Genesis 1:26-31 - The Sixth Day (Part 2): Creation of Man, Male and Female
All of creation up to this point has been merely an introduction to what would happen at the end of day six. The creation of the human race was the central object of God’s creative purpose from the beginning. The human race is still at the center of God’s purpose for the entire material universe. We know this because Scripture says everything else will eventually perish. It will all go out of existence.
According to Jesus, there is coming a time when even “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (Mark 13:24–25).
Ultimately, even the heavens will roll up like a scroll (Revelation 6:13–14).
And Peter says that “The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
In effect, everything that was created will be uncreated. Everything in this universe will cease to exist. Except humanity. God created man to glorify Him and to enjoy Him forever. And when every other element of this universe is long gone, a vast multitude of the redeemed human race will dwell in the presence of the Lord forever.
A. God’s Word created man (v.26).
1. “God said; Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (v.26a).
a) God’s Word created man.
(1) God used the power of His Word to create man. God simply spoke and man came into being.
(2) God spoke and the laws that caused man to form went into operation. God spoke, and the basic elements—the atoms, molecules, protons, neutrons, electrons, genes, DNA, and whatever basic element is ever discovered that makes up human life—came into being.
(3) God spoke, and the power of His Word formed and created man.
2. God created man in the image of the Godhead (v.26b).
a) The unmistakable evidence of the Trinity.
(1) Here in (Gen.1:26), for the first time in the Bible, God introduces Himself with personal pronouns.
(a) Significantly, they are plural pronouns. Not, “Let Me….” but, “Let Us make man in Our image,” and thus we are introduced to a plurality of relationships in the Godhead.
(b) It is by no means a full revelation of the doctrine of the Trinity, but it is an unmistakable reference to plurality within the Godhead, and it begins to lay the groundwork for what we later learn of the Trinity from the New Testament.
(c) The Hebrew word for God is Elohim and takes the form of a plural noun. Elohim is used 21 times in the first 25 verses of chapter 1.
(d) There was at least one other earlier hint of the Trinity in (v.2), where we were told that the Spirit of God hovered above the face of the waters.
(2) We have the same truth unfolded in John’s Gospel (John 1:1-3, 14):
(a) This of course refers to the second member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ – who was with God at creation and is God Himself. iHimse
(3) By putting all those passages together, we see that all three Members of the Trinity were active in creation.
(a) The Father was overseeing and decreeing the work.
(b) The eternal Word was “with God” and involved in every aspect of the creative process.
(c) And the Spirit was brooding over the waters, which also suggests the most intimate kind of hands–on involvement in the process.
!!!! b) God’s intimate connection with the creation of man.
(1) All three persons of the Godhead consulted and became personally involved in the creation of man. When the believer really meditates upon this truth, his heart should be excited.
John says in his gospel about Jesus Christ "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. " (John 1:3, NASB95)
Speaking about Jesus Christ and creation, Paul says "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him." (Colossians 1:16, NASB95)
And the writer of Hebrews says "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." (Hebrews 1:1-2, NASB95)
(2) In the recreation, or redemption of man, all three persons of the Godhead were involved:
(a) Chosen by the Father (Ephesians 1:3-6).
(b) Redeemed by the Son (Ephesians 1:7-12).
(c) Sealed by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).
3. God created man with a very special purpose: To have dominion (v.26c-d).
a) Over all animals (v.26c).
b) Over all the earth (v.26d).
(1) We will look into this more when we get to (v.28).
B. God and God alone created man, both male and female: Created them with the highest dignity and honor, in His image (v.27).
1. “God created man in His own image…” (v.27a).
a) Created in the image of God.
(1) What does it mean to be created in the image and likeness of God? Before we explore that question, whatever it means, it is definitely something high and lofty, not something that a creature can evolve into.
(2) This is not something that can be gained by a random mutation in the genetic code. It is not something that was brought about by a deviation in some higher primate’s DNA.
