Bonus points if you can answer this question that has been bugging me;
"If god doesn't want to be portrayed or in effect "pinned down" by a definition, what does it mean when it is said that man was created in his image?"[/QUOTE]
Who said God doesn't want to be portrayed? or defined?
God is beyond our ability to understand completely. However, He does wish to be known. The Bible is God's revelation of Himself to man. Paul says in Romans that God wishing to be known has revealed Himself in nature, also known as general revelation.
(Romans 1) because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.
To answer your question, what does it mean that God made man in his image?
Is really simple and not so simple at the same time. Theologically it means that man has part of God's spirit. God breathed into man the breath of life and he became a living Spirit. This was not the process for any other life that God created. Remember that this is before the effects of sin entered into the equation. Man had unfettered access to God much as Jesus did in His incarnation.
Practically it is the explanation for the differences between man and all other creatures. 1. Man is unique in creative ability. We create God creates. 2. Man has language. Man speaks God speaks. Animals communicate certain things but not abstract concepts using words. 3. Man can reason, God reasons. Animals are not capable of deductive reasoning. 4. Man is aware of a future. Animals never think about death, they do not plan for the future. 5. Only man worships God. Your dog may worship you, but he has no concept of God. Funny though that if He showed up your dog would probably recognize Him before you did.
To put it simply God created man in order that man could glorify God. To do this he made him different than all other things He created. This is evident in creation. We are unique in abilities. It isn't accidental. God isn't dead.
"You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.
If you define a thing as being X then you are saying that it is therefore not the things that are not X. And God is infinite beyond comprehension so he is not the things that are not X.
This is interesting discussion...