The Vulnerable Image: On the Imago Dei

Kevin Hart
University of Virginia

The doctrine of the imago dei, based on the first account of creation in Genesis, was taken up in ontological terms by the early Church and the medieval Church. Alternative positions are available, most notably the functional sense of the imago dei and the relational sense of it. Even these, however, tend to regard the imago as largely invulnerable: it can always be saved by analogy or by appeals to a community. Is there a sense, however, in which the imago dei can be regarded as vulnerable? What concept of God must be in play for this to happen?