Being God's Image

Why Creation Still Matters

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Pub Date Jun 06 2023 | Archive Date Jun 29 2023

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What does it mean to be human?

This timeless question proves critical as we seek to understand our purpose, identity, and significance. Amidst the many voices clamoring to shape our understanding of humanity, the Bible reveals important truths related to our human identity and vocation that are critical to the flourishing of all of creation.

Carmen Joy Imes seeks to recover the theologically rich message of the creation narratives starting in the book of Genesis as they illuminate what it means to be human. Every human being is created as God’s image. Imago Dei is our human identity, and God appointed humans to rule on God's behalf. Being God’s Image explores the implications of this kinship relationship with God and considers what it means for our work, our gender relations, our care for creation, and our eternal destiny. The Bible invites us into a dramatically different quality of life: a beloved community in which we can know God and one another as we are truly known.

In Being God's Image, you'll find:

  • Imes's clear, insightful exploration of our deepest questions: what it means to be human,
  • A discussion guide for personal reflection or group study,
  • Additional links to related video material through the BibleProject.

What does it mean to be human?

This timeless question proves critical as we seek to understand our purpose, identity, and significance. Amidst the many voices clamoring to shape our understanding of...

Advance Praise

"Because of Carmen Imes's warm and inviting prose, readers might not initially realize what a biblical narrative tour de force they receive in this book. From Genesis to Revelation, creation to new creation, Imes leaves no major challenging question unaddressed as she explores the central assertion that all humans are made in God's image. A wise and able guide, Imes brings clarity, encouragement, and challenge herself as well as introducing numerous other guides so readers can press deeper. Along with Bearing God's Name, Being God's Image will stand as an influential Christian theology of creational flourishing."

-Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School

"To really know who you are, you need to know where you came from. Carmen Imes takes this idea seriously and walks through Genesis and other parts of Scripture to capture God's plan for creation, especially human image bearers. If you are looking for wisdom on personal identity and calling—and how to love, respect, and partner with fellow humans—this is a steady guide."

-Nijay K. Gupta, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary

"This insightful, beautifully written book not only provides profound theological depth, it invites us into an all-of-life, practical discipleship that is deeply invested in the flourishing of creation. I'm so grateful for Carmen Imes's wisdom, scholarship, and compelling vision of what it means to be human."

-Dominic Done, author of Your Longing Has a Name and When Faith Fails: Finding God in the Shadow of Doubt

"In this companion to Bearing God's Name, Carmen Imes offers a brilliant and compelling study of the imago Dei. While Bearing God's Name accents the unique vocation of God's people, Being God's Image foregrounds the remarkable status, dignity, and value that all humanity shares. Being is not divorced from bearing, but the distinction matters—in particular when thinking about gender, disability, race, suffering, and community. As readers sit at the table enjoying a rich biblical-theological feast, they're treated to the stories and people from Imes's journey who reflect the variegated light and life of the One in whose image we all are made."

-Matthew Lynch, associate professor of Old Testament at Regent College and author of Flood and Fury: Old Testament Violence and the Shalom of God

"Being God's Image is a useful guide for Christians to see how the Bible explains what it means to be human. By engaging with a range of scholarship and writing with straightforward prose, Carmen Imes paints a hopeful picture in which we may recognize our true selves and be encouraged to live in harmony with our Creator and with others."

-Dennis R. Edwards, dean of North Park Theological Seminary

"Beautifully written and clearly presented, Being God's Image takes the reader on a wonderful journey through Scripture. Carmen Imes clearly displays the wonder of being the creatures called to be God's image and bear his name, reminding us throughout what an amazing thing it is to be made in the image of God."

-Marc Cortez, professor of theology at Wheaton College and Graduate School

"Carmen Imes succeeds in working through a 'Bible from end to end' treatment of the notion of humans as God's image, and then takes the reader further by considering that notion in the larger context of creation as a whole. Being God's Image is thorough yet accessible, and readers will further benefit from the insightful, natural sidebars Imes sprinkles throughout the book. Never chiding, she deftly navigates common points of Christian division, and in doing so crafts a work of important biblical scholarship that will be of great benefit to a wide swath of Christian readers."

