Whether on the printed page, the television screen or the digital app, we live in a world saturated with images. Some images help shape our understanding of ourselves and the world around us in positive ways, while others lead us astray and distort our relationships. Christians confess that human beings have been created in the image of God, yet we chose to rebel against tWhether on the printed page, the television screen or the digital app, we live in a world saturated with images. Some images help shape our understanding of ourselves and the world around us in positive ways, while others lead us astray and distort our relationships. Christians confess that human beings have been created in the image of God, yet we chose to rebel against that God and so became unfaithful bearers of God's image. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus, who is the image of God, restores the divine image in us, partially now and fully in the day to come. The essays collected inThe Image of God in an Image Driven Age explore the intersection of theology and culture. With topics ranging across biblical exegesis, the art gallery, Cormac McCarthy, racism, sexuality and theosis, the contributors to this volume offer a unified vision--ecumenical in nature and catholic in spirit--of what it means to be truly human and created in the divine image in the world today. This collection from the 2015 Wheaton Theology Conference includes contributions by Daniela C. Augustine, Craig L. Blomberg, William A. Dyrness, Timothy R. Gaines and Shawna Songer Gaines, Phillip Jenkins, Beth Felker Jones, Christina Bieber Lake, Catherine McDowell, Ian A. McFarland, Matthew J. Milliner, Soong-Chan Rah and Janet Soskice, as well as original poems by Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner and Brett Foster....
|Title||:||The Image of God in an Image Driven Age: Explorations in Theological Anthropology|
|Number of Pages||:||272 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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The Image of God in an Image Driven Age: Explorations in Theological Anthropology Reviews
We are bombarded by images daily. They come to us through television, social media, and other online platforms (i.e. BuzzFeed slide shows about has-been celebrities—you'll never believe what they look like now!). The current format of our image drivenness may be new, but images are not. Images shape our self understanding and our perceptions of the world. Each person is also an image. Enshrined in Christian theology is the idea of that humankind itself is made in the image of God. 9780830851201The Wheaton Theology Conference brings together, each year, an impressive array of scholars to probe a theological theme from different angles and academic disciplines. The 2015 conference was entitled The Image of God in an Image Driven Age and explored the topic of theological anthropology through the lenses of Canon, Culture, Vision, and Witness. IVP Academic published essays delivered from the conference (March 2016), under the same title: The Image of God in an Image Driven Age with an introduction and epilogue from editors Beth Felker Jones and Jeffrey Barbeau. What I have appreciated about past publications from the conference is the breadth of scholarship represented. This is no exception. Featured in this volume are poets, theologians, an art historians, professors of English and literature, a historian, pastors and biblical scholars. It is also worth noting that while academic theology tends too often to be a white male discipline, seven of the sixteen contributors are female and three of the contributors to this volume are scholars of color, though the conference also had a presentation from theologian Willie James Jennings not replicated here (I'm not sure why his talk was omitted).After an introduction from Felker Jones and Barbeau, two poems introduce this collection (one from Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, and one from Brett Foster). The essays are divided into four sections, each considering the implications of the image of God from different angles. In part one, Catherine McDowell, William Dyrness and Craig Blomberg consider what the biblical material tells us about what it means that humankind is created in God's image. McDowell surveys the way theologians past and present have understood image bearing—spiritually or mentally, corporeality, capacity for relationship or royal representative (30-34). She examines the concepts of image and likeness in the Bible (particularly the Genesis passages) and the Ancient Near East arguing that the concept of sonship is inherit in the idea of image bearing. Dyrness discusses the nature of image-bearing in a fallen world, where the trajectory of life and the trajectory of death are both at work in humankind. Blomberg extends the canonical lens by examining what light the New Testament sheds on the Image Dei. He argues that implicit in image bearing is showcasing God's glory through holy living. Timothy Gaines and Shawna Songer Gaines, Matthew Milliner and Christina Bieber Lake look the Image of God through the cultural lens. The Gaineses examine how sexual sin can distort our understanding of what it means to be created in God's image, but conversely a biblical perspective of sexuality as 'God's good gift' reveals God's good intent for humanity and contributes to the construction of the self (16, 106). Milliner's essay sings the praise of iconoclasm throughout the Christian tradition (in Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant guises). While humanity images its Creator, not all of human's images are good or healthy, especially in our consumer, capitalist age. A healthy dose of Christian iconoclasm (in and through the Arts) showcases a way to resist the spirit of the age, "God's people are called to resist our image-driven age because God loves the images—us—who are caught up within it. He calls us to break free of all our counterfeit images and be restored to his own true image" (135). Lake takes on ride down Cormac McCarthy's dystopia, The