Eastern Orthodox/image & likeness


Dear, the "likeness and image" are this two words have the same meaning? from what i understand, Adam had a likeness of God until he broke the first commandment. I just couldn't understand the word "image". Thank you

Dear-in-Christ Berhane,

As used in Holy Scripture, these two words do have different meanings. We were created in His image, which means with those things endowed by God from the first moment of our existence (free will, reason, sense of moral responsibility, etc.). Holy Scripture makes an interesting distinction. Depending on the translation, it says "IN Our image, ACCORDING TO (or AFTER in other translations) Our likeness. Therefore one might say that "image" refers to potential and "likeness" refers to its realization. Orthodoxy generally teaches that Adam was not yet perfected, rather he was on the way to perfection, but fell short. He didn't quite get there. He lost the "likeness" but still has the "image", we still have the potential to reach perfection, but we cannot do it ourselves (despite what the humanists think).

Dostoyevski says that salvation is God's beauty applied to man. Christ fulfills that beauty, and when we "put on Christ" we are putting on that beauty and restoring the "likeness" through Christ.

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