-Matt Whitman, creator and host of The Ten Minute Bible Hour

"The image of God is one of the most foundational ideas in the biblical story and in Christian faith. But it's a dense, multilayered concept with huge implications for how we understand humanity's role in the world and in relationship to God. Carmen Imes has given us an accessible and profound exploration of this most important biblical theme. She not only shows what this idea meant in its ancient biblical context but also how it leads into the story of Jesus and the mission of his followers still today."

-Tim Mackie, cofounder of the BibleProject

"Because of Carmen Imes's warm and inviting prose, readers might not initially realize what a biblical narrative tour de force they receive in this book. From Genesis to Revelation, creation to new...

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Featured Reviews

Carmen Imes is a true gift to the body of Christ. This book was a joy to read and Imes does a great job of tracing the idea of humanity being the image of God through the entire Bible. The image of God (Imago Dei) is a concept that is so theologically rich and holds so many immediate ethical and pastoral implications for us in our day-to-day lives. Imes summarizes the image as being both kinship (an inherent, dignified, capacity to relate to God) and kingship (an inherent calling to rule and steward God's creation). Throughout the book she walks through the image in Genesis through to Jesus being the ultimate image, and along the way spells out the implications in everything from racial justice to stewardship of the environment to sexual ethics. This book is the holistic treatment of both deep theology and practical application of the image.

The thing I appreciate most about Imes' work as a whole is that she writes in a way that takes such rich theological topics and Biblical themes and makes them accessible to anyone. In many ways, reading her books feels like watching a Bible Project video – so rich in information but incredibly engaging. I believe that many great discipleship conversations will be had walking through the content of this book and highly recommend giving this book a read.

Thank you to NetGalley and IVP Academic for the advanced copy, this is a book I have been waiting for many months to read and it was well worth it.

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Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well researched and great writing, just like Bearing God's Name. Carmen does a great job taking complex concepts and distilling them down in a way that the average lay person can follow along and understand what she is talking about. Being God's Image is such an important thread that goes all throughout the Bible and she did a phenomenal job of tracing that theme from Genesis all the way through Revelation. Taking a look at what Creation has to say about God's image, through the wisdom literature, and into the New Testament all the way through to the culmination of time. I'm not positive I agree with everything she talks about but loved her scholarship and writing. I will be buying a copy for myself when this is officially released to read through again more slowly. Thank you Carmen for another excellent volume!
Thanks to Net Galley for an advance reader copy in exchange for a review.

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Carmen Joy Imes is a gift to the Church and for that matter, anyone who wants to understand the Bible. Her first book, Bearing God's Name, was one of the best books I have read on the Old Testament. Being God's Image is every bit as good as her first book and an essential read for all who want to understand what it means to be truly human. Imes is a Biblical Theologian and her writing is anchored in obvious research and deep knowledge and passion for the Scriptures. The book is accessible and written in a way that communicates a love for God and compassion for people. The book is written in 3 Parts. Part 1 discusses the Creation narratives of Genesis and the place of humans in God's good creation. Imes draws out the beauty of the narrative that challenges the reader to see and hear the text as it was written. Part 2 looks at the place of Wisdom as a call for humans to respond to God's created order. The discussion of sexuality and pornography in this section alone is worth the price of the book. Part 3 looks at Jesus and the Church as the model what it means to be human. This book was recommended by J Richard Middleton and I am so glad I have read it. I have put "Being God's Image" on my list of most important books to read.

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In Being God’s Image Carmen Joy Imes is attempting to answer one of the main questions she received after she authored the previous title in this ‘series’: What is the difference between Bearing God’s Name (BGN) and Being God’s Image? Much like her previous book, Dr Imes does a great job of conveying this heady subject matter in manner which is easy to understand. One of my favorite things BGN did was provide a list of good books to read if you’d like to dig deeper into the topic was discussed in each chapter, and I was happy to see that this was included in this book, as well. Dr Imes takes the reader on a journey which explores the concepts such as the imago Dei, the divine council, environmental stewardship, and even the question of gender roles in the Bible. All of this builds together to eventually lead to a discussion of the new heavens and the new earth, and what that means for image bearers of the God of the universe. This book will undoubtedly challenge at least a few of the beliefs you’ve held onto without having questioned why you believe what you believe, but it will also build back up those beliefs with a more Christ-centered understanding.

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