Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Faith & Religion, Image of God/Created Co-creator

Barth on the imago Dei

Something to bear in mind as I work through the interpretation and implications of the imago Dei in a techno-cultural society. In commenting on the interpretation of the imago Dei by figures such as Ambrose, Augustine, the Reformers, Hegel and Troeltsch, Barth writes of the Gen 1:26ff passage and its interpretation,

We might easily discuss which of these and the many other similar explanations is the finest or deepest or most serious. What we cannot discuss is which of them is the true explanation of Gen. I26f. For it is obvious that their authors merely found the concept in the text and then proceeded to pure invention in accordance with the requirements of contemporary anthropology, so that it is only by the standard of our own anthropology, and not according to the measure of its own anthropology and on exegetical grounds, that we can decide for or against them. Indeed, is it not almost refreshing to observe that in the end Troeltsch quite obviously makes no attempt whatever to expound Gen. I26f. but decides for an independent reconstruction of the concept? The procedure is characteristic of the tendency in much that has been said at this point by other writers both ancient and modern.

— Karl Barth, The Doctrine of Creation, Church Dogmatics, vol. 3 No. 1 (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1958), 192-193.

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