Knowing Me, Knowing You – God has made us like himself (Session Three)
Knowing Me, Knowing You – God has made us like himself (Session Three)
Session three looks at the second theological key, in counterpoint to session two, that God has made us like himself.
Buy the book
Knowing Me Knowing God Book


The second theological ‘key’ to Scripture introduced in this book is: God has made us like himself. This is not a contradiction of the first key: rather, it sets up an ‘antinomy’, and both truths must be maintained. Each human being is the image of God. That is, above all, what sets man apart from other creatures. This understanding of man is known as the ‘essential’ sense of the image. We can understand what the Bible means by looking at the ancient Near Eastern background, in which we find foreshadows of biblical truth. As God’s ‘image’ man is created as a king or vicegerent, placed in God’s cosmic temple as the ‘face’ of God to the world.

God has established a creaturely similarity between man and himself. Human beings therefore represent God to the world as his images. In theological terms, man is an analogue of God, or an ectype of God’s heavenly archetype. Human beings are created to reflect, resemble, represent, and relate to, God. As the essential image of God, man cannot ‘lose’ this status, even in the fall. Uniquely, Jesus Christ is the image of God by sharing in the divine essence. This qualifies him to be our Saviour.

God is near because of the likeness he has established with us in creation. The theological key God has made us like himself has implications for our worship, our self-understanding and moral worth, our salvation, our evangelism, and our interpretation of the Bible.

Aims of study

Starter questions

Questions to review understanding and for discussion

Bible passage: Genesis 1:26-31

Suggested application questions

For further study

A good introduction to the doctrine of humanity (or ‘theological anthropology’) is Anthony Hoekema, Created in God’s Image (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994). This book is mostly balanced and convincing. However, because Hoekema persists in using the language of humankind’s creation in the image of God, he continues to give the impression that the ‘image of God’ is something either extrinsic to (outside) both God and man, or else intrinsic to God, but separate from man himself: a sort of (quasi-Platonic) ‘idea’ in God’s mind according to which man corresponds or in the likeness of which man is fashioned. As I argued in KMKG, it is better to understand Scripture as teaching that man is created as the image of God. This point aside, Hoekema’s book is still well worth reading.

If you are still to be convinced by my argument about the image, you might want to look at some of the books mentioned in the footnotes for this chapter, especially Jeffrey J. Niehaus, Ancient Near Eastern Themes in Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2008), and Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview (Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, 2006). I don’t agree with Kline’s specific understanding of Genesis 1:26 as God’s address to his ‘heavenly council’. That small point aside, his book is excellent and thought-provoking – if quite high-level – theological reading of Scripture.