The Interesting Meaning of Being Made in God’s Image

made in God's image

Last updated on November 19th, 2019


What does it mean that man was made in God’s image? After careful reading of scripture, I think I know the answer to that now.

I’m sure if you grew up in church or been a Christian awhile you’ve heard the phrase, “we were made in God’s image”. And the people I’ve ever heard answer the question of what the phrase “in God’s image” means usually gave different answers. But most of the time they were a bit vague in my opinion. And most answers I heard were something to this effect. That humans were made to be of similar nature to God, but not exactly like God.

Genesis 1

I was reading back though Genesis 1 where the phrase originates. And I did what I usually do with verses I don’t understand. I looked at the verses near that verse which led me to an interesting conclusion. Let’s have a look at Genesis 1:26-28.

Genesis 1:26-28 states, “26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [ak]sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [al]sky and over every living thing that [am]moves on the earth.”


The meaning of man being made in God’s image and according to God’s likeness as I read it in this passage, is that man was made like God in having power and authority. God has power and authority over humans, existence, and reality as a whole. We have been given power and authority over every living thing on the planet. You look throughout scripture and even the current reality of today, we’ve exercised that power and authority over the animals and the plants. Perhaps not always successfully, but nonetheless, the animals and plants have no power or authority over us.

What were you taught “being made in God’s image” means?

Peace to all those who are in Christ.


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22 thoughts on “The Interesting Meaning of Being Made in God’s Image

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head here, however, being that said I do so beleive He expects us to take care of the animals, plants, and earth with the same love, kindness, and compassion that He has for us.

    I also believe He expects us to let them be the very thing they were created to be. We do not need to be trying to change the DNA and all the like in or on anything. To me that is always like saying, “God you did not do it good enough.”

    Good post. Have a great Sunday! God Bless, SR

    1. Hi SR. Thanks for your comment. What actions that people do today would you say goes against taking care of the animals, plants, and earth with the same love, kindness, and compassion that God has for us? Hope you’re having a great Sunday as well.

      Peace to you in Christ.

  2. Remember you asked for it??? LOL! I live in the country and was raised on a dairy. So here goes.

    We spray our yards to get rid of the bugs. When we do this we kill the frogs. When we kill the frogs we kill the snakes. When we kill the snakes we kill the cats and birds, etc…. We offset the balance of nature with all of this and much more.

    Trying to breed a first time heifer with a Charolais bull for an example. This is so she will have a bigger calf. There is hardly a chance that a first time heifer will be able to birth a calf from a Charolais bull. (Pronounced Char-lay) The cattle owner is going to be lucky if he does not lose the heifer and the calf.

    Produce: So many things have been done to change the produce. I mean like they changed say the DNA of a tomatoe so we can have a larger tomatoe. The same goes for many fruits and vegetables.

    Fertilizer: At times fertilizer is needed. But if a person will take the clover, cut grass, leaves etc… in their yard get on their lawn mower and cut that stuff small enough and throw it back into the yard, the nitrates from that will sink down into the ground when it rains, and make your grass or whatever grow.

    Animals: There are so many labs that are breeding this animal to that animal and they are coming out with “freaks!” Another is when they are trying to make an animal a human being. I have been around animals all of my life. Every kind of animal from a fish to a cow. I have six dogs that I love very much, but……… the end they are still a dog. They think like a dog, they smell like a dog, they act like a dog. I am not going to go 10,000 dollars in debt to save one of them. They are not my children. I take care of them, see to their feeding and watering. Train them, see to their health needs, but I never try and make them a “human being” with human ways. They are always allowed to follow their own instincts. Yes, I do believe God placed animals on this earth to eat!

    Another thing that goes all through me is when these people get out here and try and make wild animals a tamed one! Eventually what happens most ot the time, is the animal kills the owner then the animal has to be put down. Animals such as monkeys, tigers, lions etc…. There is no logic in that to me whatsoever?????

    Fat free, sugar free etc…. All of these foods have some sort of chemical in them. I have eaten fresh eggs, meat, fruits and vegetables all of my life. I literally drank milk straight from a cow. I also drink the cream, I love it. When my brother and I were milking and got thirsty we would squeeze the milk out of the cow into our mouths. I am 62 years old, my Dad is 86 my granparents lived to be 94-96 doing the same thing. I eat real butter also! Outside of the normal cold or something like that I have never been sick.

