The phrase, ‘God created human beings in His own likeness and image’, depicts the presence of special qualities in human nature that allow God to manifest in them. While human beings do not share God’s incommunicable attributes such as omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, they share His spirituality, morality, and rationality as the created beings through whom His purposes and plans can become a reality. In essence, the phrase implies that each human being is an expression or representation of God irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, and other social and biological differences. It indicates that each human being has inherent value whose root is his/her likeness with the Creator.
The fact that human beings bear the image of God shapes how they view the world and one another. From a moral perspective, the phrase implies that if human beings are to love and have a close relationship with God, they have to love other humans and treat them in ways that respect their nature as reflections and representations of God (Brown para.6-7). It implies that human beings have spiritual awareness and the capacities for moral and spiritual reflection and growth. In effect, these elements have to show in the relationships that human beings have with one another. In line with their spiritual and moral nature and capacities as God’s images, human beings have to adhere to a moral and spiritual life alongside one another on earth (Fisher 280) that of human beings, they have as images of God,
Based on these assessments, the belief that humans bear the likeness and image of God has two major implications in the relationships that human beings have with one another. The first relates to the element of personal responsibility in relationships and decision-making concerning behavior towards others. The sharing of God’s capacities for rationality, morality, and spirituality among human beings implies their responsibility to act and behave responsibly and ethically towards others based on considerations of what is right and the interests of others. The second implication relates to the need to treat others as representations of God, such that one has to behave towards others based on the identity and purpose of God (Brown para.6-7). The relationship that one has with other human beings has to reflect that which he/she desires with God since they are His images or representations.
Brown, Erica. In God’s Image: B’tselem Elohim. My Jewish Learning, 2019.
Fisher, M. (2017). Living Religions. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall,