Genesis 1:26-27…Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
After creating the cattle, the creeping things, and the wild animals on the sixth day, God put the finishing touches on His work by creating man in His image. In contrast to all the previous days of creation, on day six God uses plural pronouns to describe Himself. He doesn’t say, “Let me make man…” – He says, “Let Us make man in Our image.” As far as the Genesis text is concerned there is no way to know who He’s talking to, but there are many other passages in the Bible that reveal this. John 1:1-3 says that Jesus (the Word) was with the Father in the beginning and that all things were made through and by Him (cf. Col. 1:16). This means that God the Father was speaking to God the Son (and likely the Holy Spirit too) when He uses the plural pronouns. This is at least an introduction to the triune nature of God. Some have proposed that God was speaking to angels, and although angels do bear some semblance to God’s image (fellowship, freewill, etc.), man is not formed in the likeness of angels but of God.
To be made in the “image of God” is synonymous with “according to our likeness.” This is a Hebrew repetition given for emphasis. The actual meaning of what this entails is multifaceted. First, all the previous created life forms (nephesh) are not said to be in God’s image, but man is. Though a casual glance at the passage might imply that we actually look like God, this is not the meaning of the text. The root word for “image” speaks of the act of carving. It may very well imply that God Himself was the pattern for the personhood of man. Man is created as a moral being innately understanding right from wrong. He has spiritual attributes and a moral conscience not only for others but for God as well. This cannot be said of animals who have no ability to understand morality or have a personal relationship with God. Man has the ability to understand abstract principles like truth and holiness, and he has the special ability to solve problems. Man is created with emotions of sorrow, anger, joy, and the like. In contrast to the animal kingdom, mankind is created to have fellowship with God. Man is distinctly a person, and he enjoys God’s presence, communion with others, and the unique gift for language.
The second facet of being created in God’s image is dominion. God ordains that man should “rule over the fish of the sea… birds of the air… and over every creeping thing.” Man was intended to be God’s “right hand” on the earth. Though God named all things prior to Adam (Hebrew man), once Adam was created he named the animals. God delegates His authority to man, and it is his unique responsibility to care for what God has lovingly created for him.
Verse 27 summarizes what God has done. Though God had created all other life forms in abundance, He creates only one man and one woman – “in the image of God He created them.”
Food for Thought
Mankind was granted authority over God’s creation. This gives us power over the earth and animals. We’re also made to have fellowship with God. How are you doing with these “made-in-the-image of God” tasks? Because man sinned and gave his authority to the devil through disobedience, Satan himself is “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). This should be evident to all. Remember that God made you for a specific task. If you are out of fellowship with Him, you’re a fish out of water, as it were. Our very existence is for dominion & fellowship. Worship God by spending time w/Him, and rule well over that which He’s given.
Genesis 1:28… And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
After creating man and woman in His own image, God “blessed them.” God didn’t just create man in a state of indifference, He made him to be happy, to be the recipients of His joy and blessing. He wanted to lovingly pour out His limitless goodness on us. This “blessing” is much more than just a ceremonial cleansing, it is God conferring His well-being on man; it is God giving man happiness and prosperity. Of course this is in keeping with God’s overall desire for us, for He wants us to enjoy Him and the goodness of His creation. The Apostle Paul says of God that “He gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). The beautiful creation of God attests to His desire that man be happy and in fellowship with Him.
After conferring His blessing on man, God gives him a commission. First, He says to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” Literally, these three terms mean “flourish, be numerous, and fill up.” In other words, “have children, have lots of children, and fill the earth with your children.” In the old KJV of the Bible the Hebrew word that means “fill” is translated as “replenish,” but this is not a good translation of the word. Furthermore, it implies a second filling of the earth that some have taken to give credence to the Gap Theory which states that there is a gap of billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The word is simply “fill.”
