Wednesday, December 29, 2021

But which god?

In many religions, man is regarded as an image of a god. Yet the meaning of such regard depends on the meaning of the god whom man resembles. If the god is regarded as a man magnified, if the gods are conceived of in the image of man, then such regard tells us little about the nature and destiny of man. Where God is one among many gods, where the word “divine” is used as mere hyperbolic expression, where the difference between God and man is but a difference in degree, then an expression such as “the divine image of man” is equal in meaning to the idea of the supreme in man. It is only in the light of what the biblical man thinks of God—namely, a Being who created heaven and earth, the God of justice and compassion, the master of nature and history who transcends nature and history—that the idea of man having been created in the image of God refers to the supreme mystery of man, of his nature and existence.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 368

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