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Questioning the HumanToward a Theological Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century$
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Lieven Boeve, Yves De Maeseneer, and Ellen Van Stichel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257522

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257522.001.0001

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In God's Image and Likeness: From Reason to Revelation in Humans and Other Animals

In God's Image and Likeness: From Reason to Revelation in Humans and Other Animals

Chapter:
(p.60) Chapter 4 In God's Image and Likeness: From Reason to Revelation in Humans and Other Animals
Source:
Questioning the Human
Author(s):

Celia Deane-Drummond

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823257522.003.0005

Systematic theologian and biologist Celia Deane-Drummond elaborates on the issue of whether the human person can claim a unique status in creation, defending the idea of retaining the distinctiveness of human beings in a nuanced way. From Thomas Aquinas she borrows his interpretation of the terms “image” and “likeness”: While using the language of divine “likeness” to describe other animals, thereby expressing a sense of shared creaturely being, the term “image” referred to the distinctive character of human beings. Deane-Drummond adopts this distinction but, informed by recent ethological studies on animals, bases the image dimension on the religious capacity rather than the capacity to freedom. Moreover, she interprets this distinctiveness in terms of the performative, as presenting the particular task of humanity to recognize its divine vocation to serve God and to exist in respectful communion with other beings. Rather than to argue that animals display the divine image, the author suggests that the close relationship between humans and other animals clarifies the distinctive features of what it means to be human.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, Human distinctiveness/uniqueness, Image/Likeness, Ethology, Religious capacity, Performativity

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