PHI 413 What is the Christian concept of the imago Dei?

PHI 413 What is the Christian concept of the imago Dei?

PHI 413 What is the Christian concept of the imago Dei?

Imago Dei means image of God. According to White (2020) this is the value and dignity of every human being due to their existence. Becoming a nurse is a calling and not everyone can do it, it takes a special kind of person to become a nurse. This career focuses on helping other people and ensuring proper care is given in the time of need. A person is at a very vulnerable state when they are in the presence a medial staff, whether they are ill, injured, or at just having a check up. As a nurse it is our job to help maintain the dignity of every patient we encounter, from the healthy patients to the dying patients. If a person is in hospice, the nurse helps to keep the dignity of the dying, all the way past their last breath. The nurse can also pray with the family, if they wish, in their time of need and help seek some comfort with the knowing their loved one will be in heaven with the Lord when the time comes for them to pass.

White, N. (2020). God, humanity, and human dignity. In GCU’s Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in healthcare.

Imago Dei translates to the image of God and originates from the Book of Genesis. Many Christians believe the Imago Dei is “why we humans are valuable in the first place and why we are more valuable than any other species” (Hoff, C. 2004).

When looking at racism, Imago Dei would be important in healthcare. Unfortunately, in America racism continues to persistent. In healthcare this is no different. According to the 2015 National Healthcare Disparities Report stated that White patients receive better quality of care than 36.7% of Hispanic patients, 41.1% of Black patients, 32.4% of American Indian/Alaska Native patients, and 20.3% of Asian and Pacific Islander patients. “These differences highlight the need for a deeper understanding among people of all races. Our realities are different, yet all are created imago Dei (in the image of God). As believers, we know the love of Jesus Christ to be transformative. It should never leave us the same.” (Secor, 2020). Every patient and every person should be treated with dignity and respect.

Hoff, C. (2004) Imago Dei: The image of God. APU.

Secor, C. (2020). Imago Dei-In the Image of God. Journal of Christian Nursing.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2020). Discrimination. Healthy

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Racism does not belong in healthcare. Racism actually does not belong anywhere, but when people come searching

PHI 413 What is the Christian concept of the imago Dei
PHI 413 What is the Christian concept of the imago Dei

for health care services, it is unfortunate that they are met with racism. Just as you stated, “every patent and every person should be treated with dignity and respect”, and that should not change due to the color of their skin or where they originate from. Unfortunately, there are some reports by African American patients that explain some of the racism they have been met with. Some examples are being treated rudely by staff, not being included in making decisions regarding their health, being treated apathetically, being dismissed of concerns and even being called racial slurs (Hamed et al., 2022). None of this behavior fits into Imago Dei. Imago Dei suggests that we treat each other with value, compassion, empathy and without judgement, just as we would want to be treated.




Hamed, S., Bradby, H., Ahlberg, B.M. & Tharpar-Bjorkert, S. (2022). Racism in healthcare: A scoping review. BMC Public Health. (22)988.

In Christianity, the Imago Dei concept means that human beings are created in God’s likeness. Based on the Christian faith, the believers’ understanding that human beings have God’s image is enough motivation in helping them acknowledge the importance of bestowing dignity. Generally, honoring other people regardless of their differences, whether physically, mentally, economically, or socially is crucial in this concept. Hence, it requires Christians to represent God by performing deeds that glorify him. For instance, caring for others is one act that portrays love, morality, intellectuality, and spirituality, representing God’s nature (Shelly & Miller 2009).

In healthcare, the Imago Dei is a fundamental concept for it could motivate health professionals to promote humanity acts when they are delivering patient care. For instance, nursing is a field where nurses are called to care. In the process, they get to serve God in their acts of caring for others, and as Shelly and Miller (2009) put it, this gives nurses a framework to help them comprehend their mission in nursing. Such an understanding further gives health professionals enhanced self-actualization as they engage in moral reflection on how to serve God in a way that pleases him when treating the sick.

Therefore, it is worth noting that the Imago Dei concept is relevant in health care. This is because knowing that every individual is created in God’s likeness should motivate health professionals to work towards transforming the quality of care to achieve optimal outcomes (Rieg, Newbanks, & Sprunger, 2018). As much as patients may have different health conditions, the level of care should not be weighed based on the differences since, in the eyes of God, every individual is equal. Altogether, the adherence of health practitioners to biblical practices results in a higher degree of service delivery that society appreciates.


Rieg, L. S., Newbanks, R. S., & Sprunger, R. (2018). Caring from a Christian Worldview: Exploring Nurses’ Source of Caring, Faith Practices, and View of Nursing. Journal of Christian Nursing35(3), 168-173.

Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A. B. (2009). Called to care: A Christian worldview for nursing. InterVarsity Press.

Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female, he created them” (Bible Gateway, n.d.).

The definition of Imago Dei is the image of God. What this means is that every person is made in the image of God “regardless of age, race, gender, religion, or any other qualifier” (White, 2020). It doesn’t mean that God was ever a human, it simply means that his attitudes, “sociality, moral agency, and spirituality” are passed on to human beings (White, 2020). What this means in healthcare is that every person matters. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from in their walk-in life, they matter because they are in the image of God. Every human matters. When it comes to ethical dilemmas such as abortion, it goes against everything a christian stands for to know that that very child that is seen as a grouping of cells is a precious life and is made in the image of God. A medical professional, then, may not be able to sway a person from abortion, but they can show the person that there is a living being inside them, they are alive, they are well. Often, when a person sees the miracle inside them, they change the course of their decisions. They choose life, they choose to uphold the image of God through that tiny existence.


White, N. (2020). God, humanity, and human dignity. In GCU’s Practicing dignity: An introduction to christian values and decision making in healthcare.

Bible Gateway (n.d.). Genesis 1:27. New international version.