Niche Construction and the Functional Model of the Image of God
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The functional model of the image of God (FMIG), until recently, has often been overlooked in science-engaged theology and this is unwarranted. First, because it most closely follows the Genesis text out of which the very concept of the image of God arises. Second, it maintains relatively low friction when engaging with the evolutionary sciences and, third, because it has serious resonance with one particular mechanism of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis: niche construction (NC). The FMIG and NC valorize the agency of the organism in an environmental and social ecology that contributes to the flourishing and even transformation of the organisms in the niche. I suggest that human agency directed at NC can be set within a theological framework wherein the behavior of constructing niches is given a divine calling or mandate with the advent of the image of God. This divine task is to create niches of flourishing for all of creation so that God's purposes in creation are brought to fulfilment.