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of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 6. The Creation and Calling
of Human Beings
We believe that God has
created human beings in the divine image. God formed them from the dust
of the earth and gave them a special dignity among all the works of
creation. Human beings have been made for relationship with God, to
live in peace with each other, and to take care of the rest of creation.
We believe that human
beings were created good, in the image of God. 
As creatures according to the divine likeness, we have been made
stewards to subdue and to care for creation out of reverence and honor
for the Creator.  As creatures made in
the divine image, we have been blessed with the abilities to respond
faithfully to God, to live in harmony with other human beings, and to
engage in meaningful work and rest. Because both Adam and Eve were
equally and wonderfully made in the divine image, God's will from the
beginning has been for women and men to live in loving and mutually
helpful relationships with each other. 
We are grateful that God
patiently preserves humanity and faithfully remains with us even
through death.  God has made provision
for the salvation of humanity and the redemption of creation.  We believe that the image of God in all
its fullness has been revealed and restored in Jesus Christ, in whom we
find our true humanity. 
(1) Gen. 1:26-27, 31; Rom. 8:29.
(2) Gen. 1:26-30; Ps. 8:5-8; Rom. 1:21-23.
(3) Gen. 2:18-23; Eph. 5:21-33.
(4) Rom. 8:38-39.
(5) Rom. 8:19-25.
(6) 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15.
1. The "image of God" refers to the unique relationship of human beings
to God and therefore also to their distinctive relationship to each
other and to the rest of creation. The term refers to human beings as a
whole rather than to one particular aspect of the person.
understandings of human beings have focused on humanity's role as God's
representative on earth to manage and care for it. Some have emphasized
the relationship between men and women as a symbol of the inner
relationships of the triune God. Other views have underscored the
distinctive relationship with God for which human beings have been
created. And some have focused on the differences between human beings
and animals, especially human reason, culture, and morality. Each of
these views emphasizes one aspect of the larger biblical picture of
being human, which this article has summarized as being in the image
and likeness of God.
2. According to Genesis
1:26-27, God created both man and woman in the divine image. Both are
equal in relation to God and are created for relationship with each
other. Woman's relation to God is not derived from man, and man's
relation to God is not derived from woman. Genesis 2:18 describes woman
as man's "helper," but this does not imply one-sided subordination. The
same Hebrew word is most often used for God as "help" or "helper" (for
example, in Deut. 33:7, 26; Ps. 33:20; 54:4; 70:5; 115:9-11). The rule
of man over woman is a result of sin (Gen. 3:16) and is therefore not
an acceptable order among the redeemed (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 7:4;
The renewal of humanity
in Jesus Christ restores both woman and man to the divine image. On
Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon both men and women
directly in accord with the prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:1-18; see also
Acts 1:12-14). In the community of faith, Gentiles have the same status
as Jews, slaves as free, and women as men (2 Cor. 6:18). They are
called to live in unity with each other (Gal. 3:25-28) and in mutual
subjection to each other (Eph. 5:21-6:9).
3. We believe that God
created human beings with an ability to choose to obey or to disobey
the word of God (Gen. 2:15-17). Humanity has been created with the
freedom to choose the bond of a covenant relationship with God or to
choose bondage to sin (Rom. 6:16-18). We are genuinely free only when
we live in covenant with God and in conformity to God's will.
4. We believe that God
intends human work to be a way of caring for and ordering rather than
exploiting the world which has been created. Work is necessary to
sustain and enhance human life. It can also be a way to serve and
witness to others in the spirit of Jesus Christ (Gen. 1:28; 2:15,
19-20; 2 Thess. 3:6-13; Eph. 4:28; 6:5-9). According to God's design,
we are to balance work and rest, for our own good and for the good of
the rest of creation. Above all, regular rest from work is intended to
remind us of God's presence and of God's creating, liberating, healing,
and saving activity (Exod. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15; Mark 3:1-5; Heb.
Because we are called to
serve God in all of life, we also seek to follow Jesus Christ in the
work we choose and in the way we carry out our work. See the articles
on "Discipleship and the Christian Life" (Article 17), "Christian
Stewardship" (Article 21), and "The Reign of God" (Article 24).
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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