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Are all people, including people born physical and mentally disabled, made in God's image?
Thank you for your deep question and honest spiritual enquiry about being made in the image of God. Clearly this is a sensitive matter and therefore it is important for us to know and understand what the Bible says on this matter.
To be made in God's ‘image’ or ‘likeness’ (Genesis 1:26) means that in some ways human nature is similar to God's nature. For example, when we read that God made man in His image...male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27) and when we read that the woman made from Adam's side is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh (Genesis 2:23), the image of God includes the loving relationship between male and female, the capacity for love, especially lifelong marital love.
Similarly, that Adam named the various animals made by God (Genesis 2:19-20) suggests that self-reflective and creative intelligence is included.
Also, the fact that The Man and The Woman walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden (as referenced in Genesis 3:8) suggests that their original moral purity is included, as is the spiritual capacity, or soul, in human nature.
You ask if physically and mentally disabled people also bear God's image. If you are thinking that such disabilities spoil the image of God in humankind, then I can assure you that biblically, that is not so. Rather, that was spoiled spiritually, when our first parents rebelled against God (Genesis 3:1-10) so that NONE OF US now fully bears the image of God as it originally existed in its spirituality and moral purity. And it should be recalled that none of us have any longer a perfect body and mind because in Adam all die (1 Corinthians 15:22).
Death is a constant process in us from birth because our cells are constantly dying and being replaced. The ageing process and in general, terminal illnesses, consist of this 'death process' accelerating fatally. So, we all have some kind of physical imperfection: it is sad but true that severe physical disabilities are only more obvious ones.
Similarly, all of us have fallen minds which are darkened in their understanding (Ephesians 4:18). Levels of intelligence also vary, as school reports and exam results show us. In spite of any mental or physical disability, all of us still have the distinctive capacity to love and usually to think somewhat reflectively, which is part of the image of God.
One day God will redeem and restore the whole of creation. Indeed, as Paul writes, creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now (Romans 8:21-22).
Humanity is not at the mercy of these things if, through Christ, we seek the mercy of the Sovereign Lord Almighty.
In summary, Mankind was created by God to reflect aspects of His character and attributes; Sin has affected the whole of the created world; God has complete authority over life and death. Turn to him through Jesus as your Lord and Saviour so that his authority can be on you today.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- Exodus 36:4
- Deuteronomy 32:39
- Romans 8:23
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The New King James Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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