The Christian concept of imago dei

The Christian concept of imago dei

The Christian concept of imago dei is described by Shelly & Miller (2006) as man being created in the image of God, granting dignity and honor to everyone while separating mankind from everything else on earth.

This is important to healthcare because human lives depend on healthcare.  By focusing the attention on preserving life and granting each person dignity, we value each human’s life over and above everything else on earth, as God intended.  While postmodernism would hold a humans life less valuable since that philosophy believes the humans are simply another organism on earth, with the same value as a rock (Shelly &, 2006). The Christian concept of imago dei

This belief is relevant because if we are all viewed as imago dei, then there are moral consequences if we choose to treat humans as equal to all other animals in creation.  As Shelly & Miller (2006) asserts, men may eat other animals in the world, but according to the Christian concept of imago dei, we were placed here as separate and superior beings and it is not appropriate to eat another human being, shoot a person for an illness or disability, and while we are free to choose, it is our responsibility to treat the sick and dying with dignity and respect with hope for a positive outcome.  The Christian concept of imago dei

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The Christian concept of imago Dei as explained by our text is that all humans are created in the image and likeness of god; because of this, human life is deemed valuable and special among all other life forms (Shelly & Miller, 2006). This is an important and basic concept that bares relevance to many aspects within humanity. In the context of healthcare, this is an especially crucial and fundamental understanding. Healthcare providers, caregivers, and all disciplines of the occupation should practice with this core understanding always in mind which transcends across religions and personal beliefs/opinions. Human life is a gift, and as such, each life is significant and meaningful, deserving of respect, empathy, kindness and dignity. A person’s worth and dignity is not determined by their health status, bodily functions or medical prognosis. Healthcare workers should always uphold this truth and honor a person’s right to this understanding. This should be a standard of all care, regardless of if the person’s medical decisions are not in opposition to the healthcare worker’s personal opinion or choice (Sevensky, n.d.). The Christian concept of imago dei

(“image of God”): A theological term, applied uniquely to humans, which denotes the symbolical relation between God and humanity. The term has its roots in Genesis 1:27, wherein “God created man in his own image. . .” This scriptural passage does not mean that God is in human form, but rather, that humans are in the image of God in their moral, spiritual, and intellectual nature. The Christian concept of imago dei Thus, humans mirror God’s divinity in their ability to actualize the unique qualities with which they have been endowed, and which make them different than all other creatures: rational structure (see logos), complete centeredness, creative freedom, a possibility for self-actualization, and the ability for self-transcendence. The Christian concept of imago dei

Imago Dei – Longer definition: The term imago Dei refers most fundamentally to two things: first, God’s own self-actualization through humankind; and second, God’s care for humankind. To say that humans are in the image of God is to recognize the special qualities of human nature which allow God to be made manifest in humans. In other words, for humans to have the conscious recognition of their being in the image of God means that they are the creature throught whom God’s plans and purposes can be made known and actualized; humans, in this way, can be seen as co-creators with God. The Christian concept of imago dei The moral implications of the doctrine of imago Dei are apparent in the fact that if humans are to love God, then humans must love other humans, as each is an expression of God. The human’s likeness to God can also be understood by contrasting it with that which does not image God, i.e., beings who, as far as we know, are without self-consciousness and the capacity for spiritual/ moral reflection and growth. Humans differ from all other creatures because of their rational structure – their capacity for deliberation and free decision-making. This freedom gives the human a centeredness and completeness which allows the possibility for self-actualization and participation in a sacred reality. However, the freedom which makes the human in God’s image is the same freedom which manifests itself in estrangement from God, as the myth of the Fall (Adam and Eve) exemplifies. According to this myth, humans can, in their freedom, choose to deny or repress their spiritual and moral likeness to God. The ability and desire to love one’s self and others, and therefore, God, can become neglected and even opposed. Striving to bring about the imago Dei in one’s life can be seen as the quest for wholeness, or one’s “essential” self, as pointed to in Christ’s life and teachings The Christian concept of imago dei.

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