So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
‘Man’ meant the human race, and the human race was made in God’s image. This is stated twice in the same verse. I think that’s a hint it’s important. So, what does it mean to be created in God’s image?
The word for image is translated ‘image’ in all but one passage in the King James version of the Bible, where it is translated ‘vain shew’—meaning something that looks like the real thing, but it isn’t. The Hebrew word for image is derived from the concept of a shadow or change of shade. The same word is used later in Genesis, when Adam has his son Seth.
When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth (Genesis 5:3, NASB).
This verse is prefaced in Genesis 5 with the explanation, “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created” (Genesis 5:1b-2, NASB). Doesn’t that sound like Genesis 1:27 above? But ‘image’ isn’t used here. Instead, it’s likeness, and it’s not the same word. It means in the fashion or similitude of. God uses it in when He says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Why does God choose to use these two similar words, ‘image’ and ‘likeness,’ to compare mankind to God, and then repeat them to describe the relationship between Adam and Seth? I think God is telling me that He has a relationship with me that can be compared to the relationship I have with my children. The way I love and view my children is the way God loves and views me. I talked about the innate bond a mother shares with her newborn. My baby belongs to me in a way that doesn’t mean I possess or control her. I say to my father about my son, “He has your eyes.” Or I say my son acts so much like his father. I find delight in these similarities. He belongs, like I belong. It is in that same familial sense that I belong to God. He made me with similarities that endear me to Him and delight Him.
Seth was the father of a line of descendants of Adam who began to call on the name of the LORD. Adam had other sons before and after Seth, but God shows Seth to be the son Adam fathered “in his own likeness, according to his image.” Seth, who was like Adam, had sons who followed God. Cattle and beasts can’t call on the name of the LORD, and neither can fish or birds. No other creature but humankind has the capability of petitioning God for His instructions, approval, and love. When my children seek my instructions, approval, and love, I give to them willingly. God loves and gives so much more than I could ever love or give.
Other than my ability to create a being like myself, what other ways am I like God? Looking back through Genesis 1, I find…
God created; I can create. “In the beginning God created…”
I can create through many avenues. As a writer, this is an awesome thought for me. I have proof of reaches, materially and theoretically, that are humanly infinite. God provides the intellectually infinite for me, His offspring, to expand my knowledge and help me grow, while to Him it is finite.
God has a spirit; I have a spirit. “And the Spirit of God moved…”
God’s spirit as an active, doing entity (I touched on this in Light and Goodness). While my body works to thrive instinctively, there is a part of me that can go against my instincts. I can do, sometimes, the very opposite of what my natural needs and wants would have me do. That is spirit. Without it, I would be unable to think outside the here and now of my automated body.
I can see the light. “And God saw the light, that it was good.”
The idiom “see the light,” means to understand something clearly at last. My Creator shows me in this verse that He knows what is good. If I let Him teach me what is good, then I will see the light, too. He created me with this potential, to know and understand good versus what is bad. This is the very aspect that causes me to seek for a belief system; I yearn to understand things clearly and rightly.
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.
He tells man to replenish the earth. The word means to fill it full. It implies satisfying emptiness. I’m going to go out on a limb and suppose that God didn’t think humans were a nuisance to the ecosystem on day six. In fact, when He commands them to subdue the earth, it sounds like He’s all for taming the wilds and making the earth mankind’s dwelling.
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.
God is now handing over the food supply, saying, “These plants I made are for you.” Shouldn’t that give me a complex? I was taught in school that humans are using up the planet’s resources. I’m a problem to this planet, and I need to stop eating so much, living so much, breathing so much. My great big carbon footprint is all wrong! But God says He made the food, the earth, and the very atmosphere for me to…eat, live, and breathe! I’m here on purpose. He made me in His image. My life is not a nuisance to the planet; this planet was specially made for my human life to thrive.
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.
God created enough food for mankind and animals to share. Based on this verse and the one before it, it’s been theorized that the first animals and people were vegetarians. It may have been true before Noah’s time, but God told Noah in Genesis 9:3-4 that every moving thing was food, but not to eat the blood. So, something happened between the beginning of the world and when Noah stepped out of the ark. It looks like the abundance at the beginning was drastically diminished, numerically and/or nutritionally.
God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…
The human race gets the ultimate seal of approval from God: He calls His creation not just good, but very good.
God created man to be male and female, creating them in His image.
He established the laws of procreation and commanded man to fill the earth.
He commanded mankind to rule the creatures He made.
He gave man and animals green herbs for food.
He surveyed His creation and called it very good.
…And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
I have a beginning, and here it is. But where is God’s beginning? My brain can’t wrap around the concept of a Being Who has always existed. I wonder if God smiles on me like I smiled when my daughter remarked to her older brother, “When I grow up, I’m gonna be older than you!” She didn’t understand the laws of time, but I knew she would one day. As I move through time, I don’t fully grasp the concept of timelessness. The Creator knows I don’t get it yet. But I will. One day.