    God designed everything to be what it is. God designed food for the nourishment of our bodies and He knows exactly the nourishment that body needs because He created it. Man, in our infinite wisdom decided on many things, this was not good enough. Look what has happened? Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, all of this is taking off at an alarming rate. I mean, how did people make it from the beginning of time, until today, by leaving things the way God created them? People did not have a lot of this stuff until really the 1950’s. Isn’t it amazing how it all survived until that point?

    Remember you asked! 🙂 God Bless, SR

  3. I had to come back with one more thing. Letting that ground rest! Every seven years the ground has to rest. All plowing and planting needs to stop on a certain part of the ground. You plant and plow on the rest of it. Of course people today do not do that! What happens? Ever heard of the dust bowl in the 1930’s? You absolutely kill that part of the earth and it will not produce one solitary single thing. God Bless, SR

    1. An admirable passion you just expressed 😉 . I too have questioned the means of which food is produced nowadays. There’s certainly a lot to be concerned with gmos and what not. And as you accurately note, a lot of things are done now in a way that was not how God intended for our food to come to us. It kind of hearkens to my pondering in my post about God not wanting the Gentiles to eat an animal if it was strangled to death. I’ve made more of an effort in recent years to research these things and hopefully eat as healthy as possible in my currently young life to live up to the age that you and your family have been so blessed to live up to. Quite a blessing that you grew up in the country and learned so much about this.

      Peace to you in Christ.

  4. Hey brother, I think that it was to you that I suggested listening to two men, Todd White and Dan Mohler. These two have a very good grasp on what being made in God’s image means and it goes way beyond power and authority. A little snippet of what they teach is this; the emotions that we grew up with, anger, jealousy, lust, self centeredness, need, etc. did not come from God, they came from fallen nature. To say that those types of emotions were created by God would mean that God is those things, but He’s not. So when we respond to everyday situations with emotions from our fallen nature, we are not responding as God would respond, we’re responding you know who’s way.
    Think about it.

    1. Hi Royalpalmtree. Yes, you did recommend those two speakers for me, thanks for sharing them with me. That’s an interesting theory. I would be interested to see what verses they use to come to this conclusion.

      Peace to you in Christ.

  5. The debate on what is meant by “Being made in God’s Image” has been going on for quite some time but if you look at the whole of Scripture and dig deep, the answer is clear. God is formless. Although there are three distinct persons (entities, images) God is formless. The “Image of God” therefore is not a physical form but of the nature/character/ ethics/values/ of the divine. The moral standing of the Father is the “Image” here. Our original bodies were flesh and bone but magnified by the Father’s Divine Spirit (Jesus Ascended form was Adams original form). When corrupted by sin, the divine nature was removed from us. The Holy Spirit which was breathed in us is a guide our now corrupted forms. God commands us to be caretakers of the earth as SR said but our sinful nature which replaced the Divine when Adam and Eve ate of the fig or pomegranate from the Tree of Knowledge (not apple, those are not found in that area). When Adam became corrupt with the knowledge of Good and Evil, the Divine left and the space was filled with corruption. We still have the understanding of the Character/values of God which we must strive to maintain in good moral standing but we will always be corruptible until we put on the white robes of salvation.

    1. Hi Path-Way Worship Ministries. Well said, and it has been quite a debate. I can understand with that term, “according to our likeness”, there are a lot of different ways people could go with that. And the instructions of character in the Word are reflective of God, and thus would seem to be reflecting the likeness of God. I don’t see that as speculation that goes too far I suppose. It was interesting to deduce my understanding of that made in God’s image verse based on the verses after it. Thanks again for sharing your insight.

      Peace to you in Christ.

  6. Good morning!

    One of the more interesting statements I’ve found on this subject comes from a quote by Garry T. Ansdell who said, “We are three in one-spirit, soul, and body. Like God, we are immortal. The most important thing about us is our immortality-our everlasting soul. Paul said that he was called to preach the immortality that Jesus brought to light (see 2 Tim. 1:10,11). Each of us, no matter the color, shape, size, intellect or gender, are human beings (being human). But our real label is not who we are, what we do, or what we know, etc. What really matters is that we are immortal.”

