Made in God’s image?

Feb 18, 2019 by

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I was happy to see that MWR picked up Micah Brickner’s article from Eastern Mennonite Missions about my involvement at Tyndale Seminary. The article gets the story right, but I feel that the headline, “Two Faiths’ Followers Reflect God’s Image,” is problematic.

Muslims and Christians are all made in the image of God, but the headline could be misconstrued to say that Islam and Christianity reflect the image of God. I reject that idea. Muslims and Christians only reflect the image of God because they are people, God’s creations, not because of their religions.

The title is also problematic because Muslims reject the idea that humans are made in the image of God as dangerously anthropomorphic. In Islam, people are God’s “vice-regents” but never “made in his image.” My Muslim co-presenters did not use or make any allusions to imago dei. Instead, they focused on human responsibility and capacity to live up to God’s revealed laws.

Khalid Hajji, founder of the Brussels Forum for Wisdom and World Peace, talked about a Muslim concept of God and the importance of relationships within the community. He reflected on humanity’s attempt to reach the transcendent God and how God had sent the Quran as a revelation. He spoke of humankind’s seeking after God. Yaser Ellethy, associate professor and director of the Center for Islamic Theology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, noted that human attempts to reach God have failed, but God reached down through the Quran and prophets to give humanity instruction.

I deeply appreciate MWR and love its international scope.

Jonathan Bornman
Lancaster, Pa.

The writer is a member of Eastern Mennonite Missions’ Christian-Muslim Relations Team.


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