Now we will see that God separates plant life and animal life from mankind, and He says, “Let us make man in our image.” This creature is of great interest to you because he happens to be your great-great, etc., grandfather, and he is mine, also.
This means that you and I are cousins, although maybe not kissing cousins. But the whole human family is related. Man was made last of all the creatures: this was both an honor and a favor to him.
Yet man was made the same day that the beasts were; his body was made of the same earth with theirs; and while he is in the body, he inhabits the same earth with them.
God forbid that by indulging the body, and the desires of it, we should make ourselves like the beasts that perish!
Man was to be a creature different from all that had been hitherto made. Flesh and spirit, heaven and earth, must be put together in him. God said, “Let us make man.” Man, when he was made, was to glorify the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Into that great name we are baptized, for to that great name we owe our being. It is the soul of man that especially bears God’s image. Man was made upright.
His understanding saw Divine things clearly and truly; there were no errors or mistakes in his knowledge; his will consented at once, and in all things, to the will of God.
His affections were all regular, and he had no bad appetites or passions. His thoughts were easily brought and fixed to the best subjects. Thus Holy, thus happy, were our first parents in having the image of God upon them.
But how is this image of God upon man defaced?
May the Lord renew it upon our souls by his grace!
This creature is of great interest to you because he happens to be your great-great, etc., grandfather, and he is mine, also. This means that you and I are cousins, although maybe not kissing cousins.
But the whole human family is related.
Genesis 1:26-31 KJV
 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Something new and significant is happening as God now speaks in a new manner. Up to this point, His words on each new day have begun with “Let there be . . .” or “Let the . . .”.
But now His creation declaration is more reflective in nature: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
The last stage in the progress of creation being now reached – God said, Let us make man — words which show the peculiar importance of the work to be done, the formation of a creature, who was to be God‘s representative, clothed with authority and rule as visible head and monarch of the world.
Many new-covenant believers have understood these plural pronouns as trinitarian in nature. But the original audience lacked the revelation we have to understand them that way.
The Old Testament is essentially silent on the triune nature of God. It is the New Testament record that ultimately reveals God as being three-in-one.
That record will make it possible for believers in the first century and later to contemplate a plurality in the oneness of God’s essence. That leaves open the question of how the earliest readers interpret the plural pronouns.
One proposal is that God is speaking to angelic beings in His heavenly court. Another view is that the plurals are to be understood as a “plural of majesty” by which God refers to the fullness of His power and identity.
An illustration of this type of plural is the quotation “We are not amused,” supposedly uttered by Queen Victoria after hearing a story that was not as funny as the storyteller thought it to be.
An enduring issue is determining what it means to be created in God’s image, after His likeness. That the words image and likeness refer to different things is unlikely.
- First, there is no and between image and likeness in the original text.
- Second, the same Hebrew words translated image and likeness appear in Genesis 5:3 to refer to the same thing.
Thus the two words should be seen as synonyms combined to add intensity. It is problematic to identify the image of God with one of God’s specific qualities. God is complex, so His image must also be complex.
But we are able to get a better grasp if we approach the topic from two angles: those of form and content. The form of the image of God is person-hood. This speaks to the intellectual, volitional, moral, creative, and religious capacities that animals do not have.
As God exercises His creative will, so also human beings alone among earth’s creatures have the ability to think of complex things that don’t exist, then take deliberate steps to make them a reality.
This was a peculiar distinction, the value attached to which appears in the words being twice mentioned.
And in what did this image of God consist?
Not in the erect form or features of man, not in his intellect, for the devil and his angels are, in this respect, far superior. Not in his immortality, for he has not, like God, a past as well as a future eternity of being.
But in the moral dispositions of his soul, commonly called original righteousness . As the new creation is only a restoration of this image, the history of the one throws light on the other.
And we are informed that it is renewed after the image of God in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. A beaver may go through a sequence of steps to make a dam, but stacking a pile of sticks is not the same as building a hospital!
