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Created in God's Image [Paperback]

Anthony A. Hoekema

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Book Description

1 Oct 1994
ccording to Scripture, humankind was created in the image of God. Hoekema discusses the implications of this theme, devoting several chapters to the biblical teaching on God's image, the teaching of philosophers and theologians through the ages, and his own theological analysis. Suitable for seminary-level anthropology courses, yet accessible to educated laypeople. Extensive bibliography, fully indexed.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Paternoster Press; New edition edition (1 Oct 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0853646260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0853646266
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,307,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of the doctrine of man. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice book on the question of the Image of God 18 Oct 2003
By Seth Aaron Lowry - Published on Amazon.com
Anthony Hoekema does an admirable job of explaining and defending a biblical view of man by arguing that man is both a creature and a person. Man is a creature in the sense that he is totally dependent on God for everything he has and is, but man is also a person who has freedom and can make choices. Thus in Hoekema's words man is a created person and herein lies the central mystery of biblical anthropology. How can man be both a created person when supporting one aspect of man's being virtually eliminates any support for the other aspect. I think this is the primary concern that drives Hoekema's work and it is one that he think he deals with admirably in the book.
I liked how Hoekema showed from biblical exegesis that the image of God is retained in man, although damaged, and is not destroyed. This is one area of belief where most Reformed theologians are either oppossed to Hoekema or utterly inconsistent. Hoekema argues from Scripture and demonstrates how the view of Berkouwer that God's image in man is gone and is only said to be there as a possibility is wrong. Furthermore, he shows how John Calvin was inconsistent on this question at one point saying the image is destroyed and at another saying the image of God is present in man in some capacity and this is why we should love all men. Moreover, I like how Hoekema dealt with the views of other great Christian thinkers like Ireneaus, Aquinas, and Barth on the question. Furthermore, I really enjoyed Hoekema's argument that man is a psycho-psomatic unity and is composed of both a body and a soul. I think Hoekema illustrates why the view of man as trichotomy of body, soul and spirit is unwarranted. Hoekema argues that soul and spirit are virtual synonyms in the Bible and I believe he is correct. Lastly, I enjoyed Hoekema's treatment of the subject of man's self-image. I think that this was an interesting and stimulation chapter in the book.
The were a few areas where I thought the book was weak, but I think this was caused more by confusing argumentation than by poor reasoning or exegesis. I wish Hoekema would have gone deeper into the question of how God is totally sovereign in salvation, but yet man still must respond in faith. Since Hoekema lies squarely within the traditional Reformed camp and seems to espouse the view that regeneration proceeds faith, I don't see one can argue that it is man's responsibility to respond in faith since this only happens in the spiritually revived. Also, I think the doctrine of common grace is one with little scriptural support. Now, I don't deny that such grace may exist, but I think the Reformed distinction between common and irresistible or sufficient and efficient graces is one that is not directly supported by the Bible. In fact, such a notion seems to be more a necessary construct of Reformed theology than it is a valid component of Scripture.
All in all, Hoekema's book is an excellent discussion on the question of the image of God in mankind. Hoekema states his point by using, Scripture, exegesis, and some Greek word studies. Although there are few elements that detract from the overall quality of this work it is still an excellent piece of literature and an nice defense of modern Reformed scholarship on the issue.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read for Christian Anthropology 1 May 2002
By Roy Massie - Published on Amazon.com
I am a theology/apologetics student and this is one of the books we recently read for our Systematic Theology II class. Hoekema has a great writing style that is suitable for a wide audience. He definitely writes from the Reformed perspective but does not interpret as figuratively as Berkhof for example (but more so than Ladd). He rarely, if ever, cites confessions or creeds to support his position. He does quote other theologians extensively and fairly. Generally sound reasoning from the scriptures with minimal speculating.
The early part of the book has a useful Historical Survey of various theologians (Aquinas, Calvin, Barth, others) and their view on man in the image of God. Hoekema is fair and looks for the good points in various views as well as kindly pointing out errors.
Later in the book he shows he is his own thoelogian by critquing both the trichotomy (soul and spirit distinct) and dichotomy (soul and spirit inseparable) views of the constitution of man. Hoekema argues for man as a whole (body-soul-spirit) integrated person and encourages us to share the gospel of Christ(the perfect image bearer) in a manner respecting this proper view of our fellow man, who, though fallen like all of us, also reflects some aspects of God's image (James 3:9).
Pretty extensive bibliography, subject, name and scripture indexes; what you expect of a true theology text.
A good and edifying read. God blessed us with an excellent teacher in Hoekema (who is now with the Lord). I would like to read another of his works sometime. John 15:5
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Christian anthropology 3 Sep 2001
By Cees van Barneveldt - Published on Amazon.com
"Created in God's Image" is the second in a series of doctrinal studies by the late Anthony Hoekema, professor of systematic theology at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. This book is a standard work dealing with Christian anthropology, or doctrine about the nature and destiny of human beings from a Biblical perspective. The theological standpoint represented in this book is that of evangelical Christianity from a Reformed or Calvinistic perspective.
I think it is a marvelous book, it is also very readable for the layman. This book gives the reader a very clear and complete view about what the Bible teaches about the image of God, the origin and spread of sin and the restoration of the image of God by the Holy Spirit. One of the strong points of this book is that it follows the Scripture so closely. The explanation of the various texts is balanced and sober.
The author takes classical Reformed positions in matters of the origin of sin (a historical fall, by a historical Adam), total depravity after the fall and the possession of a free will ("Man lost the ability to live in total obedience of God"). I had questions however about certain interpretations, e.g. Romans 7:13-26. The author presumes that Paul is dealing with the unregenerate in this passage, however the interpretation that this passage is dealing with the regenerate is very popular within Reformed Christianity, e.g. Bavinck. It appears to me that the apostle Paul in this passage includes himself in the present tense. The author could have said more about the struggle with sin within the life of the regenerate.
There are places where the author betrays a Dutch bias in dealing with various theological positions, such as were he deals with synodical discussions in the Netherlands about common grace and the speaking of the snake in Paradise. There is a very strong chapter about a typical American topic: self esteem. The author does not like this term, because satisfaction with himself without God's grace is not the relationship a Christion ought to have with himself. A believer should see himself as a new creation in Jesus Christ.
I think this book is a must-read for every student of theology and can also recommend it to every layperson with an interest in systematic theology.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Primer on Reformed Anthropology! 14 Aug 2009
By Carl Gobelman - Published on Amazon.com
In my quest to learn more about the Reformed tradition, I have been reading (slowly it seems) books by by Reformed authors dealing with the finer points of theology from a Reformed perspective. My latest literary conquest was Anthony Hoekema's book Created in God's Image (1986 Eerdmans). This is part of a three volume set on Reformed theology by Hoekema (the other two volumes being Saved By Grace and The Bible and the Future dealing respectively with the Reformed position on the doctrines of soteriology and eschatology). This volume treats the doctrine of Biblical anthropology -- or what the Bible says about mankind.

