Man in God's Image
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified
The Four Aspects of Man (355)
"God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27). The following paragraphs will examine these four aspects of man:
- He is in the image of God
- He unites in his nature both the spiritual and material worlds
- He is male and female
- He enjoys a friendship with God
The Dignity of God's Image - The Human Person (356-357)
In material creation only man can know and love God. He was willed by God for his own sake and he is called to share in God's own life. "What made you establish man in so great a dignity? You are taken with love for him" (St. Catherine of Siena).
Being in God's image makes the individual a person a "someone" and not a "something." He is capable of self-knowledge and of having friendships with other persons. He is called into a Covenant with God and can make a response of love not known by any other creature.
All for Man (358)
God created everything for man. "For man is more precious in God's eyes than all other creatures. For him the heavens and the earth exist. God did not spare his own Son for the sake of man. Nor does he ever cease to work until he has made him sit at his right hand" (St. John Chrysostom).
United in Christ (359-361)
This mystery of man becomes clear only in the mystery of Christ. "That is why Christ took on himself the role and the name of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image" (St. Peter Chrysologus).
The human race has a unity. "From one ancestor, God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth" (Acts 17:26). "The human race has unity in its origin (God), in its nature (body and soul), in its dwelling place (earth), in its supernatural goal (heaven), and in the means to heaven (Christ's redemption)" (Pope Pius XII). All men are truly brothers.