Have you ever heard someone say that you were “created in the image and likeness of God?” If you have, might might have also wondered, “What the heck does that even mean??” If so, you’re not alone.
In my Christian Anthropology course this semester, we spent four whole weeks unpacking this notion of the imago dei, the image of God, because, really, it doesn’t get a whole lot clearer once you start studying it. With so little to go on in Scripture and the Tradition largely silent, it is one of the theological topics that we put in the “disputed questions” bin, questions that have a lot of opinions but no official magisterial teachings.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some good opinions or ideas worth entertaining. Just because there is no clear-cut answer doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t study it. Like any mystery of faith, the purpose is not so much to “solve the mystery” with a definitive answer, but to enter into it so to grow deeper in our questioning. In other words, the more we ask, the more we realize we don’t know, which, in a way, is something we now know.
Don’t worry, this week’s video is much clearer than my explanation of it. Looking at three possible answers to the question, I want to suggest that it is only when we take all three together that we are able to understand what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God.