Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


God’s Image in Man’s Upright Posture

posted by David Klinghoffer
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We’ve discussed before the question of what constitutes the “image of God” inscribed in the human body. The issue came up in the context of devotees of theistic evolution like Francis Collins or Kenneth Miller who say there’s no problem for their Biblical faith in thinking God relied on a chance-driven evolutionary process to produce a creature He could relate to as in fact He does to man. This chancy, highly contingent process, described by Darwin, was bound to converge on some intelligent being, but it could have been a squid, a dinosaur, or some other unimagined monster. That would have been just fine with God. 

So goes the theistic evolutionary thesis.
I’ve argued that Biblical tradition pretty conclusively indicates that in shaping life’s history, God had in mind a particular creature — us — and this is indicated by the enigmatic Scriptural phrase “image of God,” a quality that we somehow carry with us. I did not suggest how the human face, or hands and feet, reflect this image, because I’m not sure how exactly that works. It is much easier to say how our posture, unique in the world of creatures, bears witness to our human mission on earth.
The Maharal, who lived in the 16th century (that’s him pictured above), defines the Godly “image” (tzelem), at least in part, as residing in our standing and walking erect. This is the same Rabbi Judah Lowe of Prague (Maharal is an acronym) credited in Jewish lore with creating the Golem. He discusses the question in his book Be’er ha’Golah, among other places, explaining that it is because of man’s having been granted kingship over this lower world in which live that animals walk crouched over, to one degree or another, while humans uniquely stand up straight: 

Man stands upright, straight, like a pillar that is upright, which is not the case with any other being, as none of them stand up straight but rather all walk hunched over. And this is an indication of the [exalted] level of man, for man is king over the lower plane of existence, and all serve him….This is called the “image of God.”

Needless to say, neither an octopus nor a dinosaur, however brainy, would fit this criterion. And isn’t it interesting that the same folks who most fervently deny the divine image in man also deny our special deputized role in God’s world, as of course they deny God altogether. Peter Singer would be a handy illustration.


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D J Wray

posted December 5, 2009 at 12:02 am


If you believe in the theory of evolution, many of our ancestors also had an upright posture, such as Homo habilis and Homo erectus. I believe in theory theory of evolution but I also believe that it is only a very small part of a much bigger picture.
D J Wray
http://www.atotalawareness.com
“Packaged Evolution – The next and best theory”



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Your Name

posted December 5, 2009 at 11:56 pm


A verticle line, has an undefined slope. This means that oit approaches infinity. So our verticel posture approaches the infinite. That’s my take on the subject.



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Anderson

posted December 7, 2009 at 10:16 am


Are emperor penguins also created in God’s image then?



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Mark2

posted December 7, 2009 at 3:21 pm


Anderson’s question is definitely fair. It could’ve been asked much more snarkily. :-) Perhaps when Klinghoffer wrote, “animals walk crouched over, to one degree or another, while humans uniquely stand up straight”, he was thinking that emperor penguins crouch over to the minimum degree.



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Gil

posted December 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm


We are very similar to other animal forms. The one distinguishing characteristic which makes us “in G-d’s image” is INTELLECT. The power to speak, write, read, and record our history, and to use logic. No other animal form has all traits and potentials. Walking erect has many draw backs [pun intended] – consult with any orthopedic specialist.



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Gil

posted December 10, 2009 at 12:17 pm


We are very similar to other animal forms. The one distinguishing characteristic which makes us “in G-d’s image” is INTELLECT. The power to speak, write, read, and record our history, and to use logic. No other animal form has all traits and potentials. Walking erect has many draw backs [pun intended] – consult with any orthopedic specialist.



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SaintStephen

posted December 11, 2009 at 1:17 am


A review of David’s thoughtful essay can be found here:
http://tinyurl.com/KlingDavidSpeaks



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Posture

posted July 19, 2013 at 3:23 am


Is there anything more divine than beautiful posture? I think not. Great post!



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