Image of God/Anthropology

ST MACARIUS THE GREAT

  • But in none of them does God find rest. All the creation is governed by Him; and yet He did not fix His throne in them, or establish communion with them, but was well pleased with man alone, entering into communion with him, and resting him. Seest thou the kinship of God with man, and of man with God? Therefore the sagacious and prudent soul, after going the round of all created things, found no rest for herself, except in the Lord; and the Lord was well pleased in nothing except in man alone. (Homilies)

Intellect and reason

ST ATHANASIUS

  • For this cause, then, death having gained upon men, and corruption abiding upon them, the race of man was perishing; the rational man made in God's image was disappearing, and the handiwork of God was in process of dissolution. (On the incarnation of the Word)

ST BASIL THE GREAT

  • What shall I say? The mind is a wonderful thing, and therein we possess that which is after the image of the Creator. (Letter 233)

ST GREGORY OF NYSSA

  • Now since our Maker has bestowed upon our formation a certain Godlike grace, by implanting in His image the likeness of His own excellences, for this reason He gave, of His bounty, His other good gifts to human nature; but mind and reason we cannot strictly say that He gave, but that He imparted them, adding to the image the proper adornment of His own nature. (On the making of Man)

Dominion/power

ST BASIL THE GREAT

  • Well! God has subdued this monstrous animal to us to such a point that he understands the lessons and endures the blows we give him; a manifest proof that the Creator has submitted all to our rule, because we have been made in His image. (Hexaemeron)

ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

  • When therefore he calls Him both Form, and express Image, what can they say? Yea, says he, man is also called an Image of God. What then! Is he so [an image of Him] as the Son is? No (says he) but because the term, image, does not show resemblance. And yet, in that man is called an Image, it shows resemblance, as in man. For what God is in Heaven, that man is on earth, I mean as to dominion. And as he has power over all things on earth, so also has God power over all things which are in heaven and which are on earth. But otherwise, man is not called Express image, he is not called Form: which phrase declares the substance, or rather both substance and similarity in substance. (Homily on Hebrews)

  • For He said, Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26) What is the sense of this, after our image, and after our likeness? The image of government is that which is meant; and as there is no one in heaven superior to God, so let there be none upon earth superior to man. This then is one, and the first respect, in which He did him honour; by making him after His own image; and secondly, by providing us with this principality, not as a payment for services, but making it entirely the gift of His own love toward man; and thirdly, in that He conferred it upon us as a thing of nature (Homily 7 on the Statutes)

  • Christ is above, ruling over all things: it was necessary this should be believed. The same takes place in the earth with respect to man. Let Us make man after Our image and likeness Genesis 1:26, for dominion of all the brutes. (Homily on Colossians)

Free will

ST GREGORY OF NYSSA

  • Thus, then, man was created in the image of God. He could not therefore be without the gifts of freedom, independence, self-determination; and his participation in the Divine gifts was consequently made dependent on his virtue. Owing to this freedom he could decide in favour of evil, which cannot have its origin in the Divine will, but only in our inner selves, where it arises in the form of a deviation from good, and so a privation of it. (The Great Catechisms)

Renewal of image through Baptism

ST DIADOCHOS OF PHOTIKI

  • For when through holy baptism divine grace in it infinite love permeates the lineaments of God's image - thereby renewing in the soul the capacity for attaining the divine likeness - what place is there for the devil? (On spiritual knowledge and discrimination) 

  • Divine grace confers on us two gifts through the baptism of regeneration, one being infinitely superior to the other. The first gift is given to us at once, when grace renews us in the actual waters of baptism and cleanses all the lineaments of our soul, that is, the image of God in us, by washing away every stain of sin. The second - our likeness to God - requires our co-operation. When the intellect begins to perceive the Holy Spirit with full consciousness, we should realize that grace is beginning to paint the divine likeness over the divine image in us (On spiritual knowledge and discrimination) 

ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

  • It was fallen indeed, our nature had fallen an incurable fall, and needed only that mighty Hand. There was no possibility of raising it again, had not He who fashioned it at first stretched forth to it His Hand, and stamped it anew with His Image, by the regeneration of water and the Spirit. (Homily on John)

Image of Christ

ST ATHANASIUS

  • The Word of God can in His  own Person, because it was  He alone, the Image of the Father, who could recreate man made after the Image.

