But nor do we all equally reflect the image of Christ, which is the image of God, “29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). We need to be conformed more to the image of Christ, the image of God. We do not fully reflect it like he does, and this being conformed to his image only begins once we become believers and trust in him. It’s only those who are being justified, i.e., those who have repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus, and have been declared righteous in his sight, who are being conformed to his image. So, there is a sense in which believers reflect the image of God in a way that non-believers don’t. And there is a sense in which more mature believers reflect it in a way that less mature believers don’t.
So, to look to the image of God for equality is not supported by how the Bible handles the idea of the image of God. Therefore, the American founders, as great as they were, imported a meaning which does not belong there.