eternal Word, or perfect self-revelation of God, that has become incarnate in Jesus Christ (  John 1:14 ). The consequence is obvious. Bearing Christ’s image, we bear God’s. Being renewed in God’s image, we are conformed to the image of His Son (  Romans 8:29 ).

James Orr.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [4]

In a religious sense, is an artificial representation of some person or thing used as an object of adoration; in which sense it is used synonymously with idol. The use and adoration of images have been long controverted. It is plain, from the practice of the primitive church, recorded by the earlier fathers, that Christians, during the first three centuries, and the greater part of the fourth, neither worshipped images, nor used them in their worship. However, the generality of the popish divines maintain that the use and worship of images are as ancient as the Christian religion itself: to prove this, they allege a decree, said to have been made in a council held by the apostles at Antioch, commanding the faithful, that they may not err about the object of their worship, to make images of Christ, and worship them. Baron. ad. ann. 102. But no notice is taken of this decree till seven hundred years after the apostolic times, after the dispute about images had commenced. The first instance that occurs, in any credible author, of images among Christians, is that recorded by Tertullian de Pudicit. 100: 10, of certain cups or chalices, as Beliarmine pretends, on which was represented the parable of the good shepherd carrying the lost sheep on his shoulders: but this instance only proves that the church, at that time, did not think emblematical figures unlawful ornaments of chalices.

Another instance is taken from Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. lib. 7: cap. 18, ) who says, that in his time there were to be seen two brass statues in the city of Paneas, or Caesarea Philippi; the one of a woman on her knees, with her arm stretched out; the other of a man over against her, with his hand extended to receive her; these statues were said to be the images of our Saviour, and the woman whom he cured of an issue of blood. From the foot of the statue representing our Saviour, says the historian, sprung up an exotic plant, which as soon as it grew to touch the border of his garment, was said to cure all sorts of distempers. Eusebius, however, vouches none of these things; nay, he supposes that the woman who erected this statue of our Saviour was a pagan, and ascribes it to a pagan custom. Philostorgius (Eccl. Hist. lib. 7: 100: 3.) expressly says that this statue was carefully preserved by the Christians, but that they paid no kind of worship to it, because it is not lawful for Christians to worship brass, or any other matter. The primitive Christians abstained from the worship of images, not, as the Papists pretend, from tenderness to heathen, idolaters, but because they thought it unlawful in itself to make any images of the Deity. Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Origen, were of opinion, that, by the second commandment, painting and engraving were unlawful to a Christian, styling them evil and wicked arts. Tert. de Idol. cap. 3. Clem Alex. Admon. ad Gent. p. 41. Origen contra Celsum, lib. 6: p. 182. the use of images in churches, as ornaments, was first introduced by some Christians in Spain, in the beginning of the fourth century; but the practice was condemned as a dangerous innovation, in a council held at Eliberis, in 305. Epephanius, in a letter preserved by Jerome, tom. 2:  Ephesians 6:1-24 , bears strong testimony against images; and he may be considered as one of the first iconoclasts.

The custom of admitting pictures of saints and martyrs into churches (for this was the first source of image worship) was rare in the end of the fourth century, but became common in the fifth. But they were still considered only as ornaments, and, even in this view, they met with very considerable opposition. In the following century, the custom of thus adorning churches became almost universal, both in the East and West. Petavius expressly says (de Incar. lib. 15: cap. 14.) that no statues were yet allowed in the churches, because they bore too near a resemblance to the idols of the Gentiles. Towards the close of the fourth, or beginning of the fifth century, images, which were introduced by way of ornament, and then used as an aid to devotion began to be actually worshipped. However, it continued to be the doctrine of the church in the sixth, and in the beginning of the seventh century, that images were to be used only as helps to devotion, and not as objects of worship. The worship of them was condemned in the strongest terms by Gregory the Great, as appears by two of his letters written in 601.

