An Embodied Imago Dei

How Herman Bavinck’s Understanding of the Image of God Can Help Inform Conversations on Race

in Journal of Reformed Theology
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This paper argues that Herman Bavinck’s understanding of the Imago Dei is an important resource in conversations on race. While Bavinck does not specifically discuss racial differences within the context of the Imago Dei, his theology provides valuable resources for constructive conversations on race and diversity. Bavinck’s rejection of unilateral conceptions of the Imago Dei, alongside his understanding of the whole person as the image of God, leads to an affirmation of the spiritual and physical aspects of humanity. Bavinck’s view, a necessarily embodied understanding, has an explicit bearing on our understanding of the body as well as our understanding of social relationships. The particularity and universality of humanity, grounded in Bavinck’s understanding of the Imago Dei, presents a means of holding together an affirmation of the uniqueness and value of racial identity alongside of the deep unity that exists amongst humanity that transcends race.

An Embodied Imago Dei

How Herman Bavinck’s Understanding of the Image of God Can Help Inform Conversations on Race

in Journal of Reformed Theology

References

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EglintonTrinity and Organism68–69. Eglinton discusses his understanding of the “organic” relationship in The Christian Worldview; this unity and diversity is founded on the trinity: “there is a most profuse diversity and yet in that diversity there is also a superlative kind of unity. The foundation for both diversity and unity is in God … here is a unity that does not destroy but rather maintains diversity and a diversity that does not come at the expense of unity but rather unfolds it in its riches. In virtue of this unity the world can metaphorically be called an organism in which all the parts are connected with each other and influence each other reciprocally.” Bavinck Reformed Dogmatics II 435–436.

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