The second command of God to man is to “subdue the earth and rule over.” The word for “subdue” means “to overcome, to enslave,” and it literally means to conquer and control an environment or people. It is a word used for sexual assault, war, and slavery in the OT. The only concept in view here, however, is exercising power over that which God made to be controlled. In other words, God says, “harness the earth’s potential and use its resources for your benefit.” God made the planet and its inhabitants, and He delegated the authority of controlling the planet to His highest creation – man. It’s like a CEO who delegates authority to the vice president of the company. When the vice president, however, fails to live up to the agreed upon success of that which was given to him, there is a price to pay. The same is true with man. Mankind has been given the authority of God over God’s creation – the fish, the birds, and every living creature on the earth. It’s power given to man from God. It’s a large planet with lush vegetation and many animals. Part of what it means to be made in God’s image is to rule over that which God created.
Food for Thought
Man has quite the responsibility of ruling over nature. Today it seems that nature rules over man, yet man has been nature’s biggest advocate. Animals oftentimes control man and have more “rights” than he does – and this is promoted by man himself! Many times the planet itself dictates man’s actions. Our abuse of the environment has imprisoned us to it. It’s like being owned by banks because you owe them more money than you have. Air pollution (smog), holes in the ozone layer, acid rain, and the like all too often control man. The curse of the planet as a result of sin brings tornados, hurricanes, and typhoons all across the globe. The animals we were supposed to rule over, and the planet we were supposed to subdue, subdued us as a result of sin and disobedience. It wasn’t intended to be this way from the beginning. We were told to rule.
Take some inventory today about what God has given you and what you’ve done with it. If God gave you money, have you squandered it? If he gave you great health, how have you spoiled it? Don’t take the gifts God’s given for granted. Use them or lose them.
Genesis 1:29-31… Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Notice the first word God says in verse 29: “Behold!” The Hebrew word behind this English term expresses drama. A paraphrase might say something like, “Hey! Check this out!” It’s as if God is excitedly introducing the man and woman to His wonderful creation He just completed. He’s acting like a real estate agent showing His clients all the amenities. He tells them specifically about their most essential physical need: the food they will eat.
The original diet of mankind did not include meat. Now there is nothing wrong with meat in and of itself, but because eating meat entails death – and there was no death during Adam’s days prior to his sin – meat was not part of the original diet. There were no carnivores. This means that the wild animals and dinosaurs could actually live alongside man without either one of them being in danger of the other. A lion didn’t see man as a good meal, and man didn’t look upon a pig and dream of bacon frying in a pan.
Adam and Eve did have work to do – if you can call working in a sweatless, weedless, and curse-free environment work. Man did have to work prior to the Fall, but work was simple in that environment – a work that was likely a great joy to Adam. The garden was filled with fruit trees, and water came up abundantly out of the river that watered the Garden. All Adam had to do was make sure everything had the care it needed. He was to keep the Garden and shape it in such a way that it too reflected its Maker. The fruit of his labor was the fruit of the ground. He was to eat the fruit of the trees and the leaves that grew on the plants. This food would give him the energy needed to continue his work. The energy supply that came through fruits, vegetables, and herbs was literally growing on the trees that Adam cared for. There was an endless supply given that each one was to replicate itself through the bearing and yielding of seed. This is also the very same diet of the animals as verse 30 attests to.
Verse 31 reflects back to the Creator God. He looks out over all that He has made, and “behold, it was very good.” Once again, the term “behold” shows the drama of the day. God is satisfied with His creation and pronounces it “very good.” Now each day prior to this God simply said “it was good,” but the completed project is “very good.” This pronouncement means that God made no mistakes, and nothing crept in that wasn’t good. There were no earthquakes, floods, disease, and there was no death. The rebellion of Satan had not occurred because all was pronounced “very good.” Then there was evening and morning, thus concluding the “sixth day.”
Food for Thought
The fossil record speaks of death, and it is interpreted by evolutionists to mean that death ruled for billions of years prior to man. Genesis, however, says no. God pronounced His creation good. Would God have made this declaration if “survival of the fittest” was really true? God’s original creation contained no pollution, no disasters, no rebellions. There were no mutations (b/c most are bad), and no struggles for survival. It was all “very good,” but look what we’ve done to it. If you left a beautiful object in the hands of someone who had no regard for it, what would you do? That’s why we need a Savior – a Savior that God has lovingly provided in Jesus Christ.
