In the Christian religion, the Imago-Dei, a Latin word meaning “the Image of God” has been influenced by several definitions, 1. Physical similarities people have with God. 2. Describes people as God’s coequal in the universe. 3. Refers to the human’s status as created beings 4. People as representation of God on earth. There are several bible verses that deal and describe the Imago Dei or “the Image of God”, in Genesis, 1 Corinthians, James, in Psalm and in Ezekiel. Some influential theologians on the Image of God that have been significant in contributing to the doctrines of the imago-dei are Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Carl Barth. Each of this theologians, explain in though rough detail the how the Image of God exists in people.
Why is the Image of God important in healthcare? Well, we are all made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-27) tells us clearly that human beings are made in the image of God. Nursing in my own opinion, is a career with a special calling. It is a talent and a gift to use for the glory of God. God’s image is the foundational concept for understanding our purpose in life. According to Dr. Dough Heimburger, man made in the Image of God is an important piece to the puzzle for the practice of medicine.
This concept is important to understand and relevant in healthcare for many reasons, one very important issue that we have been facing in medicine for years, is the issue of abortion. In the science world the unborn child is referred to as “not fully human”, a potential human being” or “pre-human”. Well these descriptions are inconsistent with the presence of the image of God. According to scriptures and Christianity human beings are either alive or dead. The union of an egg and a sperm produce a person, a human being regardless of defects.
We encounter many issues in healthcare: marked deformities, mental retardation, brain damage, cancer, patients whose mind no longer function rationally or alcoholics or the lady infected with HIV by her unfaithful husband. As healthcare workers we either approach patients as persons and help them or we treat them as patients and then help them. If we approach people with a conscious attitude that they are created in the image of God and our knowledge and love for others, greatly enhances the treatment of the patient.