Creation of Land Animals and Man. Part 3 of 5 (Series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
We understand from this chapter that God is a spirit (see Genesis 1:2), that he thinks, speaks, wills, and acts (see Genesis 1:3-4, etc.). Here, then, are the great points of conformity of man to God, specifically, reason, speech, will, and power. By reason, we understand real things by insight and awareness, and comprehend abstract truth, both philosophical and moral. By speech, we make known to others the various objects of our contemplative faculties. By will we choose, determine, and resolve what is to be done. By power, we act, either by giving expression to our concepts in words, or in deeds. In reason is found the distinction between good and evil (see Genesis 1:4 and Genesis 1:31).
It is evident that God intends to impress upon the mind a sense of something extraordinary in the formation of man’s body and soul, when He introduces the account of his creation with “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The little word “us,” and the slightly larger word “our,” is so very important to mankind, because it conveys the thought that all three members of the Godhead participated in man’s creation. John 1:1, which affirms that the Word was God, and in the beginning with God, and that without Him there was nothing made that hath been made, supports the thought that both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit (revealed in Genesis 1:2 as active in the creation) should be understood as included in "us" and "our" as presented here. Thus, it appears from the very beginning that God is represented as a compound unity.
It is the kinship of humanity to God Himself that makes man unique and extraordinary, a concept that is launched here and is never diminished. The feature of man that makes him unique and extraordinary is that in all of creation, he stands alone as the potential beneficiary of the blood of Christ and an heir of everlasting life.
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.
The relationship of man to the creature is expressed as that of sovereignty. Those faculties of right thinking, right motivation, and right acting, or of knowledge, holiness, and righteousness, in which man resembles God, qualify him for dominion, and make him lord of all creatures that are deficient in intellectual and moral capability. That's why; wherever man goes he makes his influence felt. He studies the objects around him, notes their qualities and associations, envisions and decides upon the purpose and outcome to be achieved, and endeavors to make everything within his reach work together to accomplish the purpose and outcome he envisioned. This is dominion and control on a limited scale. The sphere of his dominion is “the fish of the sea, the fowl of the skies, the cattle, the whole land, and everything that creepeth on the land.” The order in which they are listed here is from the lowest to the highest. The fish, and the fowl, are beneath the domestic cattle. Fish, foul, and cattle are of less importance than the land, which man tills and makes fruitful in order to satisfy his appetite or indulge his taste. The last and greatest victory of all is over the wild animals, which are included under the class of creeping things. Man is dominant over all creation, in spite of being weaker than many of the lesser creatures, practically defenseless until reaching adulthood, prone to sickness, and having few natural defenses. But there is nothing within the knowledge of man which he does not aspire to make subservient to his purposes. He has made the sea his highway, the stars his guide on the pathless ocean, the earth the treasury from which he extracts his precious and useful metals and much of his fuel, the rivers his source of power. These are proofs of the ever-growing influence of man. In this sense, it is sin if man does not use this dominion responsibly, in the sense of a proper regard for stewardship on this earth
God created man capable of governing the world, and we see God‘s tender care and parental concern for the comfort and well-being of this masterpiece of his workmanship, in creating the world before the creation of man. He prepared everything for his survival, convenience, and pleasure, before he brought him into being; you might say that He built the house, furnished it, and stocked it with food, by the time the predestined tenant was ready to occupy it. Consequently, man was rich before he was born. But if God had such care for us before we existed, he will by no means leave us destitute of food and of other necessaries of life, now that we are placed in the world.
It should be noted, that the plural number is used—"let them"—which shows that the name "man" is universal in the preceding clause, and includes male and female.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
So God created man in his own image,
That man was created “in the image of God” is repeated in the next clause, but it is not a vain or useless repetition, because it is a remarkable instance of the Divine goodness which can never be proclaimed too often. God created man according to His plan as described in Genesis 1:26. The concept of man being created “in the image of God” is repeated to give emphasis to the idea. We are clearly told God created man fully formed, and created him in one day, not gradually over millions of years of progressive evolution. The idea that a slow, progressive evolution could produce a complex mechanism like the human body just doesn’t hold up. It is said there would be at least 40 different stages of evolution required to form an eye. What possible benefit could there be for the first 39 stages? The mathematician D.S. Ulam argues it was highly improbable for the eye to evolve by the accumulation of small mutations, because the number of mutations must be so large and the time available was not nearly long enough for them to appear. Evolutionist Ernst Mayr commented: “Somehow or other by adjusting these figures we will come out all right. We are comforted by the fact that evolution has occurred.” Johnson observes: “Darwinism to them was not a theory open to refutation but a fact to be accounted for.” (Johnson)
Darwin wrote: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Professor Richard Goldschmidt, a geneticist at the University of California at Berkley, listed a series of complex structures (from the hair of mammals to hemoglobin) he thought could not have been produced by thousands of years of small mutations. “The Darwinists met this fantastic suggestion with savage ridicule. As Goldschmidt put it, ‘This time I was not only crazy but almost a criminal.’ . . . To suppose that such a random event could reconstruct even a single complex organ like a liver or kidney is about as reasonable as to suppose that an improved watch can be designed by throwing an old one against the wall.” (Johnson)
Man was made in God's image and after his likeness. Man was not made in the likeness of any creature that went before him, but in the likeness of his Creator, nevertheless, between God and man there is an infinite distance. Only Christ is the express image of God's person, the Son being the image of his Father, in that they have the same nature. It is only a little of God's honor that is put upon man, who is God's image, like a shadow is an image of the one who casts it. God's image upon man consists in these three things:
1. In his nature and spirit, not those of his body (since God does not have a body), but those of his soul. It is the soul, the great soul, of man, that does particularly bear God's image. The soul is a spirit, an intelligent immortal spirit, an influencing active spirit, and in this it resembles God, the Father of Spirits. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord. The soul of man, when seen in its three faculties, understanding, will, and active power, is perhaps the brightest and clearest looking-glass in nature, in which to see God.
2. In his place and authority: Let us make man in our image, and let him have dominion. Since he has authority over the inferior creatures, he is, so to speak, God's representative upon earth. They are not capable of fearing and serving God, therefore God has assigned them to fear and serve man. However, his governing of himself by the freedom of his will has in it more of God's image than his governing of the creatures.
3. In his purity and morality. God's image upon man rests in his knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness.
Ephesians 4:24 (KJV): “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Col 3:10 (KJV) “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him”
Eccl 7:29 (KJV) “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.”