Volume 25, Issue 1, Spring 2020
Philosophical Turn Towards Religion
The Concept of Imago Dei as a Symbol of Religious Inclusion and Human Dignity
This article aims to examine how the concept of Imago Dei can serve as a symbol for the broadly understood idea of religious inclusion and human dignity. The article explores the concept of Imago Dei primarily from a protological perspective, analyzing its usage in biblical writings, theological tradition and modern philosophy. The substantial, relational and functional—which three usages of the concept can be found in the inclusive theology of Gregory of Nyssa—are analyzed in this article. Arguably, in the context of religious inclusion, the relational angle of Imago Dei seems to be the most important. Similarly contemporary Protestant theologian, Jürgen Moltmann states in his book, God in the Creation, that the “relational” concept of Imago Dei underscores the fundamental dignity of every person. In his book, God for Secular Society, Moltmann states that properly understood human rights should include democratic relationships between people, cooperation between societies, concern for the environment in which people live, and responsibility for future generations. From these perspectives, the concept of Imago Dei can be utilized as a symbol indicating the dignity of every person and human community, but also a symbol against any types of racism, nationalism or xenophobia.