Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Theodoret of Cyrus: Image of God - Dominion and Creation

Other commentators have claimed that humanity was made "in God's image" in the sense that it possess the ability to rule. Their clearest proof text is the command subsequent to the act of creation: "and let them rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the reptiles crawling on the earth." God who enjoys lordship of all things, gave the human being authority over all irrational beings.

In addition, one can discover other ways in which man imitates his archetype. In imitation of the Creator, man also creates houses, walls, cities, harbors, ships, dockyards, chariots, and countless other things, including likenesses of heaven, representations of the sun, moon, and stars, and images of people and brute beasts. Nonetheless, the difference in creating is infinite. The God of the universe creates from both the existent and the non-existent, and, without effort or lapse of time, puts his intention into effect as soon as he wills it. But a human being who sets out to make an object requires material, as well as tools, planning, consideration, time, effort, and the assistance of other trades. The builder requires a bronze smith, and the bronze smith a metallurgist and a charcoal maker, and all these require woodcutters, while woodcutters require planters and farmers; every trade borrows what it needs from the others. Yet creating even in this fashion, the human being to some extent imitates the Creator as an image its archetype; the image has the external appearance of its archetype, but not its capacity for action, since it lacks the soul, which moves the body.

- Theodoret of Cyrus (around A.D. 393 to around A.D. 457), Questions on the Octateuch, Question 20 on Genesis, p. 53 (2007), Robert C. Hill translator.