From this time to the beginning of the eighth century, there occurs no instance of any worship given, or allowed to be given to images, by any council or assembly of bishops whatever. But they were commonly worshipped by the monks and populace in the beginning of the eighth century; insomuch, that in 726, when Leo published his famous edict, it had already spread into all the provinces subject to the empire. The Lutherans condemn the Calvinists for breaking the images in the churches of the Catholics, looking on it as a kind of sacrilege; and yet they condemn the Romanists (who are professed image-worshippers) as idolaters: nor can these last keep pace with the Greeks, who go far beyond them in this point, which has occasioned abundance of disputes among them.

See Iconoclastes The Jews absolutely condemn all images, and do not so much as suffer any statues or figures in their houses, much less in their synagogues, or places of worship. The Mahometans have an equal aversion to images; which led them to destroy most of the beautiful monuments of antiquity, both sacred and profane, at Constantinople Bingham's Orig. Eccl. b. 8: 100: 8. Middleton's Letters from Rome, p. 21. Burnet on the Art. p. 209, 219. Doddridge's Lect. lec. 193. Tennison on Idolatry, p. 269, 275. Ridgely's Body of Div. qu. 110.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

1: Εἰκών (Strong'S #1504 — Noun Feminine — eikon — i-kone' )

denotes "an image;" the word involves the two ideas of representation and manifestation. "The idea of perfection does not lie in the word itself, but must be sought from the context" (Lightfoot); the following instances clearly show any distinction between the imperfect and the perfect likeness.

 Matthew 22:20 Mark 12:16 Luke 20:24 Romans 1:23 Revelation 13:14,15  1—Corinthians 15:49 Hebrews 10:1 1—Corinthians 11:7 Colossians 3:10 Ephesians 4:24 Romans 8:29 1—Corinthians 15:49 2—Corinthians 4:4 Colossians 1:15 John 14:9Form.

2: Χαρακτήρ (Strong'S #5481 — Noun Masculine — charakter — khar-ak-tar' )

denotes, firstly, "a tool for graving" (from charasso, "to cut into, to engross;" cp. Eng., "character," "characteristic"); then, "a stamp" or "impress," as on a coin or a seal, in which case the seal or die which makes an impression bears the "image" produced by it, and, vice versa, all the features of the "image" correspond respectively with those of the instrument producing it. In the NT it is used metaphorically in  Hebrews 1:3 , of the Son of God as "the very image (marg., 'the impress') of His substance." RV. The phrase expresses the fact that the Son "is both personally distinct from, and yet literally equal to, Him of whose essence He is the adequate imprint" (Liddon). The Son of God is not merely his "image" (His charakter), He is the "image" or impress of His substance, or essence. It is the fact of complete similarity which this word stresses in comparison with those mentioned at the end of No. 1. In the Sept.,  Leviticus 13:28 , "the mark (of the inflammation)."

 John 1:1-3 Colossians 1:15-17 Hebrews 1:2,3 Revelation 13:16,17 Acts 17:29

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

Besides the many references to graven and molten images connected with idolatry, which the law strictly forbade the Israelites to make, the word is used in several important connections: for instance, God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion . . . . so God created man in his own image, in the image of God createdhe him."  Genesis 1:26,27;  Genesis 5:1;  Genesis 9:6 . The word translated 'image' is tselem, which is the same that is used for idolatrous images, and for the great image in  Daniel 2 .

It might naturally have been thought that man at his fall would have ceased to be in the image and likeness of God, but it is not so represented in scripture. On speaking of man as the head of the woman, it says he ought not to coverhis head, forasmuch as "he is the image and glory of God."  1 Corinthians 11:7 . Again, in  James 3:9 , we find "made after the similitude (or likeness, ὁμοίωσις)of God." In what respects man is the image and likeness of God may not be fully grasped, but it is at least obvious that an image is a representation. The Lord when shown a penny asked 'whose image' is this? They said, Caesar's. It may not have been well executed, and so not have been a likeness. It may also have been very much battered, as money often is, yet that would not have interfered with its being the image of Caesar: it represented him, and no one else. So man as the head of created beings in connection with the earth represents God: to him was given dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth and in the sea and in the air. This was of course in subjection to God, and so man was in His image.

