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Image of God in Man

Once perfected, the image of God in man was the representation of certain aspects of God which He endowed to created mankind. These special attributes allowed man to be in perfect fellowship with God in righteousness and holiness. After the fall of man, the image of God in people still exists; but it is perverted by the mask of sin over all humanity.

How does a right understanding of the image of God affect how we counsel others?

Personally, I think understanding that all people are created in the image of God is foundational to understanding how we relate to God, each other, and His creation. To me, the faith of the counselee is of the utmost importance as it helps them reconcile their situation in consideration of the Gospel. Although, both believers and non-believers should understand three basic relationships because they were created in the image of God. First, God's image in us demands that we seek and serve a higher authority. This means that positionally, we are created for a vertical relationship with God. IF a person is placing more emphasis on relationships outside of this primary cause, they will experience much spiritual instability in life. Secondly, the image of God in mankind places him in relationship with others like themselves. We were created to be in fellowship with other people. This communion is of utmost importance to a believer since it reflects their communion with God. This horizontal peer-to-peer relationship is set forth so that we show God's love to one another. Subsequently, if the primary relationship with God is severed or destroyed (by sin or unbelief), the secondary relationship to one's peers will undoubtedly reflect such a chasm. Lastly, the image of God in man has placed mankind over all creation (the source or origin may not be material to this discussion). One's belief or unbelief need not cloud the presentation of the truth of the image of God in us. The counsel to a believer will be to restore them to a proper relationship with God because of their faith...which includes proper worship of the Lord. Whereas the counsel to an unbeliever should bring them to a position of belief, or at least a choice to believe, as well as the understanding of their sin and the perversion of the perfect image of God in them.

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