Christian Worldview: Human Being As A Creation Of The Image Of God

  • Words 1903
  • Pages 4
Download PDF

‘All men of sound judgement will therefore hold, that a sense of Deity is indelibly engraved on the human heart’. This reflection from John Calvin speaks not only of the Christian worldview and our Triune God, but that in every corner of the world, through all ages, different cultures give expression to a creator, and to a being or beings higher than themselves. All of humankind looking to explain how people and the world came to be, and what our purpose is.

A Christian worldview is that a human being is a creation of the image of God and worthy of respect and honour. As we seek to know who God is, we become aware of Jesus, the Holy Spirit and how our triune God loves us, and invites us to love in return. Love expressed as an action from God, and God inviting loving action in response. This is where we begin the exploration of the divinity and majesty of God and our personal relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Click to get a unique essay

Our writers can write you a new plagiarism-free essay on any topic

The Wesleyan Quadrilateral was developed over time as a framework to assist Christians in understanding Christian doctrine, faith and practice. It puts Scripture in the preeminent position, as the foundational document for faith. With reason, tradition and experience as the other key sources and sides of the quadrilateral to be utilized. In expressing the Bible as the most important source we are not bound by error and distortion in traditional trends and inchoate interpretations. Where reason and experience alone would also bring into play human errancy, Scripture’s integral role anchors us as we evaluate various religious traditions and look for contemporary relevance.

With everything measured first and foremost by Scripture, the Wesleyan Quadrilateral guides us to ground Christian doctrine in the living word of God. ‘Historically, culturally and socially informed perspectives can reveal a wide variety of interpretations that help students to view Scripture and its interpretation from new perspectives, with greater humility and openness.’ In developing awareness of tradition and context in the Bible we create a wider net of knowledge to add to our own experience. Potentially dissolving misplaced loyalty to tradition and past interpretation. ‘The Quadrilateral is inevitable and highly valuable as a pattern for determining Christian belief and for constructing and reconstructing Christian doctrines.’

Genesis states that we are made in Gods image, ‘God created humankind in his own image’ (Gen. 1:27). Further clarification is presented in the life of Christ and the writings of the New Testament, ‘the glory of Christ, who is the image of God’ (2 Cor. 4:4). To grasp a fuller understanding of ‘the image of God’, we cannot merely draw from Genesis but need to look towards Jesus. ‘For Christian faith, Jesus Christ is the fullest expression of what God intends humanity to be’ . As we examine the life of Jesus, we not only become more aware of what God’s intention was for humanity, but also gain new depths of understanding of God’s divinity in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit.

Traditional views of humankind being made in Gods image have been varied, with many lacking a comprehensive expression and only encompassing part of the fullness of the image of God. Unfortunately, historical misrepresentations of our creation in Gods image have manifested in negative and domineering attitudes towards nature, in hierarchy of male over female, and in racial and religious prejudice. Anthropocentrism and the interpretation of human dominion as spoken of in scripture have contributed to this power being understood as domination. A domination that does not comprehend the nature of God as guardian and protector. ‘According to the witness of Scripture at its deepest level, therefore, there is no absolute right of humanity over nature; on the contrary, human beings are entrusted with its care and protection.’

The monotheism of Christians is unique in its belief of a Triune God. ‘The central task of a Christian theology, therefore, is to clarify the understanding of God that is proper to the Christian faith, to describe its own peculiar “logic” of God.’ Trinity theology aligns with Scripture, spoken of in the New Testament and foreshadowed in the Old Testament. The Old testament points to Jesus, while the New Testament points back to the Old Testament to show that Jesus was there the whole time. ‘The Christian confession of God as triune is a summary description of the witness of Scripture to God’s unfathomable love incarnate in Jesus Christ and active by the power of the Spirit in the community of faith today.’

In the New Testament there is so much revelation regarding the Triune God. References such as ‘the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matt 28:19), and ‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Cor. 13:14) are abundant and continue to disclose more about the mystery in the cross of Christ and the love our the triune God.

In the Old Testament the Trinitarian Doctrine is also found and qualities of our Triune God are revealed. In Genesis 1:1 the Hebrew word used for God is Elohim, which is a plural noun but is used here with a singular verb. This alludes to a plurality within a singular being. There are references through Genesis of ‘Let us make humankind in our image’ (Gen 1:26), ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us..’(Gen 3:22), and ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’(Isaiah 6:8). The word ‘maker’ used in Isaiah 54:5 is also plural in Hebrew, ‘for your Maker is your husband, the Lord Almighty is his name, the Holy One. Isaiah 48:16-17 is a very clear statement of the Trinity as the Son is speaking and identifies the Father and the Spirit.