Road, revealing how God's image persists through darkness and despair. She encourages us to engage contemporary literature, not as God forsaken, but Christ haunted (152). Part three explores vision, or "the Christian idea of Christ as the icon of God" and the implications for what that means for the church (17). Ian McFarland commends the Eastern Orthodox theology of the icon to Western Christians, encouraging us to see in human persons the possibility of an encounter with the Divine (172). Daniela C. Augustine continues to draw insight from the Christian East, exploring the concept of intercessory prayer as a way to make space and offering unconditional hospitality for the other (180). In this way the church itself becomes an icon of the Holy Trinity (186-188). Janet Soskice examines the implications of Image bearing for ethics, positing that the Creative God who spoke worlds into being also invites us towards creative address (we image God as we learn to speak.Part four explores the implications of the Imago Dei for our Christian Witness. Soong Chan Rah describes the way the image of God has been racialized in the West, as Christians of color have been encouraged to conform to a white, evangelical image of God. His essay suggests a more diverse and richer picture of the image of God which showcases our mutual image bearing across racial and cultural lines. Felker Jones discusses how our theology of the Image of God helps us resist the commodification of human persons. Historian Phillip Jenkins describes a 'storm of images' showing us how our understanding of being made in God's image is enriched by historical and global understandings. The essays in this volume are brief but suggestive, each could be unpacked in greater detail in monograph length treatments. However there is enough here to provoke serious reflection on what it means for us to be created in God's image. I am glad that the organizers of this conference (and publication) made a serious effort to incorporate the arts into their presentation of the Imago Dei. This volume is all the richer for it. Milliners essay, in particular, discusses how Christians in the arts both image the world and destroy false images. I give this book four stars and recommend it to anyone who interested in tracing out the implications of theological anthropology. Our humanity is stamped with the image of God which affects our self understanding, our hospitality of others, our ethics, our sexuality, our appreciation of the arts and our Christian witness. Note: I received this book from IVP Academic in exchange for my honest review.
Summary: A collection of papers from the 2015 Wheaton Theology Conference focusing on how our understanding of "the image of God" shapes our understanding of what it means to be human, and how we ought perceive the images that pervade our lives.The subtitle of this collection of papers from the 2015 Wheaton Theology Conference is "explorations in theological anthropology." In other words, the thread that unites the essays in this collection is the exploration of what it means to be human, particularly in relationship to God. In particular, this is a wide-ranging, and yet, taken together, coherent collection of papers exploring what it means to say that human beings are made in the image of God. Although called a theology conference, the contributors are drawn from theology, English literature, history, and art.The papers, grouped in threes are organized around four topics: canon, culture, vision, and witness.*Canon particularly explores how biblical themes inform our understanding of imago dei. Catherine McDowell focusing on creation and how we are God's "kin" or children. William Dyrness on the Fall and the tension that exists between trajectories of life and death. Craig Blomberg considers the New Testament witness and particularly the understanding of the image of God as Christlikeness, reflectors of Christ's glory.*Culture explores the connections between the idea of image, theology, and the arts. Timothy Gaines and Shawna Songer Gaines consider human sexuality, our sexualized culture, and how many works of Renaissance religious art, in portraying the naked human form portrayed human sexuality as a good gift of God. Matthew J. Milliner explores consumerist issues and how artists have often engaged in iconoclasm, in breaking false images, and the unique role Christians in the arts may play. Christina Bieber Lake, in exploring the persistence of the image of God amid the suffer in Cormac McCarthy's The Road--an exploration that left me wanting to read this work.*Vision explores the incarnation of Jesus as an icon of God, enabling us to see something of God. Ian McFarland explores the Eastern Orthodox theology of icons. Daniela Augustine discusses the work of the Spirit in transforming those who are in the image of God to grow into the likeness of God. Janet Soskice considers Jesus as the one through whom God spoke the world into existence and that our own capacities for speech image the speaking God.*Witness explores how Christians proclaim (or fail to proclaim) the Triune God. Soong-Chan Rah, in a particularly trenchant essay, explores the sad racial history of black and white in the U.S. and how the image of God has been construed in terms of "whiteness." Beth Felker Jones attests to the power of Christian witness to the image of God to resist the commodification, sexual and otherwise, of human beings. Philip Jenkins reminds us of the global character of Christianity and prepares us for the new cultural expressions of peoples in the image of God.Some conference proceedings collections seem lacking in cohesion. This collection, while reflecting diverse perspectives, offered, I thought, a coherent, yet multi-faceted exploration of the wonder of what it means to be humans in the image of God. The engagement with the arts, literature, and mass culture fulfills the promise of addressing our image driven age. The recognition of the image of God and the racial blinders that limit our vision of that image is a vital contribution to a broader theological anthropology.