When it comes to Christian doctrines, anthropology does not rank very high on the list. Eschatology probably tops the list due in large part to the fact that is deals with end time events. This doctrine has been so sensationalized of late with Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth and LaHaye & Jenkin's Left Behind series. People never seem to lose fascination with future events. Following close behind is soteriology, or the doctrine of salvation. This is understandable considering that it deals with the gospel and how one is saved. Anthropology is different because it carries neither the centrality of soteriology nor the appeal of eschatology, but it is an important doctrine nonetheless.

One of the central pillars of Reformed Theology is Total Depravity (the first 'petal' in TULIP, an acronym that serves as a mnemonic for the distinctive features of Reformed Theology. Total Depravity is the doctrine that man is completely incapable of earning salvation based on his good works. Moreover, it is the doctrine that teaches mankind is not even really interested in pursuing a saving relationship with God. Total Depravity is a result of the fall in which the nature of man was irrevocably changed. The image of God in which we were created (Genesis 1:27) was marred beyond recognition so much so that we do not relate to God as we ought, nor do we relate to our fallow man as we ought. Total Depravity is an essential element in a Biblical anthropology. Furthermore, a proper understanding of the perfection of God's holiness and the depth of our sinfulness is also essential to a Biblical anthropology.

In this book, the late Dr. Hoekema lays out in great detail a Biblical anthropology. He spends a bit of time laying the foundation of the importance of anthropology (the doctrine of man). He also talks about man as a created person, and what that means (chapter 2). This isn't trivial as it plays an important role in our relationship with God. The next three chapters (3, 4, & 5) discuss to some length what it means to be created in the image of God. Chapter 3 traces the Biblical teaching of this truth; whereas in chapter 4, Dr. Hoekema gives a brief historical survey of being created in God's image by discussing the views of Irenaeus, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, and G.C. Berkouwer. Chapter 5 closes the section on being created in God's image by giving a theological summary of this teaching.

Dr. Hoekema then spends a considerable amount of space in the book talking about sin: Its origin, spread, nature and restraint. Chapters on the whole person and human freedom round out the books contents.

The book has a copious amount of footnotes which are included on the pages in which they're found (I find this aids in the flow of reading as you can easily check the references without having to turn to the end of the book or chapter). There is also a subjects index, an index of proper names and a Scripture index. This is easily the most thorough treatment on Biblical anthropology that I have read. Dr. Hoekema's writing style is readable, if dry and technical in parts. He brought to light many nuances of this doctrine with which I was not aware. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about Biblical anthropology from a Reformed perspective.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book for every Christian 19 Jun 2003
By Brian K. Reid - Published on Amazon.com
While attending Bible college, I took a class called "Biblical View of Persons." One of the many books we read for this class was "Created In God's Image." From the first to the last chapter I was totally subdued and challenged. It truly gave me many things to think about and study even more. One of the more challenging chapters was chapter 3 that focused on "The Image of God: Biblical Teaching." This caused me to have many questions as far as interpretation of the passages he looks at from the OT. The topic of man losing the image and/or likeness of God was quite reeling and forced mew to think more on the subject than maybe I had previously thought. My second challenge in this book was in chapter 6 with "The Question of the Self-Image." he brought out things that I had thought of before but muffled and I must say I feel he was right on target. His point about the three-fold relationship - to God, others and nature - really being four - to himself - is ideal. I could not agree with Hoekema more when he states that the relationship to himself is not alongside the other three, but underlies the other three. His definition of self-love and self-esteem are right on target and I must agree with him that the term "self-image" is much more suitable.
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