Content, for its part, speaks to relationship with God (in terms of servants-in-fellowship) and relationship to the world (in terms of dominion-in-stewardship). It is the form part of the image that makes the content part of the image possible.
Regarding the servant aspect, the portrayal of God in the creation narrative highlights a certain correspondence between humans and God that allows us to have a relationship with Him. God bids us to rule over His creation, a task elegantly described as having dominion.
“And let them have dominion.” God gave him dominion over the earth, and I do not think this means that God made him a sort of glorified gardener of the Garden of Eden. Adam had tremendous authority given to him.
Regarding the dominion part of the content part of the image, that’s addressed in our next verse. We will find out a little later that God says to him that he is to do certain things relative to this creation that God has given to him.
David will reflect further on this centuries later in Psalm 8:6–8. In creating, the Lord worked and exercised dominion, and He invites us to participate with Him in exercising that dominion as we ourselves work.
This is an issue of stewardship.
The first question that arises is: How was man created?
The next chapter will tell us that.
The creation week now reaches its climax with the creation of human beings. This verse is breathtaking in its implications and puzzling in the questions it raises.
God decrees, “Let us make man in our image,” using a Hebrew word—ē’nu—which is unmistakably plural.
Why does God speak of Himself as more than one person?
Scholars have offered a wide variety of ideas over the centuries. Three explanations are offered more often than any others.
First, God may be referring to Himself and the angels. This seems unlikely given the rest of Scripture’s depiction of angels. These beings are presented as servants and messengers, not creators or rulers.
Second, this could be what scholars call a plural of self-exhortation or self-encouragement, meaning He is referring only to Himself. This would also be referred to as “the royal ‘we,'” something we see used by human kings and rulers when making proclamations or decrees.
The third possibility is that God is speaking as a Trinity, of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. According to Scripture as a whole, the full Trinity was present at creation. Genesis 1:2 describes the Spirit of God hovering over the waters, and John 1:1–3 reveals that the Word, Christ, was active in the creation of all things.
Next, this verse raises the question of what it means to be made in God’s image, or in His likeness. Without question, this statement does not mean that God created humans to resemble Him physically (John 4:24).
Rather, this seems to support the idea that God endowed humans with a certain kind of awareness, one which animals and birds and fish were not given. In other words, humans would possess the capacity for reason, morality, language, personality, and purpose.
In particular, the ability to use morality and spirituality are unique to human beings among God’s creations on earth. Like God, we would possess the capacity to experience and understand love, truth, and beauty.
Humans are made in God’s image in another way: as a model, or a representative. God is the Maker, and all of creation belongs to Him. He is Lord over it.
However, in the moment of creation, God gives mankind the responsibility to rule over all other life He has made on the earth.
In that sense, humans would stand as God’s image, God’s representatives, on earth as we rule over and manage all the rest of His creation.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The image of God in which humanity is created includes male and female. We have here just the simple fact of the creation of man. That we exist in community reflects the communal nature of God that we see taught more clearly in the New Testament.
The Father, Son, and Spirit are one, yet they are clearly distinct persons. And though male and female together form one humanity, there is a clear, God-intended distinction between male and female.
God’s statement identifying us as being in His image points to humanity’s exalted place. Some students also see the triple-usage of the verb created as significant.
The word in the original language being translated thus occurs only eight times between Genesis 1:1 and 5:1, and fully half of those are connected with the final and most significant aspect of creation: the creation of God’s image bearers (three times here and once in 5:1).
It is difficult to overstate the significance of “the image of God” within Judaeo-Christian ethics. Without the belief that humans are morally endowed creations of a morally good God, there is nothing to ensure the dignity and value of any and every person—born or unborn, healthy or ill.
Whatever value humans possess comes from the sovereign Creator, to whom we are accountable and responsible. The physical, economic, social, and cultural criteria by which secular humanism establishes and defends person-hood are arbitrary, changing, and unreliable.
