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THE IMAGO DEI AS A WORK IN PROGRESS: A PERSPECTIVE FROM PALEOANTHROPOLOGY

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.”

Authors

  • Johan De Smedt,

  • Helen De Cruz


Abstract

This article considers the imago Dei from the perspective of paleoanthropology. We identify structural, functional, and relational elements of the imago Dei that emerged mosaically during human evolution. Humans are unique in their ability to relate to each other and to God, and in their membership of cultural communities where shared attention, the transmission of moral norms, and symbolic behavior are important elements. We discuss similarities between our approach and the concept of theosis adopted in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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