Throughout history, theologians have attempted to define the imago Dei (Latin, image of God) and identify what exactly being created in the image of God refers to. Four perspectives have been offered.
The first perspective relates to humankind’s capacity to think and reason. This has been termed the substantive view, connoting that the imago Dei can be described by any one or more of its essential parts, but particular human rationality. Church fathers such as Irenaeus (d. 202) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) fashioned their theological views around God’s creating humankind in his image with the ability to reason and think over the non-human creation.