What does it mean for humankind to be created in the image of God? Are there ways this should play out in our social, inter-racial, and marital relationships? Is there anything restorative and health-giving for the battered, abused and molested in knowing that they are in the image of God? Many of these questions, and more, are tackled in a new 272 page paperback anthology, “The Image of God in an Image Driven Age: Explorations in Theological Anthropology.” This compilation is edited by Beth Felker Jones, associate professor of theology at Wheaton College, and Jeffrey W. Barbeau, associate professor of theology in the Graduate School at Wheaton College. It is a collection of twelve essays are drawn from the 2015 Wheaton Theology Conference, and are penned by authors across the ecclesiastical-theological-racial-gender spectrum. These papers, pulled together, offer a “unified collection of essays – ecumenical in nature and catholic in spirit – exploring what it means to be truly human and created in the divine image in the world today” (12-3). It is published for a wide audience to include theologians, pastors, parachurch workers, theological students. The eye-catching cover art is drawn from David J. P. Hooker’s “Corpus” which is a cross-less, crucified Christ. The volume covers four major categories: canon, culture, vision and witness; with three articles under each subject. The first section discusses what it means when the Scriptures posit that humankind is made in the image of God. Is being in God’s image referring to reason, priestly function, relationship with God and others, or is there some kind of blending of all three? The first and third articles draw deeply from Scripture and presenting their point; while the second leaves much wanting. Altogether, though, these three pieces leave the reader with a deeper and fuller sense of our identity as humans.The second segment takes on imaging in our culture, looking at sexuality, advertising and consumerism, and concludes with a superb analysis of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” This was a fun section, delving and dabbling into areas a reader might have anticipated, but also moving beyond anticipation into a richer perspective. The final chapter gave me quite a pleasure, as the author worked through McCarthy through the lens of Job. All told, these three commentaries provide a wonderful set of tools for examining cultural myths of image.Then comes the next division the looks into seeing, or vision. If Christ is the Icon of God, then we are to understand the significance of “face” and to reject both a materialism that defines humankind only as bodies, and the gnostic trend that devaluates human bodies. This launches us into our vocation, as those united to Christ, of being image-bearers and moving along lines of hospitality toward others created in God’s image and bearing his likeness. And image-bearing hospitality employs speech, and is wrapped up in a community of speech.Finally, all of this swells up into the last bit, that of witness. This section felt like a pendulum swing. The opening chapter jumped into racism and felt like an explosion from the first sentence. It was difficult to tell if the writer was simply passionate or throwing our hot accusations. The next chapter then explored the place of show-and-tell; to speak the truth of every human’s worth and resist the cultural commodification of people: buying, selling, using and discarding humans for the sake of gratification! The final piece climaxed with a thoughtful presentation on how the faith and the gospel crosses cultural borders and translates the doctrine of the image of God into different societies. The author searches out different ways this may look, sound, taste and feel.“The Image of God in an Image Driven Age” is a thought-provoking, stimulating communiqué announcing the importance and value of being made in the image of God. This volume would make a great addition to a Bible College or seminary class on anthropology. It could easily be used in worldview studies, and book-discussion groups. It is a book worth reading and passing along!Thanks to IVP Academic for providing, upon my request, the free copy of “The Image of God in an Image Driven Age” used for this review. The assessments are mine given without restrictions or requirements (as per Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255).