(3) Created in the image of God is the very thing that makes humanity different from every other created animal.
b) What is the image of God?
(1) The Hebrew word for “image,” tselem, comes from a root that speaks of carving. It is the same word used to speak of graven images (Exodus 20:4).
(2) It almost seems to convey the idea that man was carved into the shape of God. It suggests that God was, in essence, the pattern for the personhood of man. That is not true of anything else in the space–time universe.
(3) Because the image of God is unique to humanity, it must describe some aspect of human nature that is not shared by animals. Therefore this cannot speak primarily of man’s appearance or biological makeup.
(4) Being made in the image of God is not speaking about the material part of man.
(a) Jesus said in John 4:24 that “God is Spirit” and He also said “a spirit does not have flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39).
(5) This has to deal with mans spiritual attributes:
(a) Our self-consciousness, our moral consciousness, and our consciousness of others—especially our consciousness of God Himself.
(b) Animals are conscious, but they are not self–conscious, morally aware, or able to have a truly personal relationship.
(6) Before the image of God in man was marred by sin, Adam shared in a pure and undefiled way all the communicable attributes of God (those qualities of the divine nature that are capable of being reflected in creatures).
(a) These would include holiness, wisdom, goodness, truth, love, grace, mercy, longsuffering, and righteousness.
(7) But above all, the image of God can be summed up by the word personhood. We are persons.
(a) Our lives involve relationships. We are capable of fellowship. We are able to love other persons in a Godlike sense. We understand communion.
(b) We have an amazing capacity for language. We have conversations. We know what it is to share thoughts, convey and discern attitudes, give and take friendship, perceive a sense of brotherhood, communicate ideas, and participate in experiences with others. Animals cannot do those things in the same sense people can.
(8) That is why when God created man He immediately said that it was not good for man to be alone.
(a) The image of God is personhood, and personhood can function only in the context of relationships.
(b) Man’s capacity for intimate personal relationships needed fulfillment. Most important, man was designed to have a personal relationship with God.
(9) And this takes us back to the expression in verse 26.
(a) When God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” He signified that He Himself is a God of relationships. And He created us in His own likeness so that we could enter into a relationship with Him.
c) What does James say about the likeness of God (James 3:9)?
(1) Our tongues, with their ability to form words and speak meaningful language, also reflect our likeness to God. Blessing God is the highest function of the tongue (Psalm 33:1; 147:1)
(2) The tongue and the heart must be in tune.
(a) Confessing the Lord Jesus as Savior (Romans 10:9)
(b) Whatever is in the heart will come out of the mouth (Matthew 12:34). Whatever is in the well of the heart will come out through the bucket of the mouth. Whatever is in your heart you will say sooner or later.
(c) If God has truly touched your life then he has touch your mouth, because He has touched your heart.
(d) Believers should not only refrain from cursing but also bless those who curse and persecute them (Luke 6:28; Romans 12:14).
(3) The tongue is capable of both good and evil expressions (Proverbs 18:21).
2. Two significant facts about the image of God.
a) The rebellion of man affected God’s image within man.
(1) When man exercised his ability and choice and turned against God, he lost a couple of things:
(a) The right to live on the earth & the right to live with God forever.
b) The image of God within man can be renewed.
(1) Man can be “born again”—made spiritually alive to God, just as spiritually alive as he was in the beginning—never to perish (John 3:3,5; 1Pet.1:23; 1Jn5:1).
(2) Man can partake of God’s divine nature, “put on the new man” (Eph.4:24; Col.3:10; 2Pet1:4).
(3) Man can be renewed, regenerated, or recreated in Christ Jesus (2Cor.5:17, 21; 1Pet.2:24; Titus 3:5).
(4) Man can partake of God’s divine nature and be assured of living forever in the new heavens and earth (1Cor.15:49; 2Pet.1:4; 3:10-13; Rev.21:1).
3. “Male and female He created them…” (v.27b).
a) Both man and woman in His own image.
