Those familiar with their Catholic school upbringing are familiar with the concept of ‘divine image’ that is found in Genesis. Most teachers can’t sufficiently explicate how one is to recognize such an image, for most instructors have not studied patristics ‘The Church Fathers’, bishops in antiquity.
Cyril of Alexandria (last names are cities until the modern age, that is 1500 A.D.) has provided insight into the content of this ‘image of God.’ For those without a Catholic upbringing, let me give a brief synopsis: every human being is made in the likeness and image of God, this is explicitly given in Genesis. The Incarnation is required for such a reality to become recognizable. For Cyril of Alexandria, being made in the ‘Image and Likeness of God’ is identifiable with the following content: Reason, Freedom, Dominion (ancient term for authority), Holiness, Incorruptibility and Sonship (adopted into Christ by baptism so we are acceptable to the Father.)
What does all this mean?
The act of choosing is not the final lasting category whereby an individual demonstrates his/her ‘image/likeness of God’. It is the ability to recognize and choose ‘the good’, this is the philosophical category of properly managing relations; the Church Fathers did not talk about objects so much a proper relations. ‘The Good’ is articulated/demonstrated loving prudence in action.
Despite sin, the human person remains good, but we have not preserved the original unreserved response to grace, this is original sin. The Incarnation and Good Friday, restored the unshackled power to do what is good. This is Christian liberty! This was the reality that brought down the Roman Empire; a new better competing vision of humanness. The continued presence of the Holy Spirit provides us with the means to maintain our connection, our relation to God: what was lost in the Garden of Eden is now restored!