This is seen in perfection in the second Man, who has in resurrection superseded Adam, who was in this sense a figure or type of Christ.  Romans 5:14 . Man may be a battered and soiled image of his Creator, but that does not touch the question of his having been made in the image of God.

Likeness goes further; but was there not in man a certain moral and mental likeness to God? He not only represents God on earth, but, as one has said, he thinks for others, refers to and delights in what God has wrought in creation, and in what is good, having his moral place among those who do. The likeness, alas, may be very much blurred; but the features are there: such as reflection, delight, love of goodness and beauty; none of which are found in a mere animal. With Christ all is of course perfect: as man He is "the image of God;" "the image of the invisible God."  2 Corinthians 4:4;  Colossians 1:15 .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

An exact and complete copy or counterpart of any thing. Christ is called "the image of God,"  2 Corinthians 4:4   Colossians 1:15   Hebrews 1:3 , as being the same in nature and attributes. The image of God in which man was created,  Genesis 1:27 was in his spiritual, intellectual, and moral nature, in righteousness and true holiness. The posterity of Adam were born in his fallen, sinful likeness,   Genesis 5:3; and as we have borne the image of sinful Adam, so we should be molded into the moral image of the heavenly man Christ,  1 Corinthians 15:47-49   2 Corinthians 3:18 .

"An image,"  Job 4:16 , was that which seemed to the dreamer a reality. The word sometimes appears to include, with the image, the idea of the real object,  Psalm 73:20   Hebrews 10:1 . It is usually applied in the Bible to representations of false gods, painted, graven, etc.,  Daniel 3:1-30 . All use of images in religious worship was clearly and peremptorily prohibited,  Exodus 20:4,5   Deuteronomy 16:22   Acts 17:16   Romans 1:23 . Their introduction into Christian churches, near the close of the fourth century, was at first strenuously resisted. Now, however, they are universally used by Papists: by most in a gross breach of the second commandment, and by the best in opposition to both the letter and the spirit of the Bible,  Exodus 20:4,5   32:4,5   Deuteronomy 4:15   Isaiah 40:18-31   John 4:23,24   Revelation 22:8,9 .

The "chambers of imagery," in  Ezekiel 8:7-12 , had their walls covered with idolatrous paintings, such as are found on the still more ancient stone walls of Egyptian temples, and such as modern researches have disclosed in Assyrian ruins. See Nineveh .

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [8]

in a religious sense, is an artificial representation of some person or thing used as an object of adoration, and is synonymous with idol. Nothing can be more clear, full, and distinct, than the expressions of Scripture prohibiting the making and worship of images,  Exodus 20:4-5;  Deuteronomy 16:22 . No sin is so strongly and repeatedly condemned in the Old Testament as that of idolatry, to which the Jews, in the early part of their history, were much addicted, and for which they were constantly punished. St. Paul was greatly affected, when he saw that the city of Athens was "wholly given to idolatry,"  Acts 17:16; and declared to the Athenians, that they ought not "to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device,"

 Acts 17:29 . He condemns those who "changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things,"  Romans 1:23 .

That the first Christians had no images, is evident from this circumstance,—that they were reproached by the Heathens, because they did not use them; and we find almost every ecclesiastical writer of the first four centuries arguing against the Gentile practice of image worship, from the plain declarations of Scripture, and from the pure and spiritual nature of God. The introduction of images into places of Christian worship, dates its origin soon after the times of Constantine the Great, but the earlier Christians reprobated every species of image worship in the strongest language. It is sometimes pretended by the Papists, that they do not worship the images, but God through the medium of images; or, that the worship which they pay to images is inferior to that which they pay to the Deity himself. These distinctions would be scarcely understood by the common people; and formerly an enlightened Heathen or Jew would probably have urged the same thing. The practice is in direct opposition to the second commandment, and notwithstanding every sophistical palliation, it has always led to a transfer of human trust from God to something else. Hence idolatry, in general, is condemned in Scripture; and all use of images in the worship of God, making or bowing to any likeness, is absolutely forbidden. See ICONOCLASTES and See Idolatry .

Webster's Dictionary [9]

(1): ( n.) Show; appearance; cast.