Christians must shape their response to moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and racism on the foundation of humanity’s value and special status of being made in the image of God.
“So God created man in his own image.” I want to submit to you that this is one of the great statements of the Word of God. I cannot conceive of anything quite as wonderful as this.
What does it mean?
Well, man is like God, I think, as a triune. Mankind is physically, mentally and spiritually a being.
This puts us right back to the all-important truth which we find in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3).
Things we see today were made out of things which did not even exist before. The creation was made out of nothing. God created! This is the tremendous revelation of this chapter.
The blueprint for Genesis chapter 1 is God speaking His intent, then creating. In the previous verse, God decreed what should be made and why. Now in this verse, He makes the first of all human beings.
The verse is written with a poetic structure of three lines. God creates man in his own image. In the image of God man is created. God creates both male and female.
One meaning of being created in the image of God is mankind’s unique capacity for moral and rational awareness. God made humans to be inherently different from animals.
He built into us some of His own qualities; we share with Him the experience of personality, truth, beauty, meaning, will, and reason. These attributes allow us to relate to God in ways other created beings cannot.
Another meaning is that humans were meant to stand as the image of God’s authority on the earth as we rule over and subdue the rest of His creation.
That we are made by God, in the image of God, is what gives all men and women deep value. That point is echoed throughout the Bible. James, for instance, points out that we ought not curse human beings because they (we) are made in God’s likeness (James 3:9).
Those who bear God’s image should not be treated disrespectfully or discarded easily. It is not surprising, or illogical, to see that cultures which reject the idea of man’s creation in the image of God are cultures which terrorize and abuse other human beings.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
God’s blessing-command spoken over humanity reflects what He has already spoken over creatures of sea and sky. It resembles a number of other fruitfulness-blessing statements found throughout this book.
Together these demonstrate that rearing children is an integral part of God’s plan for humanity. God desires that the whole earth be inhabited and experience His glory.
To the notion of dominion used earlier, God now adds the verb subdue. The word in the original language appears elsewhere in a positive sense in contexts of order and security resulting from the subjugation of enemies.
It also occurs in a negative sense of bondage and enslavement. All this suggests that the focus is the idea of control. Those who are granted this control are, naturally, accountable to God for stewardship in ordering and developing the resources available.
What has come to be called “the dominion mandate” forms a basis for science and technology; it should never be thought a license for careless and abusive use of natural resources.
We exercise dominion only as the image or representatives of God in the world, not as creation’s owners. Because we don’t own creation, we have no right to exploit it in such a way that brings discredit on God.
We should exercise the responsibility toward the environment that God expects. God’s expectations are different because of subsequent uses anticipated for the resources. The extent to which we are able to exercise this dominion is now limited because of sin.
However, Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, has come as the last Adam to achieve dominion. In Him we have put on the new self and are growing into the image and likeness of God.
We see here that God has given to this creature something unusual. First He says to man, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” We will hear Him repeat that when He creates woman.
God seems to be the One who introduced the subject of sex. It is quite interesting that our generation thinks that they have made a new discovery, that they are the Columbus that discovered sex. God mentions it here at the very beginning.
In fact, there are four methods that God has used to get mankind into this universe.
- One was by direct creation, which produced Adam.
- A second way was by indirect creation, which produced Eve.
- The third was by the virgin birth, and this was how Jesus Christ came into the human family.
- The fourth way is by natural generation, and that is pretty well known in our day.
We have certainly dragged natural generation down to a level that God never intended for it. God created man to reproduce. This is a wonderful, glorious truth, and it is not to be made into a dirty, filthy, slimy thing as man is doing now.
People are writing dirty, filthy books and calling it literature; they are producing dirty, filthy things and calling it art. Some of the critics are beginning to speak out against this, and we thank the Lord for that.
