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Dignity and Destiny
Humanity in the Image of God
John F. Kilner
Buy the ebook: Kindle
PAPERBACK; Published: 1/8/2015
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6764-3
Price: $ 36.99
414 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Magisterial, up-to-date study of human beings in the image of God

Misunderstandings about what it means for humans to be created in God's image have wreaked devastation throughout history — for example, slavery in the U. S., genocide in Nazi Germany, and the demeaning of women everywhere.

In Dignity and Destiny John Kilner explores what the Bible itself teaches about humanity being in God's image. He discusses in detail all of the biblical references to the image of God, interacts extensively with other work on the topic, and documents how misunderstandings of it have been so problematic.

People made according to God's image, Kilner says, have a special connection with God and are intended to be a meaningful reflection of him. Because of sin, they don't actually reflect him very well, but Kilner shows why the popular idea that sin has damaged the image of God is mistaken. He also clarifies the biblical difference between being God's image (which Christ is) and being in God's image (which humans are). He explains how humanity's creation and renewal in God's image are central, respectively, to human dignity and destiny.

Locating Christ at the center of what God's image means, Kilner charts a constructive way forward and reflects on the tremendously liberating impact that a sound understanding of the image of God can have in the world today.

Read more from the author of this book on Eerdword.
Christianity Today Book Award in Theology/Ethics (2016)
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
"An important recent study of what it means to be created in/according to God's image. . . . Deserves a wide readership."
Theological Studies
"Anyone interested in theological anthropology, interpretations of imago Dei, or theological ethics would benefit from this text."
Bibliotheca Sacra
“This is an excellent treatment of an important, and often overlooked, theological concept. Kilner is thorough in his engagement with the biblical texts, comprehensive in his evaluation of the historical and contemporary literature, and practical and clear in his application to life and ministry. . . . Highly recommended for its content and as an example of excellent evangelical biblical and theological scholarship.”
Christine D. Pohl
— Asbury Theological Seminary
"John Kilner's comprehensive and engaging work brings fresh insight to a central but often misunderstood and misused concept. His careful biblical, theological, and moral reflection on being in the image of God is exceptional — a major contribution to the discussion."
Dennis P. Hollinger
— Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
"This masterful treatment of the image of God is not abstract theology removed from everyday reality; rather, as Kilner shows, what's at stake is human dignity in every sphere of life. A clear and cogently argued work that will become the major source for future explorations of the topic."
Sondra Wheeler
— Wesley Theological Seminary
"In this richly documented text John Kilner makes a case for the theological centrality and historical impact of the idea that humans are made in the image of God - for good but also for ill. . . . All readers will be enriched by Kilner's thoughtful argument and challenged by his exploration of the potency of an idea."
Scott B. Rae
— Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
"The most exhaustive study of the image of God of which I am aware. . . . I especially appreciate Kilner's Christological emphasis. . . . This will become the new standard reference work on the subject, particularly given its rich documentation throughout."
Brent Waters
— Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
"A masterful book on the important biblical concept of the imago Dei, which has too often received cursory treatment. The breadth and depth of Kilner's scholarship are impressive, and his carefully crafted work is simultaneously astute and engaging. . . . Students and theologians will be consulting his Dignity and Destiny for years to come."
Erin Dufault-Hunter
— Fuller Theological Seminary
"Kilner carefully demonstrates how theological convictions about the image of God matter profoundly for Christian life and witness. . . . Convincingly shows how poorly conceived or sloppy exegesis not only hampers an individual's love for God and others but also creates an ethos that reinforces broad injustices ranging from racism to disregard for those with disabilities."
Daniel R. Heimbach
— Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
"A well-analyzed, nicely written study of the single most important truth undergirding respect for human life. . . . Our society, including the church, has a spotty record dealing with moral challenges — racism, poverty, gender roles, abortion — which are skewed by distorted views of what it means for us to bear the image of God. Kilner's book gives a soundly biblical understanding that can address these shortcomings."
"Dignity and Destiny is a masterful treatment of the imago Dei doctrine. John Kilner, in this magnum opus, advances the discussion through careful historical and biblical research on one of the most significant and complicated areas in the history of theology."
Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability
"Readers of this book should expect to be challenged. They will likely recognize ways in which they themselves have spoken about the imago Dei — ways which turn out to be inadequate, inaccurate, and (in some cases) even harmful. If taken seriously, the argument of this book has potential to catalyze a major paradigm shift in how the church thinks about, speaks of, and acts in regard to the image of God — with powerful implications for its interactions with various marginalized groups, including persons with disabilities."
Books at a Glance
"A rich treatment of the theological doctrine of what it means for all humankind to be created in, and bear, the image of God. . . . Kilner has produced a very fine, scholarly work that is quite obviously well researched, will prominently stand out in the literature on the imago Dei, and will be a valuable asset for the church."
Fred Sanders
Christianity Today
"Kilner handles the doctrine of imago Dei in a way that has been badly needed. Carefully holding the doctrine to its foundations in Scripture, he painstakingly documents a host of unwarranted extrapolations that theologians and preachers have let themselves construct. What's left after his thorough work of demolition? Plenty. The way has been cleared for the doctrine of the image of God to help guide our thinking about human nature."
Midwest Book Review
"A powerful survey that will attract theologians and Christian readers interested in philosophical and spiritual reflection."