What is the Christian concept of the imago dei?


What is the Christian concept of the imago dei?

Imago dei doesn’t mean that we reflect God’s image in the literal sense, but in His moral, spiritual, and intellectual nature (pbs.org, n.d.).Imago dei or ‘the image of God’ is “the Christian understanding of human beings as created in the image of God bestows dignity and honor on every person, regardless of social, mental or physical status” (Shelly & Miller, 2006). Imago dei (image of God) is a theological term that applies only to humans and has its roots in the biblical book of Genesis.

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How might it be important to healthcare, and why is it relevant?

The term imago dei is relevant because “it forms the basis of Western society’s understanding of human rights and undergirds our legal system as well as our health care and social service agencies” (Shelly & Miller, 2006). “It was the imago dei that drove Mother Teresa to care for the sick and dying in Calcutta, as it has motivated Christians throughout the centuries to care for the poor, the sick and the disenfranchised” (Shelly & Miller, 2006). We are all created by the and only true and living creator and knowing that another human being is created in the image of God is one motivation that every health care workers should want to have care for a sick human being and give the dying a peaceful and comforting death. In an article titled The Religious Foundations of Health Care, the author states, “it remains true that for the care giver (physician, nurse, social worker, psychologist or whatever) the other (the patient, the client) no longer remains simply a fellow human being in distress but also a likeness of the eternal God” (Sevensky, 1983). Sevensky goes on to state that this awareness transforms the relationship between health care worker and patient into recognition of the sanctity of the other (Sevensky, 1983).

It’s very interesting to see how my life reflect the image of God. As a nurse, I treat my patients how I want to be treated. The bible says, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We are all created in HIS image. Regardless of who we are and the position we hold we should never think of anyone lesser than us. Being a Christian allows me to be a better nurse. On many occasions I want to give up, but whenever I think about this awesome field in which GOD has placed me to make a change in someone’s life it gives me hope to continue another day.


Imago Dei (Image of God). (n.d.). Retrieved January 12, 2017, from http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/theogloss/imago-body.html

Sevensky, R. L. (1983). The Religious Foundations of Health Care: A Conceptual Approach. Journal of Medical Ethics, 165-169. Retrieved January 12, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1059326/pdf/jmedeth00010-0037.pdf.

Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A. B. (2006). Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing (Second ed.). Retrieved January 12, 2017, from https://viewer.gcu.edu/UGPTQ4