Klaas Schilder on the Imago Dei

Schilder sees man’s creation as the pre-condition for the image, but not the image itself (Berkouwer 54).  The actual image lies in the officium created man receives (I don’t think this is the full picture, but there is some truth to this, especially if we connect the imago dei with man’s dominion, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism hints at).

  • Thus, the image is dynamic and is rooted in the Covenantal God’s Relation with man.
  • the word “image” implies “making visible.”
  • Schilder resists any abstracting the image.
  • The glory of the image shines forth in service to God (56).

There is much good with Schilder’s take. I have several concerns: The danger with Schilder’s approach is that it makes the image too “dynamic” with an emphasis on conformitas.  It is not a hard push from here to Arminianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Eastern Orthodoxy.  Further, the narrative does not seem to make the distinction on pre-conditions that Schilder does.  Perhaps it could work if one argues that God’s act of creating is not itself the image of God.  That is certainly true enough.



2 comments on “Klaas Schilder on the Imago Dei

  1. An Orthodox blogger I follow happened to address this same issue today.

    “In the Image of God”

    • He gives a good summary of the Fathers’ positions. The Louth quote was really good (and I have two Louth books in interlibrary loan coming in, Lord willing). Louth is absolutely correct that limiting the imago dei to “being rational” is problematic. I quibble with what he means by “Participating in the Logos.”

      And his talk about to kat’eikon as having a relationship with the Word is really good. It echoes a lot of Dutch Reformed thinking.

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