If nominalism is true, and there are no universals, then there is no God; for, God is the very universal of universals, the sum and source of the whole category of the universals, and so he is the universal in virtue of whom all other universals subsist, and operate, and participate.
If there is no God, then there is no image of God. In that case, men are not made in that image, or for that matter in the image of any other universal – such as, e.g., the universal, “human nature.” There is then nothing to man but whatever we happen to call man, for whatever reason, or no reason.
It is not surprising, or shouldn’t be, that early moderns apprehended the deletion of an objective human nature and the objective human excellence such a nature inevitably entails as a liberation, and an opening of man’s awareness to a radically honest, clear-sighted and simply rational reckoning with what he truly is – whatever that might happen to be. Not that such a reckoning had never before been possible, for of course it had, always. The difference between the moderns and their forefathers is that the latter had seen with clear eyes that man truly is sinful, Fallen, in need not only of moral reformation but of salvation. It was the rejection of sin as an objective ontological category that the moderns felt as liberating. The modern age began when nominalism matured to the point where the philosophes could recognize, and indeed feel, that because human nature did not exist, nor therefore need any thought of propriety thereto ever constrain conduct. The modern age, that is to say, began when intellectuals could cogently argue from first principles they found credible that man is *not* sinful.
But then, if there be no fixed human nature, no beautiful ideal of human excellence that beckons us, and to which we ought to aspire (and, indeed, innermostly and foremostly *want to achieve,* as being the best fulfillment of our sort of being that is possible to us), then we are whatever we might happen to be, *and nothing more.* There is then nothing more really to be said about what it might properly mean to be a human being, or what sorts of acts that propriety might entail. Nominalism then implies antinomianism; ergo, it implies the death of thought, and so of all deliberation, all that long struggle to understand reality and to conform our acts thereto, in which all our conscious life consists, and by which it perdures.
When nominalism deletes the imago dei, then, it deletes all of human morality, all limit on behavior, and thus all human order, whether social, moral, or even physiological. Then even the constraints on our acts set by our own innate bodily preferences, which we cannot modify but rather only discover as the first foreconditions of our concrete feelings, are as nothing. Does your body want to avoid pain, and seek pleasure? What of that? A fig to the dumb, unsophistical loves of the body! Suppress them, for the sake of whatever is at hand! On with the floggings, the tortions, and the cutting!
What happens when we jettison the imago dei? What happens when men are, as the archetypal post-modern expression has it, “whatever”?
Men and their babies are then nothing but clumps of tissue, meat machines, animals that may be deleted at whim, individually or en masse, by anyone. Such deletions, furthermore, are without moral valence or character. They are nothing more than the adventitious outworking of the endless and (therefore) meaningless contest of all with all, of the random flux of the will to power. Are there some who feel still some scruple about the mass murder of this or that category of human animal? Such old fashioned folks are holdovers, alas, still laboring under the illusion that there are such things in reality as scruples, the poor things. Such moral knucklewalkers are on the list of low men, that will all, sooner or later, be destroyed by the incorrigible, random flux of history, through the agency of those enlightened ones among its survivors who end up discovering that, lo, they happened to be on the right side of it.
Once we shall have firmly abandoned the imago dei, and all the countless ways our mental habits, our customs and laws still presuppose it, we may look forward to an enlightened and ruthlessly rational social order, in which all the misfits are quickly killed, or else enslaved and killed slowly, step by tiny step.