(2): ( n.) A representation of anything to the mind; a picture drawn by the fancy; a conception; an idea.

(3): ( n.) A picture, example, or illustration, often taken from sensible objects, and used to illustrate a subject; usually, an extended metaphor.

(4): ( n.) An imitation, representation, or similitude of any person, thing, or act, sculptured, drawn, painted, or otherwise made perceptible to the sight; a visible presentation; a copy; a likeness; an effigy; a picture; a semblance.

(5): ( n.) Hence: The likeness of anything to which worship is paid; an idol.

(6): ( n.) The figure or picture of any object formed at the focus of a lens or mirror, by rays of light from the several points of the object symmetrically refracted or reflected to corresponding points in such focus; this may be received on a screen, a photographic plate, or the retina of the eye, and viewed directly by the eye, or with an eyeglass, as in the telescope and microscope; the likeness of an object formed by reflection; as, to see one's image in a mirror.

(7): ( v. t.) To represent or form an image of; as, the still lake imaged the shore; the mirror imaged her figure.

(8): ( v. t.) To represent to the mental vision; to form a likeness of by the fancy or recollection; to imagine.

King James Dictionary [10]

IM'AGE, n. L. imago.

1. A representation or similitude of any person or thing, formed of a material substance as an image wrought out of stone, wood or wax.

Whose is this image and superscription?  Matthew 22

2. A statue. 3. An idol the representation of any person or thing, that is an object of worship. The second commandment forbids the worship of images. 4. The likeness of any thing on canvas a picture a resemblance painted. 5. Any copy, representation or likeness.

The child is the image of its mother.

6. Semblance show appearance.

The face of things a frightful image bears.

7. An idea a representation of any thing to the mind a conception a picture drawn by fancy.

Can we conceive

Image of aught delightful, soft or great?

8. In rhetoric, a lively description of any thing in discourse, which presents a kind of picture to the mind. 9. In optics, the figure of any object, made by rays of light proceeding from the several points of it. Thus a mirror reflects the image of a person standing before it, as does water in a vessel or stream, when undisturbed.

IM'AGE, To imagine to copy by the imagination to form a likeness in the mind by the fancy or recollection.

And image charms he must behold no more.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [11]

I should not have thought it necessary to have noticed this word, being in the general acception of it so very plain and obvious, had it not been so peculiarly made use of in relation to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, as "the Image of the invisible God." He and he only, is the image of the invisible God, "the first born of every creature;" and though not openly revealed, yet secretly, and in reality set up from everlasting. Hence, as Christ, thus the glory-man, is declared to "be the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person." ( Hebrews 1:3) So this is the very person in whose likeness, Adam the first open man, was created and made; "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." ( Genesis 1:26)

Smith's Bible Dictionary [12]

Image. See Idol .

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

im´ā̇j ( צלם , celem  ; εἰκών , eikō̇n ): Its usage falls under 3 main heads. (1) "Image" as object of idolatrous worship (translations about a dozen words, including מסּכה , maṣṣēkhāh , "molten image" (  Deuteronomy 9:12 , etc.); מצּבה , maccēbhāh , in the King James Version translated "image" or "pillar," in the Revised Version (British and American) always "pillar" ( Exodus 23:24 , etc.); פסל , peṣel , "graven image" ( Exodus 20:4 , etc.); celem , "image" ( 2 Kings 11:18 , etc.); eikōn , "image" (e.g.  Revelation 14:9 )); (2) of man as made in the image of God; (3) of Christ as the image of God. Here we are concerned with the last two usages. For "image" in connection with idolatrous practices, see Idolatry; Images; Pillar; Teraphim , etc.

I. Man as Made in the Divine Image

1. In the Old Testament

To define man's fundamental relation to God, the priestly writer in Gen uses two words: "image" ( celem ) and "likeness" ( demūth ); once employing both together (  Genesis 1:26; compare  Genesis 5:3 ), but elsewhere one without the other, "image" only in  Genesis 1:27;  Genesis 9:6 , and "likeness" only in  Genesis 5:1 . The priestly writer alone in the Old Testament uses this expression to describe the nature of man, though the general meaning of the passage  Genesis 1:26 f is echoed in   Psalm 8:5-8 , and the term itself reappears in Apocrypha (Sirach 17:3; The Wisdom of Solomon 2:23) and in the New Testament (see below).