  • In order to effect this re-creation, however, He had first to do away with death and corruption. Therefore he assumed a human body, in order that in it death might once  for all be destroyed and that men might  be renewed according to the Image. The Image of the Father only was sufficient for this need (On the Incarnation)

  • For though we have been made after the Image , and called both image and glory of God, yet not on our own account still, but for that Image and true Glory of God inhabiting us, which is His Word, who was for us afterwards made flesh, have we this grace of our designation. (Discourse against the Arians)

  • He did not barely create man, as He did all the irrational creatures on the earth, but made them after His own image, giving them a portion even of the power of His own Word; so that having as it were a kind of reflexion of the Word, and being made rational, they might be able to abide ever in blessedness, living the true life which belongs to the saints in paradise. (Incarnation of the Word)

  • Whence, lest this should be so, being good, He gives them a share in His own Image, our Lord Jesus Christ, and makes them after His own Image and after His likeness: so that by such grace perceiving the Image, that is, the Word of the Father, they may be able through Him to get an idea of the Father, and knowing their Maker, live the happy and truly blessed life. (Incarnation of the Word)

ST BASIL THE GREAT

  • To Whom does He say, in our image, to whom if it is not to Him who is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, Hebrews 1:3 the image of the invisible God? Colossians 1:15 It is then to His living image, to Him Who has said I and my Father are one, John 10:30 He that has seen me has seen the Father, John 14:9 that God says Let us make man in our image. Where is the unlikeness in these Beings who have only one image? So God created man. Genesis 1:27 (Hexaemeron)

ST GREGORY THE THEOLOGIAN

  • let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image. Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honour our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died. (Oration 1)

Image after the fall

ST ATHANASIUS

  • For this cause, then, death having gained upon men, and corruption abiding upon them, the race of man was perishing; the rational man made in God's image was disappearing, and the handiwork of God was in process of dissolution. (Incarnation of the Word)

  • Especially since such going astray proves the cause of their ruin and undoing, and since it was unfitting that they should perish which had once been partakers of God's image. What then was God to do? Or what was to be done save the renewing of that which was in God's image, so that by it men might once more be able to know Him? But how could this have come to pass save by the presence of the very Image of God, our Lord Jesus Christ? For by men's means it was impossible, since they are but made after an image; nor by angels either, for not even they are (God's) images. Whence the Word of God came in His own person, that, as He was the Image of the Father, He might be able to create afresh the man after the image. But, again, it could not else have taken place had not death and corruption been done away. Whence He took, in natural fitness, a mortal body, that while death might in it be once for all done away, men made after His Image might once more be renewed. None other then was sufficient for this need, save the Image of the Father. (Incarnation of the Word)

ST GREGORY THE THEOLOGIAN

  • I had a share in the Image and I did not keep it; He partakes of my flesh that He may both save the Image and make the flesh immortal. (Oration 45)

Difference between Image and Likeness

ST CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE

  • As we have borne the image of him who is of the earth, let us also bear the image of Him who is from heaven. But we cannot bear the heavenly image, unless in that condition wherein we have already begun to be, we show forth the likeness of Christ. (Treaties on jealousy and envy)

ST DIADOCHOS THE PHOTIKI

  • All men are made in God's image; but to be in His likeness is granted only to those who through great love have bought their own freedom into subjection to God. For only when we do not belong to ourselves do we become like Him who though love has reconciled us to Himself.  (On spiritual knowledge and discrimination)

ST JOHN OF DAMASCUS

  • Every man possesses that which is according to the image of God, "for the gifts of God are irrevocable" (Rom. 11:29). But only a few ? those who are virtuous and holy, and have imitated the goodness of God to the limit of human powers ? possess that which is according to the likeness of God. (Philokalia)

  • The expression according to the image indicates that which is reasonable and endowed with free will, while the expression according to the likeness denotes assimilation through virtue, in as far as this is possible. (On the Orthodox faith)