I regularly teach a course on the Biblical Worldview at Northeastern Seminary, in which one of the student assignments is to reflect on the implications of humanity created as imago Dei (Latin for “image of God”). Students are asked to think out loud about how understanding their own lives in terms of this biblical doctrine (first articulated in Genesis 1:26-28) might impact their vocation and ministry, whether inside or outside the church. Although the course is addressed to seminarians and is focused theologically and ethically, it is grounded in rigorous study of the Bible in its historical context. So when it comes to the imago Dei, students are asked to move beyond speculative ideas in the history of the church and connect what we know about the imago Dei in the Bible (given its ancient Near Eastern context) with their lives in the contemporary world.
The Seminary has recently published reflections on this topic from three current M.Div. students in their March Newsletter (Resound). The three reflections (on pages 1-2) are collectively entitled “Investigating the Imago Dei—Student Reflections.” These reflections (by Kayleigh, Brian, and Steven) are well worth reading and have relevance far beyond pastoral ministry.