How Are We Created in God’s Image? part 2
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

How Are We Created in God’s Image? part 2 

Many people think that what makes humans created in God’s “image” are the intellectual skills that are distinctive among humans. We are indeed very clever, and human ingenuity has allowed humans to populate and dominate nearly every land mass on earth. In the short-term, human intellect has allowed our population to increase exponentially. Whether or not human intellect is adaptive in the long-term is not so clear. We are wreaking havoc on the environment that sustains us and we have developed powerful weapons that threaten our species, as well as many other species.
Since our intellect might or might not be desirable, it raises doubts about whether our intellect is what defines humanity as created in God’s “image.” Another cause for caution is that humans have a tendency to elevate whatever they think makes them distinctive into something that, they believe, makes them “better.” We see this repeatedly among people of different ethnicities, who generally regard themselves as “superior” based on attributes they believe are distinctive to their group.
Another difficult related to identifying humanity’s relation to God with intellect is that there are many people with mental disabilities, from congenital defects to trauma to dementia, who lack these skills. Are these people not in God’s image? Does their moral standing diminish in proportion to their disabilities?
Nonhumans also have mental skills, some of which are quite remarkable. For example, squirrels remember where they have hidden hundreds of nuts. Birds remember the paths they took in migrations of thousands of miles. Nonhumans are called to make difficult decisions every day, assessing needs, desires, and risks before choosing courses of action. Scientists are continuously discovering new, remarkable skills among nonhumans, prompting humans to search for ways that humans are “unique.” For example, some people have noted that only humans can draw themselves. A skeptic might reply, “But why would any nonhuman want to do this?” Each creature has skills that allow it to survive in challenging environments; only humans claim that their set of skills makes them “superior.” Are humans really better, or are humans just arrogant?
Next essay I will relate what I think it means to be made in the image of God. 

Go on to: How Are We Created in God’s Image? part 3
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