Recently, I heard a Christian leader claim that women and men are unequal in being. His conclusion seems to follow from at least two premises: (1) women are physically weaker than men; (2) women are less rational. Together, these make up the material (body) and immaterial (soul-reason) parts of a person.
Image of God
What is the image of God?
Irenaeus and Athanasius would compare Scripture with Scripture and say: Christ. Paul does say that “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” and speaks “of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (Col 1:15; 2 Cor 4:4). So the image of God is Christ.
Christianity forbids the use of idols, or objects that represent God as a form of worship. Probably the most famous place where Idolatry is forbidden is in Ten Commandments:
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exod 20:4–6)
God commands his people not to make images (even of the true God!) and worship them, because God is a jealous God. Probably the jealousy of God here refers to his exclusive desire to be worshipped. The simple truth here is that God prohibits idolatry because he alone ought to be worshipped, but Exodus 20 does not fill in the blanks as to why God forbids it as such.
The ideas of idolatry and image-bearing in the Bible, however, provide one helpful insight into why God forbids making images and worshipping them. By identifying how image bearing relates to idolatry, we are actually freed up to understand our life’s purpose with sharper focus.