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Martin Luther University College


In this article I use a comparative theology—engaging First Nation insights—to explore the imago Dei, and argue that this can only be affirmed by pairing it with the theme of imago mundi. I first review the imago Dei in dialogue with Genesis 1:26-27 before considering modern scholars’ various identifications of it. My point of departure is Luther, who identifies it as being without fear of death and being content with God’s favor, and as unique to homo sapiens. I propose that humans are also created in the image of the world. In concert with Indigenous thinkers, I note that we fall from this image in our loss of balance in life. This can be seen in Eliade’s treatment of the imago mundi. He reflects a common prejudice of ignoring liminality, which I consider under the motif of the skin and nakedness. In opposition to Agamben, whose treatment of nudity precludes nakedness as lost and irretrievable, I turn to Luther who described nakedness as our dependence on God and retrievable with eschatological proviso. Yet I contest Luther’s assertion that the human alone knows of this nakedness, and point to the earth and God in Christ both as “dressed” in this naked dependence. In summary I note the gift of a comparative theology in allowing theologians to embrace the twin gift of being same and different in the task of engaging our world with a measured humility.


Copyright © 2014 by Allen G. Jorgenson. Reproduced with kind permission from Canadian Theological Review and can be viewed at