Imago dei or the image of God refers to the Christian understanding of human being as created in the image of God bestows dignity and honor on every individual regardless of physical, mental, or social status. It is a theological term that applies only to human and has its roots in the biblical book of genesis. This is significant in healthcare because human lives are dependent on health care services. Each human life is respected above all other lives on earth, as God intended, by concentrating attention on preserving life and granting each individual dignity. While postmodernism considers humans to be just another entity on the planet with the same value as a rock, it considers human existence to be less precious. Furthermore, just like God oversees heaven, he wants man to take charge of the earth. White (2020). This is evidentiary of man created in God’s Image.
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This belief is important because, if we are all imago dei, then treating humans as equals to all other species in existence has moral ramifications. As a result of this concept, human life is deemed valuable and special among all other life forms. Healthcare practitioners, caregivers, and all other professions can always work with this central understanding in mind, as it transcends religions and personal beliefs/opinions. Human life is a gift, and each one is valuable and worthy of respect, empathy, compassion, and integrity. Healthcare professionals should still uphold this fact and respect a person’s right to know. This should be a quality of treatment for all patients, regardless of whether the patient’s medical decisions conflict with the healthcare worker’s opinion or preference.
For Christians, health is a virtue in and of itself, allowing us to be present to one another in good health, illness, and misery. As all the virtues, health is a representation of God’s love. Indeed, a Christian perspective on health does not dispute that any of us are sick and will need medical attention. Rather, a Christian perspective on health demands that the community accept sickness for the sick person to be returned to health – and, most importantly, so that the sick person remains a member of the community even though their health is not restored. This suggests that people with a Christian perspective on health are more likely to want to be healed but not at all costs. In other words, the Christian perspective on health entails recognizing that the Christian distinction entails being at peace with human frailty and even seeing frailty as a blessing. Christian health may indicate that Christians should hold one another accountable when decisions are made that have a negative impact on one’s health. Christian suffering is distinguished by this faithfulness to Christ, and it is merely an answer to Christ’s faithfulness to us, even during his own suffering.
Hodge, D. R., & Wolfer, T. A. (2008). Promoting Tolerance: The Imago Dei as an Imperative for Christian Social Workers. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, 27(3), 297-313.
Reinders, J. S. (1997). Imago dei as a basic concept in Christian ethics. Holy Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, 187-204.
Iozzio, M. J. (2017). Radical dependence and the Imago Dei: Bioethical implications of access to healthcare for people with disabilities. Christian bioethics: Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality, 23(3), 234-260.
White, N. (2020). Practicing Dignity: An Introduction to Christian Values and Decision Making in Health Care.https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/2
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