One of the challenges within Trinitarian belief is balancing the unity and diversity of God. A number of differing views with the Christian church throughout history have presented inchoate doctrine that distort the Christian Triune Doctrine. Doctrines such as Tritheism, Unitarianism of either the Creator or Redeemer or Spirit, and Subordinationism are misrepresentations that do not express the perichoresis (mutual indwelling) that is vital in confessing that God is Triune.

Expressing a Triune God fully has been a challenge. The Council of Constantinople spoke of the Godhead as including one substance (ousia) and three persons (hypostasis). Calvin held fast to ‘autotheos’ when challenged with the idea that the Father had primacy. Michael Bird in Evangelical Theory brings many of these expressions together writing ‘God is a triune God and always has been a Triune God – a God who is three-in-one, consisting of a Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all equally divine, but full distinguished persons.’

The relevance of the writings of John of Damascus who brought this explanatory word (perichoresis) into light, is even more potent in our current worldly climate. John lived in a time where Christians and Muslims were also living alongside each other. His precision in expressing the revelation of the Trinity ‘can perhaps offer and instructive model for our own groping attempts to find a stable vision in the midst of our pluralistic world’. Perichoresis is a term that allow us to give greater clarity to the Trinity, a ‘stretching of an existing term to embrace a reality sensed but never adequately articulated’.

Gregory of Nazianzus, conferred by the council of Chalcedon was devoted to God and in giving expression to understanding the Trinity. His writings had great influence and looked to unlock the complexities but also to affirm unity and Trinity, with Father, Son and Holy Spirit in harmony and communion. Christopher Beeley wrote, ‘for Gregory, the Trinity provides a model for human community life, since humans are created in the image of God. Thus, the church’s affirmation of the Trinity has implications for how people act as well as what they believe. Instability, discord, and division are inconsistent with faith in the Trinity.’

I love how Gregory doesn’t finish this by merely defining God more clearly, but then links it back to us. Our divine calling and our relationship with God and how we are invited to respond in action.

‘but humans, created in the divine image, are called to follow the same example in their life together, by preserving unity, by moving toward each other in self-giving, service, and love.’

With a Christian worldview that places Jesus at the centre, my personal conduct can be based on his two commandments of ‘Love one another as I have loved you’, and ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. A closer look at traditional interpretations of this Scripture speaks to value and respect of all humankind and all of creation. Calvin speaks of the Spirit being present in and effecting all of creation. Jurgen Moltman also expresses this, ‘God not only transcends the creation, is not only incarnate in Jesus Christ, but is also present and at work throughout the creation.’

My vocation as a yoga teacher and music educator creates many opportunities to place value on my students, and role model the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in my actions. I also express this in my choice to be vegan and mindful of finite resources in the world. While these are some of the ways I express my Christian faith, consideration of the Quadrilateral has also directed me to respectfully consider the traditions and culture of others in their meat-eating walk with God. Not expecting that we agree on all things, but developing increasing tolerance for diversity within Christian faith.

As a musician I have chosen from a very young age to use my skill in worship to proclaim God’s Glory. Scripture teaches me that I should worship Him in all seasons (Thess. 5:16-18), that His praise should always be on my lips (Psalm 34:1). My initial experience of tradition in the Catholic Church painted a very different picture of the role musicians, compared to my time spent at Hillsong. Shifting from a perception of functioning as a backing track, to embracing the responsibility and calling of a Worship Leader. In this role I find myself challenged to grow in so many ways, to always seek God first. Potentially frustrated at times with my lack of understanding and maturity, but knowing that I am planted in a community that encourages and supports. Continually challenged, and always amazed at Gods perfect plan and timing..

  1. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: An Introduction. 3rd ed. By Alister E. McGrath. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001
  2. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book first-Book second, chapter XI
  3. By Jean Calvin (1532), A New Translation by Henry Beveridge, The Edinburgh Printing Company, 1845,
  4. S. Hey, J. Roux, ‘Wesley and Beyond: Integrating the Wesleyan Quadrilateral and ‘Praxis Cycle’ to Support Tertiary Student Theological Engagement.’, Journal of Adult Theological Education. Vol. 9 Issue 2, Dec 2012.
  5. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book first-Book second, chapter XI
  6. By Jean Calvin (1599?), A New Translation by Henry Beveridge, The Edinburgh Printing Company, 1845, 57
  7. R.E. Olson, The Mosaic of Christian Belief; Twenty Centuries of Unity and Diversity (Downers Grove: IVP, 2002), 67
  8. Daniel L. Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology, Third edition. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014), 174.
  9. Ibid, 126.
  10. Charles C. Twombly, Perichoresis and Personhood: God, Christ, and Salvation in John of Damascus, Pickwick Publications, Eugene OR, 2015, 3.
  11. Christopher A. Beeley, Re-Reading Gregory of Nazianzus, The Catholic University of America Press, Washington D.C., 2012, 29
  12. Bird, Michael F. Evangelical theology: a biblical and systematic introduction. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013


We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.