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with Helen De Cruz and Yves De Maeseneer, “The Imago Dei: Evolutionary and Theological Perspectives”; Aku Visala, “Imago Dei, Dualism, and Evolution: A Philosophical Defense of the Structural Image of God”; Olli-Pekka Vainio, “Imago Dei and Human Rationality”; Johan De Smedt and Helen De Cruz, “The Imago Dei as a Work in Progress: A Perspective from Paleoanthropology”; Tom Uytterhoeven, “Co-creating Co-creators? The “Human Factor” in Education”, Johan De Tavernier, “Morality and Nature: Evolutionary Challenges to Christian Ethics”; and Taede Smedes, “Emil Brunner Revisited: On the Cognitive Science of Religion, the Imago Dei, and Revelation”


  • Olli-Pekka Vainio


There is a pervasive trend in Western theology to identify imago Dei with human intellectual and cognitive capacities. However, several contemporary theologians have criticized this view because, according to the critics, it leads to a truncated view of humanity. In this article, I shall concentrate on the question of rationality, first, through theologies of Thomas Aquinas and contemporary Lutheran Robert Jenson, and second, in some branches of recent cognitive psychology. I will argue that there is a significant overlap between contemporary scientific interpretations of rationality and both a traditional Thomistic view and a contemporary ecumenical interpretation of imago Dei. Consequently, it is possible to give an account of imago Dei which takes structural features as central and which is in accord with contemporary science, without falling prey to the dangers that the critics of structuralism point out.