The idea is important in relation to the Biblical doctrine of man, and has figured prominently in theological discussion. The following are some of the questions that arise:

(1) Is there any distinction to be understood between "image" and "likeness"? Most of the Fathers, and some later theologians, attempt to distinguish between them. ( a ) Some have referred "image" to man's bodily form, and "likeness" to his spiritual nature (Justin Martyr, Irenaeus). ( b ) Others, especially the Alexandrian Fathers, understood by the "image" the mental and moral endowments native to man, and by the "likeness" the Divine perfections which man can only gradually acquire by free development and moral conflict (Clement of Alexandria and Origen), or which is conferred on man as a gift of grace. ( 100 ) This became the basis of the later Roman Catholic distinction between the natural gifts of rationality and freedom (= the image), and the supernatural endowments of grace which God bestowed on man after He had created him (the likeness = donum superadditum ). The former remained after the Fall, though in an enfeebled state; the latter was lost through sin, but restored by Christ. The early Protestants rejected this distinction, maintaining that supernatural righteousness was part of the true nature and idea of man, i.e. was included in the "image," and not merely externally superadded. Whatever truth these distinctions may or may not contain theologically, they cannot be exegetically inferred from   Genesis 1:26 , where (as is now generally admitted) no real difference is intended.

We have here simply a "duplication of synonyms" (Driver) for the sake of emphasis. The two terms are elsewhere used interchangeably.

(2) What, then, is to be understood by the Divine image? Various answers have been given. ( a ) Some of the Fathers (influenced by Philo) supposed that the "image" here = the Logos (called "the image of the invisible God" in   Colossians 1:15 ), on the pattern of whom man was created. But to read the Logos doctrine into the creation narrative is to ignore the historic order of doctrinal development. ( b ) That it connotes physical resemblance to God (see (1), ( a ) above; so in the main Skinner, ICC , in the place cited.). It may be admitted that there is a secondary reference to the Divine dignity of the human body; but this does not touch the essence of the matter, inasmuch as God is not represented as having physical form. ( c ) That it consists of dominion over the creatures (Socinian view; so also Gregory of Nyssa, Chrysostom, etc.). This would involve an unwarranted narrowing of the idea. It is true that such "dominion" is closely associated with the image in  Genesis 1:26 (compare   Psalm 8:6-8 ). But the "image of God" must denote primarily man's relation to his Creator, rather than his relation to the creation. Man's lordship over Nature is not identical with the image, but is an effect of it. ( d ) It is best to take the term as referring to the whole dignity of man, in virtue of his fundamental affinity to God. It implies the possession by man of a free, self-conscious, rational and moral personality , like unto that of God - a nature capable of distinguishing right and wrong, of choosing the right and rejecting the wrong, and of ascending to the heights of spiritual attainment and communion with God. This involves a separation of man from the beast, and his supremacy as the culmination of the creative process.

(3) Does the term imply man's original perfection, lost through sin? The old Protestant divines maintained that the first man, before the Fall, possessed original righteousness, not only in germ but in developed form, and that this Divine image was destroyed by the Fall. Exegetically considered, this is certainly not taught by the priestly writer, who makes no mention of the Fall, assumes that the image was transmitted from father to son (compare  Genesis 5:1 with   Genesis 5:3 ), and naïvely speaks of post-diluvian men as created in the image of God ( Genesis 9:6; compare  1 Corinthians 11:7;  James 3:9 ). Theologically considered, the idea of the perfect holiness of primitive man is based on an abstract conception of God's work in creation, which precludes the idea of development, ignores the progressive method of the Divine government and the essential place of effort and growth in human character. It is more in harmony with modern conceptions ( a ) to regard man as originally endowed with the power of right choice, rather than with a complete character given from the first; and ( b ) to think of the Divine image (though seriously defaced) as continuing even in the sinful state, as man's inalienable capacity for goodness and his true destination. If the Divine image in man is a self-conscious, rational and ethical personality, it cannot be a merely accidental or transitory attribute, but is an essential constituent of his being.

