What is man? Man is a creature superior to all other creatures in this world—and therefore having rule over them—by virtue of his ability to know and love his Creator. This ability to know (mind) and love (will) is the imago Dei because in so knowing and loving God man knows and does in finite measure what God knows and does in infinite measure. Implicit in this knowledge of God is the knowledge and love of all other creatures (man supremely because man is the supreme creature) who are so many manifestations of God, directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, rationally or nonrationally. Man as he now exists, apart from re-creation or regeneration, no longer possesses the imago Dei in this sense but his present condition does not concern us here.
Exposition. 1. Creation. In Genesis 1:27 it is recorded, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” Thus, according to the Bible, God created man or made him out of nothing by the mere word of His power. We need not labor the point that the Bible does teach ex nihilo creation, it being almost universally granted (though Barth denies it as a “spekulative Konstruktion” and in characteristic fashion gives it a new and novel meaning (Kirchliche Dogmatik, III/2, p. 187).
2. Ideal Man. If God created man and was pleased with His work, as the Bible says, then man was originally a far nobler creature as he came into being “trailing clouds of glory” than he is now after centuries of wallowing in the sinful pit into which the fall from pristine excellence brought him. Luther may be justified in conjecturing that Adam’s “powers of vision exceeded those of the lynx” and his strength enabled him to manage lions and bears (H. T. Kerr, Compendium of Luther’s ...1
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