(1) Woman was created by God as much as man was; she was made in the image of God as much as man was.
(2) Woman was given as much dignity and honor as man was. Woman is as much the crown and summit of God’s creation as man is.
(3) Women are to be esteemed and honored as much as the men. They are to be allowed to fulfill their function upon earth with dignity and honor just as much as men are. God created woman to walk as a companion to man, not as a slave.
C. God blessed man (v.28a).
1. “Then God blessed them…” (v.28a).
a) The blessings of God for Adam and Eve.
(1) In the immediate context, what were the blessings of God?
(a) the privilege of God’s presence, of fellowship with God.
(b) the privilege of life, both life abundant and life eternal.
(c) the privilege of being created in the image of God, of being the crown and summit of His creation.
(d) the privilege of living upon earth with all its provisions for food and beauty.
(e) the privilege of being male and female, of having the companionship of one another.
(f) the privilege of reproduction, of filling the earth with their own species.
(g) the privilege of having animals as fellow companions on earth.
(h) the privilege of ruling and reigning over all the creatures of earth.
(i) the privilege of work, of finding satisfaction and fulfillment in subduing the earth.
b) The blessings of God for us today.
(1) Physical and temporal:
(a) Prosperity (Mal.3:10–12).
(b) Food, clothing (Matt. 6:26, 30–33).
(c) Sowing, harvest (Acts 14:17).
(d) Longevity (Ex.20:12).
(e) Children (Ps.127:3–5).
(2) Spiritual and eternal:
(a) Salvation (John 3:16).
(b) Election (Eph.1:3–5).
(c) Regeneration (2 Cor. 5:17).
(d) Forgiveness (Col. 1:14).
(e) Adoption (Rom. 8:15–17).
(f) No condemnation (Rom. 8:1).
(g) Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).
(h) Justification (Acts 13:38, 39).
(i) Fatherly chastisement (Heb.12:5–11)
(j) Christ’s intercession (Rom. 8:34).
(k) Sanctification (Rom.8:3–14).
(l) Perseverance (John 10:27–29).
(m) Glorification (Rom. 8:30).
D. God gave man three great assignments (v.28b-d).
a) To be fruitful and reproduce and fill the earth (v.28b).
(1) God had created many animals, but He created only one man and one woman. Why? There were at least four reasons.
(a) To establish the family: to institute the rule and principle of one man and one woman for each other. There was to be no separation or divorce—no split families, no children without a father or mother—when God first created man and woman.
(b) To build a much stronger love, trust, and loyalty within man and woman. Love, trust, and loyalty are weakened and destroyed when intimate relationships are carried on with other persons. When love, trust, and loyalty are weakened within the strongest bond known to man, that of the family, they are weakened in all the other relationships of life: at work, at play, with one’s country.
(c) To teach man that all people are of one blood, from one source. Therefore, all people—all races and nations—are to live in peace and unity, working together to subdue the earth. There was to be no prejudice, discrimination, violence, greed, selfishness, or war upon earth—not originally, not when God first created man.
(d) To teach that man is as important as woman and woman is as important as man: all succeeding generations of men and women are to be as highly esteemed as the first man and woman were. There is to be no abuse and no enslavement of women or men in God’s creation. Both are involved in the mission of God for the earth.
b) To subdue the earth (v.28c).
c) To have dominion—to rule—over all animal life (v.28d).
(1) Dominion means to rule over, to master, to control, to manage, to look after and care for.
(2) Originally, when God first created the animals and man, there was apparently no savagery among animals.
(3) Since the fall of man animals live in a world of savagery, having to struggle for food and fight for survival against other animals. However God promises a new age and a new day, a new earth and a new world, when perfection and peace shall reign upon the earth.
We read in Isaiah that "The wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:6-9, NASB95)
In Isaiah 65:25 we read "The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord." (Isaiah 65:25, NASB95)
I love what we read about our Lord Jesus Christ "There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this." (Isaiah 9:7, NASB95)