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The dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God

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This essay presents arguments on the topic “The dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God”. It specifically explain our worth as the summit of God’s creation and further through justifying how sins are committed against humankind, and then give a brief conclusion. There are numerous issues faced toady while trying to handle lives without respecting important values of humankind documented in (Genesis 1 & 2) and other teachings in Bible. Human dignity initiates from God, for we are his image and likeness (Gn. 1:26-27). Our life is holy and remains as summit and purest likeness of God since we possessed supernatural gifts, which originates after God.

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This goodness is not merely supporting an individual’s attribute, legal obligation, personal merit or success. Our dignity as a person is undisputable, that signifies it to be an essential feature entitled to all of us and is a crucial aspect that is indivisible of other needed qualities of a person. We are importantly different among other animal classes because we possess intellectual and able to know and obey God. Knowing the importance of human life is the basis of morality. We are created in the image of God, able to exercise dominion and fulfil his vocation only when in that control of the universe, we manifests the qualities of God – mercy and fidelity. We are gifted to cultivate the land and transform it to suit our needs. Basis of such power of domination is reflected back to God himself, as we are formed in His image.

When fulfilling that command, we reflects the works of Creator himself and we become his collaborator. While working, we realizes ourselves and develops our humanity. The ultimate goal of the work is always centred upon ourselves. Second level of our vocation is realized in the community of people – men and women. Marriage union recreates the mysteries of creation and is at the same time inflicted upon us. It is an indispensable condition for the transfer of life to new generations of people. The basis for reflection here are the words of the Creator of Genesis for us – be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28) and the words – therefore the man leaves his father and mother and joins his wife so closely that they become one body (Gen. 2:24). Marriage is therefore a place established by the Creator for the conception of a new life. In this communion of persons, the unity of the two is realized, which is a reflection of the communion of the persons of the Holy Trinity. Not only spouses are called to live in unity, to become a gift for another person.

This vocation is common to all people who can develop and realize their humanity by being a gift to others. This is confirmed by the communion structure of the person created in the image and likeness of the Holy Trinity The third plane of vocation concerns the relationship of creation with the Creator. We were called from the beginning to live in friendship with God, to give ourselves to God and with ourselves the completely visible world and like adopted kid to become sharers in the truth and love which is in God and proceeds from God. We are predestined in Christ and our future is a good future. No tragedy, no power or force can rob us of our future because God has determined us. We can always be more than we are at any moment because we are connected to God and our whole being cries out for God as we strains forward to go beyond our possibilities and find a newness and a richness in life. We always need God and find rest only in Him. We are of value and of great worth and most precious because we are of God. Even the lowest of us can dream the impossible dream and believe that it is possible because of God’s great gift. In addition, we are sinners, living in an evil world, making that evil more powerful by our own personal sin. Even if we are sin, we never loses the capacity of reflecting the qualities of God and our dignity never loses and our life remains sacred and should be not violated. In all, we remains God noblest and highest creature, of infinite worth, possessing the greatest gift above all life.

Moreover, our closeness to God is not discovered purely in spirit alone meaning our body cannot be separated from the soul or spirit. Oneness with God occurs when we are together by means of spiritual, physical, human possessions – including behaviours and characteristics and movements and necessities and desires. We are created as open to hear the Word of God in our own life, to speak the Word of God and pronounce this Word to others. There is no scriptural account, presenting us as the picture of God found mainly in the spiritual qualities of a human being. By understanding this basic philosophy of human life, I wished to consider a number of ethical issues regarding the commencement and terminating of a life such as abortion, euthanasia, and treatment of vulnerable kids, disabled and elderly. Killing an unborn child was a common act during ancient times while it does not highlight openly in Sacred Scripture. Yet, we listen to readings of the Bible concerning the value of a human person and why destroying a human life by any means is outlawed.

The problem of terminating an unborn child argues about when the human life develop. Today it is agreed widely with the knowledge of science as life absolutely begin at conception, hence assimilated many texts in Sacred Scripture that affirms a foetus within a mother’s womb is certainly a person reflecting the likeness and image of God. In addition, two distinct views about the issue that is debatable. One view says, such as the decision of aborting a foetus has to come from the mother that base the arguments on the principle of pro-choice. While the other view suggest that, society should not allow abortion compelled by any situation because an unborn child is a human being from the moment of conception thus assimilated the pro-life conception of human being. Clearly, we cannot find any arguments in the Bible that supports the idea of pro-choice. Therefore, we are obliged to accept that terminating a foetus is clearly murdering an innocent life which strongly forbidden by the sixth commandment. We can find the explanation of it in (EX. 23:7); God loathes the hands, which shed the innocent bloods. Furthermore, euthanasia is a method of terminating a person’s life who is struggling with a critical illness without any physical injuries done. Euthanasia can be active or passive and may be done with or without patient’s informed consent or sometimes, if the person is unable to speak for him/herself, a responsible person may give the decision. Active euthanasia is explicitly condemned by the sixth commandment, although the person suffering requested for it.

The story of King Saul gives us a clear biblical and moral position. When he was seriously harmed, he ordered his armour-bearer to put him to death because he cannot accept defeat by his enemies. However, it was not done according to his will (1 Sam. 31:3-5). On the other hand, King David murdered Amalekite who told the story of Saul’s death, pronouncing that upon request he executed him (2 Sam. 1:1-16). While passive euthanasia includes withdrawing the provision of human necessities that is life giving such as food, water, air or artificial life-giving technologies for the reason of causing death and stop pain and struggling. Such carelessness in human beings that causes death was also forbidden by the sixth commandment. This stimulated the question how Christians should act on behalf of the people experiencing discomfort and suffering who cannot look after themselves. Through seeing the question, Christians shall consider as such, as the value of human life is found in the truth that God alone is the giver of life. The dignity of the humankind does not change in relation to social status of a person in the society or nature of suffering, because it originates from God. Similarly, the person with disabilities, vulnerable children, or old people are equal as everyone else in the society because they have attributes comparable to God himself and possessed equal appreciation given to anybody else.

Christians are encouraged to hold and protect the value of life that is grounded in the image of God. The people experiencing pains were by no means different from others and their values does not fluctuate according to the degree of their suffering. Again, the question is how we can keep such situations under control. What shall we do to enhance the value of human life especially those struggling with disability or critical sickness? Referring to biblical standpoint, Jesus showed sympathy to both people with sickness (Matt. 14:14) and the people with physical, emotional and spiritual matters (Matt. 9:36, mark 8:2, Luke 7: 13). Therefore as Christians, it is important and profoundly religious to show kindness to the body, soul and spirit of the people who are struggling with life-threatening issues. To conclude, much has been said about the dignity of a human person.

The study of human beings is a never – ending story. It is studied in Christian anthropology, theology, philosophy and psychology. All of which attempts to explain human beings from various viewpoints because humans possessed a nature that cannot be comprehend in one perspective. In one way or other, I think our feelings and emotions are overpowering us, which leads us into sin and so helps to devalue our dignity as human persons. Our lives cannot be satisfied with the materialistic world because we are not rooted with those things. We find peace happiness only when God is in the centre of our hearts and minds.

13 January 2020

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