Culture Influencer: Nancy Pearcey

Museum of the Bible Features Interview with Nancy Pearcey in Latest Exhibit

Nancy Pearcey, Professor of Apologetics and Scholar in Residence at Houston Christian University (HCU), shares insights on Imago Dei, a term that means “the image of God” as a part of the opening of the Museum of the Bible’s latest exhibit, “Scripture and Science: Our Universe, Ourselves, Our Place.”

The exhibit seeks to spur dialogue about life’s biggest questions by posing six essential questions: How did it all begin? What keeps the universe running? How did life begin? What makes me human? What can we accomplish? How will it all end? It also explores the Bible’s role in the historical relationship between science and religion in a world where many believe that religious faith and the natural sciences are very separate subjects and where the Bible is viewed by many as an obstacle to scientific progress, according to exhibit curators.

A renowned scholar of apologetics and Christian worldview, Pearcey, one of several scholars interviewed as a part of the exhibit, was asked to address the question of the image of God and how that is the foundation for what it means to be human.  She also spoke about the cultural mandate, and how it provides inspiration for “What we can accomplish?”

An excerpt of Pearcey’s interview is now part of the museum’s “Scripture and Science” exhibit.  Her biblical insights on the topic of the “Image of God,” recorded in HCU’s Dunham Bible Museum, are provided below.

  • “In the ancient world, it was rulers and emperors who were sometimes said to be “the image of God”—which meant the representative of God on earth. So what Genesis was saying was that we are all royalty. The early readers of Genesis knew the text was making the astonishing claim that all humans, not just rulers, have the dignity of being representatives of God on earth.
  • This is an amazingly positive message of human worth and dignity. In the religions of the ancient world, the gods did not endow humans with dignity. For example, the ancient Babylonian creation story says the gods created humans to be their slaves.
  • It was only the book of Genesis that said humans were endowed with unique status and worth. They alone were shaped in God’s image; they alone had responsibility for stewardship over the rest of creation.
  • God is the Creator, but human beings are to act as God’s image by being sub-creators. They are to investigate the natural world God created and learn how to use its properties to be productive, to invent new technologies—in short, all the arts and sciences.
  • So, the image of God means human beings were given the task of being stewards and cultivators of God’s creation, to discover and delight in his handiwork.
  • This passage of Genesis is often called the cultural mandate because it tells us that the ideal human existence is not an endless vacation but to expend creative effort in work. To fulfill our gifts in meaningful vocations. To build civilizations. To make history.”

Click the Museum of the link to the Museum of the Bible interview to listen to an excerpt of Pearcey’s interview. The clip also includes biblical insights shared by Tremper Longman, a noted Old Testament scholar, in connection with the exhibit’s Jan. 20, 2023 opening.

Pearcey has authored hundreds of articles appearing in outlets such as Fox News, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, The American Enterprise, American Thinker, Human Life Review, and numerous more. She also has co-authored a column in Christianity Today and served as a columnist for Human Events.