2. In the New Testament

Two features may be distinguished in the New Testament doctrine of the Divine image in man: (1) man's first creation in Adam, (2) his second or new creation in Christ. As to (1), the doctrine of the Old Testament is assumed in the New Testament. Paul makes a special application of it to the question of the relation of husband and wife, which is a relation of subordination on the part of the wife, based on the fact that man alone was created immediately after the Divine image ( 1 Corinthians 11:7 ). Thus Paul, for the special purpose of his argument, confines the meaning of the image to man's lordly authority, though to infer that he regards this as exhausting its significance would be quite unwarranted. Man's affinity to God is implied, though the term "image" is not used, in Paul's sermon to the Athenians ( Acts 17:28 f, man the "offspring" of God). See also   James 3:9 (it is wrong to curse men, for they are "made after the likeness of God").

(2) More characteristic of the New Testament is the doctrine of the new creation. ( a ) The redeemed man is said to be in the image of God (the Father). He is "renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him" (  Colossians 3:10 ), i.e. of God the Creator, not here of Christ or the Logos (as some) (compare  Ephesians 4:24 , "after God"). Though there is here an evident reference to  Genesis 1:26 f, this does not imply that the new creation in Christ is identical with the original creation, but only that the two are analogous. To Paul, the spiritual man in Christ is on a higher level than the natural ("psychical") man as found in Adam (compare especially   1 Corinthians 15:44-49 ), in whom the Divine image consisted (as we have seen) in potential goodness, rather than in full perfection. Redemption is infinitely more than the restoration of man's primitive state. ( b ) The Christian is further said to be gradually transformed into the image of the Son of God . This progressive metamorphosis involves not only moral and spiritual likeness to Christ, but also ultimately the Christian's future glory, including the glorified body, the "passing through a gradual assimilation of mind and character to an ultimate assimilation of His δόξα , dóxa , the absorption of the splendor of His presence" (Sanday and Headlam, Romans , 218; see  Romans 8:29;  1 Corinthians 15:49;  2 Corinthians 3:18; and compare  Philippians 3:21;  1 John 3:2 ).

II. Christ the Image of God

In 3 important passages in English Versions of the Bible, the term "image" defines the relation of Christ to God the Father; twice in Paul: "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" ( 2 Corinthians 4:4 ); "who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" ( Colossians 1:15 ); and once in He: "who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance" ( Colossians 1:3 ). These statements, taken in their contexts, register the highest reach of the Christology of the Epistles.

1. The Terms

In the two Pauline passages, the word used is eikōn , which was generally the Septuagint rendering of celem (Vulgate: imago ); it is derived from εἲκω , eı́kō , ἒοικα , éoika , "to be like," "resemble," and means that which resembles an object and represents it, as a copy represents the original. In   Hebrews 1:3 the word used is χαρακτήρ , charaktḗr , which is found here only in the New Testament, and is translated in Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible , 390-405 ad) figura , the King James Version "express image," the Revised Version (British and American) "very image," the Revised Version, margin "impress." It is derived from χαράσσω , charássō , "to engrave," and has passed through the following meanings: (1) an engraving instrument (active sense); (2) The engraved stamp or mark on the instrument (passive sense); (3) The impress made by the instrument on wax or other object; (4) hence, generally, the exact image or expression of any person or thing as corresponding to the original, the distinguishing feature, or traits by which a person or thing is known (hence, English words "character," "characteristic"). The word conveys practically the same meaning as eikōn  ; but Westcott distinguishes them by saying that the latter "gives a complete representation, under conditions of earth, of that which it figures," while charaktēr "conveys representative traits only" (Westcott on  Hebrews 1:3 ).