    Some really great resources I’ve found that I’d like to share if you are not already familiar with them are:

    -Encyclopedia of the Bible from BibleGateway: Here’s a link to the very subject on the image of God. An interesting read:

    -Matthew Henry Commentary: Considered to be one of tne great Bible commentators. Here is a link to his commentary on Genesis 1:26-28

    -The Evidence Bible: an apologetics Bible that provides not only compelling evidence for the existence of God but for the inspiration of Holy Scripture as well.

    -Free Answers Tool by Living Waters Ministries: Excerpts from the Evidence Bible. This site provides information on common questions and objections, in-depth comments on some of the more popular topics of our day, to include springboards for witnessing.

    Run to win,

    1. Hi Den. Interesting quote about immortality, never pondered that as a part of reflecting the image of God. Thanks for sharing all of those resources. It’s always nice to find new information and read different perspectives to enhance understanding.

      Peace to you in Christ.

  7. You are exactly right, Being made in God’s imagine means that he gave us the authority to rule over the earth. Therefore out of every creature that he created man is the most powerful. We have dominion! which means whatever we speak will come to life once we have faith that, that is our purpose. Remember when he created Adam, Adam named the creatures in the Garden!

  8. I have really enjoyed reading your article! I wonder whether we do not have total authority over the animals? They have hunted us, and killed us, which they would never do to God?
    I have read that verse of Genesis to mean that we have the qualities of God in that we can create things and love things, qualities which are unique to humans over the animals? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    1. Hi littlemeponders. Thank you for your comment. I’m generally conservative in my scripture analysis in sticking to exactly what the text tells us. In being of that mindset, it’s hard for me to see any other conclusion of what “made in our likeness” means other than the description we’re given immediately after that phrase, which was to rule over the fish, the birds, the cattle, all over the earth, and every creeping thing. I’m not quite sure if I would see a human being hunted and killed as necessarily diminishing human’s authority as a whole, much like one perhaps wouldn’t see someone who chooses not to believe in God and lives a life continually opposed to God’s will as diminishing God’s authority.

      Peace in Christ.

      1. Hello Eric. It’s so interesting to hear your point of view, thank you. Although does rejecting a belief in God, and therefore not affecting God’s existence in any way, amount to the same as an animal killing a human and therefore ending our existence in this life? I would love to hear your opinion on this!

        1. Hi littlemeponders. Thanks for your reply to my response. Though I’m a Philosophy graduate, I generally like to stay in the objective lane of things with focusing on what our text states. Here we’re a debating a subjective point with the validity of our analogies, which we may likely continue to be in disagreement on. But just to humor this topic, let’s go back to the objective lane with what the text states and then circle back to our subjective debate, ““26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [ak]sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So the verse expressed making man into God’s image, according to their likeness, rule over the fish, birds, cattle, creeping crawling things, all over the earth. Is that all of the things that God rules over, or does God rule over more things than man does? Perhaps you would agree with me that God rules over more things than we rule over. If you agree to that point, then what we seem to have here is a distinction between man’s ruling and God’s ruling, and thus a distinction between man and God. And with that distinction, then we must have a difference in what worst act can be committed against man, and what worst act can be committed against God. Since death is an impossible thing in the context of God, than the worst act committed against God must be something else, which I would conclude to be disbelief. In the context of man, since death is possible, that is perhaps the worst act that can be committed against man. And thus the two can equate, albeit in different contexts, and in the equating, despite the acts committed, still their full authorities are not diminished as a whole (i.e. the human race still in full authority, and God still in full authority.)

  9. Eric, it is encouraging to know that this topic has piqued your interest. There are a plethora of opinions on what it means to made in the image of God. Some believe it means to have the capacity to think, others believe it means to exercise the will, some believe it’s both, others believe it’s both and then some. Whatever it is, it can be narrowed down. In our reading of Genesis 1:27, it’s very clear that it is something that nothing else in creation possesses since nothing else in creation was made in God’s image and likeness, but humankind.

    1. Hi theecclesia. Thank you for your comment. Yes, certainly a lot of different thoughts on the subject. I agree with you that it’s nothing else any other creation possesses, and I conclude that thing no other creation has is verse 26.

      Peace in Christ. 🙂

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