Genesis 2:1… Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
Verse 1 literally reads, “And was completed the heavens and the earth – all the vast array.” That last phrase is all-encompassing and grammatically would include angels which are also created beings. Job 38:7 says these “sons of God” shouted for joy during God’s creation.
So now God has completed everything. Six days prior to this there was nothing. Now there is a universe, a planet with abundant life, and a man and a woman. It is all very good in God’s eyes, and one can almost imagine God sitting back and taking note of His lovely creation. The fact that it is completed according to the biblical account is completely contrary to the evolutionary account which is propagated in the modern day. Evolutionary thought says that all things continue to evolve, becoming more and more complex. What began as a single cell billions of years ago has graduated into the complex universe we see today. However, the Genesis account of creation says that God created everything with maturity (mountains, stars, animals, etc.), and it was done in six literal days. When the biblical genealogies going back to the first man (Adam) are added up, the numbers do not reach beyond 4,000 years before Christ. That means, according to the Bible, the earth is young, not old. Science has failed to refute this successfully, though the idea of evolution continues to be taught as fact. The Bible and evolution are simply incompatible, and all attempts to believe both are futile.
God’s completed creation is actually confirmed by the laws of science. Two laws of thermodynamics (the laws of heat and other forms of energy) completely refute the idea of evolution. The first law of thermodynamics simply states that energy cannot be destroyed nor is it being created. Energy is never used up, rather, it is converted to other forms of energy like heat, motion, sound, and light. Even Einstein’s theory of relativity (E=MC2) teaches that all matter is just another form of energy – energy that cannot be destroyed, only converted to another form. The only way that energy can be increased in an open system (one subject to outside forces/external exchanges of energy) is for an external force (God) to act on that system. In a closed system like our universe, however, the sum of all energy forms remains constant. This one law attests to the fact that energy is not being created nor is the creation ongoing.
The second law of thermodynamics, simply states that all systems run down and wear out – they go from chaos to disorder. It is the law of increasing entropy (randomness and disorder in a system). Although energy cannot be destroyed, only converted, entropy measures all the wasted energy in a system as it converts to a more and more useless entity. Entropy is applicable to everything that exists in nature. The fact that heat transfers from warmer bodies to cooler ones until both are equal means that all working systems will eventually run down with less and less useful energy. In other words, all things wear out, and this rules out – by the laws of physics – any possibility that evolution is true. All things began, and they are all coming to an end.
Food for Thought
The ridiculous notion of “theistic evolution” – the idea that God created all through evolution – contradicts the biblical account and all the laws of science. In God’s sovereign purpose and endless wisdom He put the universe together and put it in motion. It will stay in motion until everything has fulfilled its God-ordained purpose. This means that God has a plan. There is hope in God’s plan; there is none in the random idea of evolution. Contrary to the so-called “facts” of evolutionary “science,” the true laws of science substantiate the Genesis account and give true meaning to life. What God completed in Gen 2:1 man either enjoys or curses.
Genesis 2:2-4… And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. 4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the lord God made earth and heaven.
The first three verses of Genesis 2 speak of God’s finished work four times. God “completed,” God “rested,” and God “blessed.” He blessed the seventh day, and it is the only day of the creation week described as such. He also “sanctified” this day. The word sanctified means “holy.” The verb form (Piel) means that God caused the seventh day to be holy because He declared it to be so. This is a special day in comparison to the previous six. This day was set apart because God “rested” (Hebrew sabat) – a word meaning “to cease.” Since Isaiah 40:28 says, “The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary,” and Psalm 121:4 says, “Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep,” it is clear that God’s rest was not due to exhaustion. Rather, it describes the accomplishment and delight of His work – the celebration of its finishing point. In the NT the Sabbath rest is spiritual. It is a rest that all believers in Jesus Christ look forward to – a day when they have ceased from their labors and have entered into that rest (cf. Hebrews 4). The concept of salvation from one’s sins to the author of Hebrews marks the foundation of the God-ordained rest that began at creation.
