Date of Award
College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences
Michael A. Thomas, PhD
The nature of Christianity is found within Christ’s resurrection. In order to portray the depth and mystery of this resurrection, Eastern and Western Christianity has focused and focuses still on differing events. The Western Church emphasizes the enormous importance of the crucifixion of Christ in line with the central theme of “justification.” The Eastern Church tends to lift up “participation with God” as a central theme in the theology and life of the Christian. In the Eastern Church the key to understanding how man participates with God is found in the church’s developed anthropology. Of the statements that define the essential nature of man within both Western and Eastern Christianity, the text Genesis 1:26-27 – man made in the image and likeness of God – stands at the forefront. Among the various expositors of this pinnacle text, Origen of Alexandria understands the “image and likeness of God” more holistically than any other theologian of the church. Origen’s understanding of the Genesis 1:26-27 encapsulates the soul of Christian theology and proclaims the meaning of the resurrection of Christ for every Christian’s sanctified walk through this world and the next.