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Chapter 16.—How the Image of God is Formed Anew in Man.

22. But those who, by being reminded, are turned to the Lord from that deformity whereby they were through worldly lusts conformed to this world, are formed anew from the world, when they hearken to the apostle, saying, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye formed again in the renewing of your mind;” 906 that that image may begin to be formed again by Him by whom it had been formed at first. For that image cannot form itself again, as it could deform itself. He says again elsewhere: “Be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put ye on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 907 That which is meant by “created after God,” is expressed in another place by “after the image of God.” 908 But it lost righteousness and true holiness by sinning, through which that image became defaced and tarnished; and this it recovers when it is formed again and renewed. But when he says, “In the spirit of your mind,” he does not intend to be understood of two things, as though mind were one, and the spirit of the mind another; but he speaks thus, because all mind is spirit, but all spirit is not mind. For there is a Spirit also that is God, 909 which cannot be renewed, because it cannot grow old. And we speak also of a spirit in man distinct from the mind, to which spirit belong the images that are formed after the likeness of bodies; and of this the apostle speaks to the Corinthians, where he says, “But if I shall have prayed with a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.” 910 For he speaks thus, when that which is said is not understood; since it cannot even be said, unless the images of the corporeal articulate sounds anticipate the oral sound by the thought of the spirit. The soul of man is also called spirit, whence are the words in the Gospel, “And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit;” 911 by which the death of the body, through the spirit’s leaving it, is signified. We speak also of the spirit of a beast, as it is expressly written in the book of Solomon called Ecclesiastes; “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” 912 It is written too in Genesis, where it is said that by the deluge all flesh died which “had in it the spirit of life.” 913 We speak also of the spirit, meaning the wind, a thing most manifestly corporeal; whence is that in the Psalms, “Fire and hail, snow and ice, the spirit of the storm.” 914 Since spirit, then, is a word of so many meanings, the apostle intended to express by “the spirit of the mind” that spirit which is called the mind. As the same apostle also, when he says, “In putting off the body of the flesh,” 915 certainly did not intend two things, as though flesh were one, and the body of the flesh another; but because body is the name of many things that have no flesh (for besides the flesh, there are many bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial), he expressed by the body of the flesh that body which is flesh. In like manner, therefore, by the spirit of the mind, that spirit which is mind. Elsewhere, too, he has even more plainly called it an image, while enforcing the same thing in other words. “Do you,” he says, “putting off the old man with his deeds, put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge of God after the image of Him that created him.” 916 Where the one passage reads, “Put ye on the new man, which is created after God,” the other has, “Put ye on the new man, which is renewed after the image of Him that created him.”

In the one place he says, “After God;” in the other, “After the image of Him that created him.” But instead of saying, as in the former passages “In righteousness and true holiness,” he has put in the latter, “In the knowledge of God.” This renewal, then, and forming again of the mind, is wrought either after God, or after the image of God. But it is said to be after God, in order that it may not be supposed to be after another creature; and to be after the image of God, in order that this renewing may be understood to take place in that wherein is the image of God, i.e. in the mind. Just as we say, that he who has departed from the body a faithful and righteous man, is dead after the body, not after the spirit. For what do we mean by dead after the body, unless as to p. 196 the body or in the body, and not dead as to the soul or in the soul? Or if we want to say he is handsome after the body, or strong after the body, not after the mind; what else is this, than that he is handsome or strong in body, not in mind? And the same is the case with numberless other instances. Let us not therefore so understand the words, “After the image of Him that created him,” as though it were a different image after which he is renewed, and not the very same which is itself renewed.



Rom. 12.2Rom. xii. 2


Eph. 4:23, 24Eph. 4:23, 24


Gen. 1.27Gen. i. 27


John 4.24John iv. 24


1 Cor. 14.141 Cor. xiv. 14


John 19.30John xix. 30


Eccles. 3.21Eccles. iii. 21


Gen. 7.22Gen. vii. 22


Ps. 148.8Ps. cxlviii. 8


Col. 2.11Col. ii. 11


Col. 3:9, 10Col. 3:9, 10

Next: Chapter 17