It is significant that there is no mandate for Adam to rest as God rested on day seven. Man isn’t even mentioned. The Sabbath Day rest for man didn’t come until the giving of the Law in Exodus 16. In Adam’s day there was simply no need for weekly rest. First, in Exodus 16:29 the Israelites were to remain in their tents on the Sabbath, but since Adam’s dwelling place was in the whole of Eden, he never left it until he was driven from it. Second, the Israelites were forbidden to make fires on the Sabbath (Ex. 16:23), but Adam needed no fire either for warmth or to cook. The environment under the vapor canopy kept the temperature constant, and his food was fruit. Third, the Israelites were forbidden to carry anything on the Sabbath. Adam, however, lived in a peaceful bliss where there was no hard work, and carrying anything from point A to point B was unnecessary. He wasn’t storing food or building shelters. Fourth, the Israelites were forbidden to buy or sell on the Sabbath, but in Eden there was nothing of the sort. All needs were supplied by the Garden itself. Finally, the Israelites were to set aside one day per week (Sabbath) to worship the Lord. But Adam’s whole existence centered around fellowship with God and the worship of Him. In sum, the observance of the Sabbath by Israel was to be an example of what life was originally intended to be – worship of God, glorification of God, and fellowship with God. Sabbath restrictions for those who serve Jesus Christ are no restrictions at all. Christ abolished the ceremonial aspects of the Law, including the Sabbath, and He has given us a Sabbath rest to look forward to – a rest that resembles what Adam had in Eden prior to his fall.
Food for Thought
Even though God’s creative work was finished, it wasn’t long before He began His work of redemption. That work too was completed when Jesus our Redeemer cried out “It is finished!” It was at that point that God rested again – on the Sabbath Day, in the grave. When Sunday came so did the dawn of the new age. That new age looks forward to our spiritual rest.
Genesis 2:4 says, “This is the account of the heavens & the earth when they were created, in the day that the lord God made earth & heaven” – the subscript for the creation account.
Genesis 1:26-27 – Image (carving): A Pattern for Man’s Personhood
- Man is moral, spiritually conscious, & understands abstract principles
- Man is created with emotions of sorrow and joy
- Man is created for fellowship w/God and others
- Man has the unique capacity for language
- Man in God’s image is for dominion over God’s creation
Genesis 1:28 – God’s “Blessing” of Man
- God’s created man for happiness; to receive His joy
- Paul says that God gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Tim 6:17)
- Fruitful, multiply, fill the earth: have children, lots of children, fill the earth w/children
- Subdue is to “conquer”: harness the earth’s potential; use it for your benefit
Genesis 1:29-30 – The Life-Sustaining Food for the Nephesh
- All vegetarian/fruit diet for man and animals
- No death prior to sin; no carnivores
Genesis 1:31-2:1 – The Completed “Very Good” Creation
- Only day called “very good” b/c now it is complete
- First Law… energy can’t be destroyed nor created (all matter is energy) per Einstein
- Second Law… Entropy measures all wasted energy converted to uselessness
- The TRUE laws of science substantiate the Genesis record
Genesis 2:2-4 – The Accomplishment, Delight, and Celebration of the Finished Work
§ Man not mentioned nor is he required to rest in Genesis…
- Stay in your tent vs. Eden as the entire dwelling place of Adam
- No burning fires vs. no need for Adam to cook or stay warm
- No carrying of load vs. no need to make shelters or work hard
- Don’t buy/sell vs. all needs supplied by the Garden itself
- Set aside one day for worship vs. Adam’s continual worship of God
- The Sabbath was to be an example of what life was originally intended to be: worship
§ Even though God’s creative work was finished, it wasn’t long before He began His work of redemption. That work too was completed when Jesus our Redeemer cried out “It is finished!” It was at that point that God rested again – on the Sabbath Day, in the grave. When Sunday came so did the dawn of the new age. That new age looks forward to our spiritual rest.