They are saying what I have long contended, that much of what is called art is revolting and repulsive and that it is not art at all. It is nothing in the world but obscene, and it is done simply for the almighty dollar. God never intended for sex to be abused in this way.
God created this man in His image. God is the essentially personal Being, and in giving the man an immortal soul, He gave him also a true personality. Man has a self-consciousness, he has the power of free choice, and he has a distinct moral responsibility.
He is in the image of God.
“Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” God tells man to fill the earth by reproduction. And notice that He uses the word “replenish.” That is an interesting word and seems to indicate that this earth had been inhabited before by other creatures.
Whatever the creatures were, they had disappeared before man was created.
God also tells man to “subdue” the earth. This, I think, is the basis of learning and of scientific exploration in our day. One of the Proverbs says this: “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter” (Prov. 25:2).
God hides diamonds way down in the earth and God also puts the treasures down where man has to dig for them, and I believe that today the same thing is true about knowledge. I think it is true about the study of the Word of God.
God wants us to go into the laboratory to use the test tube and the microscope, but unfortunately man comes out with an atom bomb, and he is trying to destroy the human family in our day.
“And have dominion” is God’s instruction to man. Adam was not just a gardener to cut the grass. Man was created to rule this earth. I think that Adam could control the weather just as we control the air-conditioning in our homes.
He ruled this earth. This is what we see in the Lord Jesus. When He was here on this earth, He had control over nature. He could say to a storm, “Be still.” He could feed a multitude with five loaves and two fishes.
It is my opinion that Adam could have done all of that until his fall. At the Fall he lost the dominion that God had given him.
After creating humans as male and female in the previous verse, God pronounces His blessing on these first people who are made in His image. Built into the blessing is the capacity to reproduce new generations of human beings—and the command to do so.
God gives four instructions: Be fruitful (or “bear fruit,” have babies). Multiply (as each new generation has more kids and they have more kids). Fill the earth (populate). Have dominion (or authority and management) over all the other creatures.
These commands frame many important aspects of a Christian worldview. One crucial point to note is that the commands to reproduce and multiply came prior to the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3.
In blunt terms, this means that God created mankind with the capacity for sex, and sexual reproduction, and intended us to utilize those abilities. Sex, therefore, is not sinful in and of itself.
Of course, like all good things, sex has a proper context: marriage. And yet, this simple point—that God created us as intentionally sexual creatures—speaks against the recurring myth that the Bible considers sex itself to be morally wrong.
As explained in Genesis chapter 2, God would directly create only two humans. The rest of us would come from them, one generation after the next. Humankind’s first responsibilities would be to fill up the earth with people and to care for the earth as God’s representatives.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
The repetition of every highlights the fact that God is the faithful and generous provider of sustenance to both man and animals. Humans will eat from seed-bearing plants and fruit trees, and animals will consume every green plant.
Herbs and fruits must be man’s food, including corn, and all the products of the earth. Let God’s people cast their care upon him, and not be troubled about what they shall eat, and what they shall drink.
He that feeds his birds will not starve his babes. After the flood, people will receive authority from God to eat animal flesh as well (Genesis 9:3), a new source of protein.
From this statement I assume that man was a vegetarian at first, and not until after the Flood did man become a meat eater.
After forming humankind on the sixth day of creation and decreeing our first purposes on the earth, God now describes what humans are to eat: the fruit of all the plants and trees created on day 3.
As was the case with every other living thing created by God, these plants and trees were designed to reproduce themselves (through their seeds), one generation after the next.
It is interesting that God does not instruct humans to use animals for food at this point in history. Certainly here in the beginning, God does not explicitly offer the animals to the humans for eating.
Some Bible scholars hold that there was no animal death before sin entered into the world. Others hold that the natural process of predator-prey did occur, but human beings were not subject to physical death until after the fall.
Regardless of such debates, what is clear is that God provided for the humans made in His image, and their offspring, to be fed by providing plants and trees that would reproduce themselves.
