What does it mean?
Modern atheistic scientists tell us that humans are in an unimportant species, found on an insignificant planet in an obscure part of the cosmos. On this approach what are the implications for a single human life?
However this is not what the bible says nor what Christians believe.
Wikipedia definition of 'image'
¨An image is a visual representation of something. An image can be a two-dimensional representation, such as a drawing, painting, or photograph, or a three-dimensional object, such as a carving or sculpture.
Here is the first mention in scripture of the phrase 'made in the image of God';
Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
There is no clear consensus between theologians and philosophers on what the image of God (or its theological term ‘Imago dei’) might mean.
Learned scholars of diverse types think the meaning of 'made in the image of God' might include:
1. Humans are like God in that we are spiritual and rational beings and exercise free-will choices.
2. Humans are like God in being able to form complex relationships.
3. Humans are like God in being able to perform functions e.g. managing the planet and its resources which in some way represent God on earth.
All three views have their strengths and weaknesses but together might partly reflect the diverse ways that humans reflect the image of God.
However we can get get a much clearer explanation of 'made in the image of God' by turning to scripture. Most times we find that it is best to let scripture interpret scripture (see part 2 of this study to see what the bible says about 'made in the image of God').