Near the end of the twentieth century, the Functional View of the Image of God emerged with virtual consensus among Old Testament scholars. The discovery of ancient texts which used “image of God” language in reference to kings and cult images led scholars to recast the imago Dei in terms of how a king or priest functions as a royal representation of God. Examining how scripture likens and contrasts man as the image of God with man-made images of gods (idols) within its historic and cultural context, how does this inform our understanding of the imago Dei?
The Functional View asserts that man was created to be God’s physical representation on earth and to function as his agent and vice-regent in exercising dominion. But what about women? Was Eve also made in the image of God or was she a derivation of the man from whom she was extracted? Did she also possess this royal dominion or was she created to submit under the authority of the man who acted alone as God’s royal representative?
In conversation with theologian J. Richard Middleton, Betwixt explores the Functional View along with questions it raises about dominion, power, gender, ecology, and politics. Dr. Middleton is Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY. He also serves as adjunct Professor of Old Testament at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology in Kingston, Jamaica. He has been President of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association, 2011-2014.
He is the author of The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 and A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology and coauthor of the bestsellers Truth is Stranger Than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age and The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview.
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