2. Meaning as Applied to Christ

The idea here expressed is closely akin to that of the Logos doctrine in Jn (1:1-18). Like the Logos , the Image in Paul and in Hebrews is the Son of God, and is the agent of creation as well as the medium of revelation. "What a word ( logos ) is to the ear, namely a revelation of what is within, an image is to the eye; and thus in the expression there is only a translation, as it were, of the same fact from one sense to another" (Dorner, System of Ch. D ., English translation, III, 178). As Image, Christ is the visible representation and manifestation of the invisible God, the objective expression of the Divine nature, the face of God turned as it were toward the world, the exact likeness of the Father in all things except being the Father. Thus we receive "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (  2 Corinthians 4:6 ). He is the facsimile of God.

3. To What State Does It Refer?

Is Christ described as the Image of God in His preincarnate, His incarnate, or else His exalted state? It is best to say that different passages refer to different states, but that if we take the whole trend of New Testament teaching, Christ is seen to be essentially, and in every state, the Image of God. ( a ) In   Hebrews 1:3 the reference seems to be to the eternal, preincarnate Son, who is inherently and essentially the expression of the Divine substance. So Paul declares that He subsisted originally in the form of God ( ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων , en morphḗ theoú hupárchōn ,  Philippians 2:6 ). ( b ) In  John 1:18;  John 12:45;  John 14:9 , though the term image is not used, we have the idea of the historical Jesus as a perfect revelation of the character and glory of God. (c) In the two Pauline passages (  2 Corinthians 4:4;  Colossians 1:15 ), the reference is probably to the glorified, exalted Christ; not to His pre-existent Divine nature, nor to His temporal manifestation, but to His "whole Person, in the divine-human state of His present heavenly existence" (Meyer). These passages in their cumulative impressions convey the idea that the Image is an inalienable property of His personality, not to be limited to any stage of His existence.

4. Theological Implications

Does this involve identity of essence of Father and Son, as in the Homoousion formula of the Nicene Creed? Not necessarily, for man also bears the image of God, even in his sinful state (see I above), a fact which the Arians sought to turn to their advantage. Yet in the light of the context, we must affirm of Christ an absolutely unique kinship with God. In the Col passage, not only are vast cosmic and redemptive functions assigned to Him, but there is said to dwell in Him "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" ( John 1:19;  John 2:9 ). In He not only is the Son the final revelation of God to men, the upholder of the universe, and the very image of the Divine nature, but also the effulgence (ἀπαύγασμα , apaúgasma ) of God's glory, and therefore of one nature with Him as the ray is of one essence with the sun ( John 1:1-3 ). The superiority of the Son is thus not merely one of function but of nature. On the other hand, the figure of the "image" certainly guards against any Sabellian identification of Father and Son, as if they were but modes of the one Person; for we cannot identify the pattern with its copy, nor speak of anyone as an image of himself. And, finally, we must not overlook the affinity of the Logos with man; both are the image of God, though the former in a unique sense. The Logos is at once the prototype of humanity within the Godhead, and the immanent Divine principle within humanity.

5. Relation to Pre-Christian Thought

Both in Paul and in He we have an echo of the Jewish doctrine of Wisdom, and of Philo's doctrine of the Logos. In the Alexandrine Book of Wisdom, written probably under Stoic influence, Divine Wisdom is pictorially represented as "an effulgence ( apaugasma ) from everlasting light, and an unspotted mirror of the working of God, and an image ( eikōn ) of His goodness" (7 26). Philo repeatedly calls the Logos or Divine world-principle the image ( eikōn charaktēr ) of God, and also describes it as an effulgence of God. But this use of current Alexandrian terminology and the superficial resemblance of ideas are no proof of conscious borrowing on the part of the apostles. There is this fundamental distinction, that Philo's Logos is not a self-conscious personality, still less a historical individual, but an allegorical hypostatizing of an abstract idea; whereas in Paul and He, as in John, the Divine archetype is actually realized in a historical person, Jesus Christ, the Son and Revealer of God.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

(prop. צֶלֶם , Tse'Lem; Εἰκών ; but also designated by various other Hebrew. terms; often rendered "graven image," "molten image," etc.). (See Idol). For the interpretation of the colossal statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream ( Daniel 2:31), (See Book Of Daniel).