The human being, is a living image of the living God. To express the dynamics of such an artistic work of the Creator, Origenes, as well as a great part of the Eastern Tradition after him, used two Biblical words (Gen 1:26-27): image and likeness. This was their way in responding to Gnosticism, a heresy of their time.
Gnostics used to classify people into different categories. People could not move beyond these categories until their death. For instance, a person born with an attraction to material things, always remained materialist, and a spiritually oriented person always acted in a spiritual way.
On the one hand, it seems psychologically sound on the other hand there is a problem. This belief denies the effectiveness of divine mercy and the power of the free human will. Moreover, St. Paul exhorts all people to a spiritual growth, “until Christ be formed in you” (Gal 4:19). Jacob’s vision of the ladder, on which angels ascend to and from heaven (Gn. 28:12) became a traditional symbol of spiritual progress, especially among the Syrian Fathers.