In addition, humans would learn to access the seeds of those fruits and vegetables to grow more and more food for themselves, generation after generation. God has been providing for mankind from the very beginning.
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
The crown of God’s creation is a new creature, a creature that can sound the heartbeat of its Creator. That creature, made male and female, reflects God’s own relational richness. The human family is to join God in the ongoing work of creation.
The earth below and the sky above with all their inhabitants are too beautiful and too good to be left alone. They need the tender care and close attention that only God’s favored creature can give.
These words are very similar to the previous verse, in which God expressly makes clear that humankind could make use of every seed-bearing plant and tree for food.
Now He says the same is true for the animals, birds, and creeping things. It’s all but impossible to miss the fact that, in this moment, God does not expressly offer animals as food for humans or for other animals.
Later, God would specifically change His instructions to man about what other parts of His creation were available for food.
This is often interpreted to mean that all creatures God created were initially herbivores: plant eaters. Other scholars see this in a less literal and more general sense: that self-sustaining plants are the core source of food for the animal kingdom.
While there are various theological, scriptural, and scientific arguments to be made on both sides, neither is really the point of this passage.
In other words, the specific food being eaten is not the take-home lesson of this verse. Rather, this passage clearly defines God as the provider.
That’s who He has been from the very beginning. In His own way, by His own will, He provides food for man and beast (Matthew 6:26).
And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
God had previously assessed elements of creation as “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). He now evaluates His creation in light of the addition of humanity, and He pronounces it very good.
The exclamation behold both expresses God’s excitement and invites the reader also to view creation from God’s perspective. Creation, before the intrusion of human sin in Genesis 3, fully reflected God’s intent.
Humanity now awaits the new heaven and new earth, to appear when God’s redemptive purposes, initiated in the work of Christ, are consummated. When we come to think about our works, we find, to our shame, that much has been very bad.
But when God saw His work, all was very good. Good, for it was all just as the Creator would have it to be. All His works, in all places of His dominion, bless Him. And therefore, bless thou the Lord, O my soul.
Let us bless God for the gospel of Christ, and when we consider His almighty power, let sinners flee from the wrath to come. If newly-created unto the image of God in Holiness, we shall at length enter the “new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
This brings us to the end of chapter one, and it might be well to make a resume at this point. What are some of the things we should note here?
Well, one of these things is the fact that God is mentioned here thirty-two times. The Bible makes no attempt to prove that there is a God. Why not?
Because He says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God . . .” (Ps. 14:1).
The Bible is a Book written to reveal the spiritual, the religious, the redemptive truth, and that comes to us only by faith. So we have here the fact that God is the One who created.
In this first chapter we see the unity and power and personality of God. This is exactly what Paul wrote in Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.”
How are they clearly seen? “Being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
I say to you very candidly that God has shut you up to faith in Himself. We will notice some other truths in this chapter.
First, It denies polytheism: One God creates.
Second of all, it denies the eternity of matter. The first words are: “In the beginning”—and it all had a beginning. This is true in spite of the fact that there was a time when science taught the eternity of matter.
Third of all, this chapter denies pantheism. God is before all things and He is apart from them.
Fourth of all, it denies fatalism—God acts in the freedom of His will.
Finally, let me enumerate the striking features in chapter 1:
On each day of this creation week, God recognized what He made as good. Now, having created mankind to populate and rule over this world, God declares what He has made as “very good.”
The balance of nature, the process of reproduction, and the supremacy of mankind are all part of this “goodness.” As such, Genesis chapter 1 not only credits God as Creator, and dispels other religious myths, it also establishes His stamp of approval on the natural order.
On every day, at each step along the way, God declared what He would make, and then He made it. He succeeded in creating the perfect version of what He, in His absolute perfection, decided to create.
After six days of creation, the universe not only existed, but it was flawless in beauty, in function, in purpose, and in potential. God saw all of it and saw that it was very good.
I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,
Please Leave All Comments in the Comment Box Below ↓