The Image of God, Personhood and the Embryo


Calum MacKellar, The Image of God, Personhood and the Embryo (London: SCM Press, 2017)


MacKellar, Calum. The Image of God, Personhood and the Embryo. London: SCM Press, 2017.

Publication life cycle / General notes

Torrance is cited on 35 pages and was a major inspiration for the work.

Discussed in the Reading Group on April 7, 2022: Video.


Why are human embryos so important to many Christians? What does theology say concerning the moral status of these embryos?

Answers to these questions can only be obtained by considering the manner in which Christian theology understands the great theme of the image of God. Calum MacKellar examines the most important aspects in which this image, and the related Christian notion of personhood, can be used in the context of theological arguments relating to the moral status of the human embryo.

Thoughtful in approach and ecumenical in perspective, MacKellar combines a thorough knowledge of the science of embryology with a broad knowledge of the theological implications.


Part I Historical and Contemporary Christian Perspectives 
1 The Moral Status of the Embryo 
2 The Image of God 
3 Being a Person from a Christian Perspective

Part II The Image of God, Personhood and the Embryo
4 Creation and the Embryo 
5 Incarnation and the Embryo 
6 Substantive Aspects and the Embryo
7 Relational Aspects and the Embryo 
8 Functional Aspects and the Embryo


Appendix: The Moral Status of New Kinds of Embryo

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Oklahoma History of Science Collections copy donated by Calum MacKellar.