The Philosophical Evidences for God’s Existence: The Imago Dei. Part Two.

Not only is there evidence for God’s existence from biblical revelation but there are also the philosophical arguments supporting the concept of God’s existence. Admittedly, these arguments may not convince those antagonistic to the Christian faith of its validity. However, they do provide a thought provoking response to those who contend that Christianity does not contain any assemblage of reasoning or logical thought. 

What then are the philosophical arguments for God’s existence? They include the ontological argument, the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the moral argument, the anthropological argument, the religious experience argument and the argument from the existence of miracles: most notably Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

The Anthropological Argument indicates that man is a unique creation by God. The Scriptures claim that man was created in the image of God(Gen. 1:26-27).

In June 2003, Dr. R. C. Sproul wrote an article entitled Imago Dei in which he accurately evaluated the modern’s world condition in rejecting the God of Scripture.  What then is the answer for a world seemingly without value because it has at large rejected the God of the Bible? The following are further excerpts from Dr. Sproul’s article.

At this point, Biblical Christianity is on a collision course with the secular culture, for it offers a radically different view of humans. First, we are not God or gods. We are creatures, indeed creatures of the dust. Second, we are not mere brutes. Though not divine, there is some sense in which we are like God. An image cannot reflect something utterly dissimilar to it. Rather, an image is a likeness of something beyond itself. It is not the original, but it mirrors the original.

Historically, theology has wrestled over the content of the image, over the issue of how we are like God. Traditionally, the point of likeness has been seen in those areas in which we share in the communicable attributes of God.

For example, God is a rational being—He has a mind and intelligence. Though our minds are limited by our creatureliness, we still have the capacity of thinking. (For centuries many assumed that animals cannot think but act only on “instinct,” a category that may be a distinction without a difference.)

Also, we understand that God is a volitional being in that He acts according to His divine will. His will is sovereign, but that does not preclude or exclude the existence of lesser volitional creatures. We also enjoy the faculty of volition as we exercise our wills in the making of choices.

Others have sought to establish the image of God (imago Dei) in our status. Just as God exercises full dominion over the created order, He has delegated to human beings a lesser dominion over the animal world and the earth. In this role, we function as vicegerents of God, or as His appointed deputies.

Still other attempts have been made to locate the image in our human capacity for “I-Thou” relationships. Karl Barth spoke of man’s uniqueness in his being made homo relationis. Just as the persons of the Trinity enjoy an eternal relationship among themselves, so we find our significance in our male/female relationships.

Finally, the question of dignity is tied to the Imago Dei. From a Biblical perspective, human beings do not have inherent or intrinsic dignity. In other words, our dignity (which is real) is not eternal or self-existent. Rather, we have dignity that is extrinsic—it comes to us from without. We have dignity because God assigns dignity to us. He has taken the initiative to stamp His image upon us.

That we bear the image of the God of glory is an unspeakable blessing. But with this elevated status comes a weighty responsibility. We were made to glorify God—to reflect the character of God. That duty comes in the divine mandate: “You shall by holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2).

It is our ability to reflect the holiness of God that has been shattered by the Fall. Sin distorts the image of God. When the deputy sins, the Regent Himself is slandered.

But even with the Fall, by which the image is marred and the reflection of the Creator is clouded and besmirched, the image itself is not destroyed. Even in our fallenness, the communicable attributes of God are made manifest.

The only hope is for God to restore the shattered image of God in man. He has provided the only means in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:21-26; 8:28-30).

Soli deo Gloria!

Dr. R.C. Sproul was founder of Ligonier Ministries, founding pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., and first president of Reformation Bible College. He was author of more than one hundred books, including The Holiness of God.

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