Creation of Land Animals and Man. Part 4 of 5 (Series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
The first man had a habitual conformity of all his natural powers to the will of God. He understood divine things, and there were no errors or mistakes in his knowledge. His will complied eagerly to the will of God, without reluctance or resistance. He had no extravagant appetites or passions. His thoughts were easily applied to the best subjects, and there was no vanity or rebelliousness in them. All his inferior powers were subject to the dictates and directions of the superior powers of God, without any mutiny or rebellion. As a consequence, our first parents were holy and happy, because they had the image of God upon them. But little man, how far you have fallen! How greatly has this image of God upon man been defaced! How small it is now, and how much has it been damaged! I pray that the Lord will restore his image upon our souls by his sanctifying grace!
in the image of God created he him;
According to John 1:1, the Word of the Lord created man in His likeness; even that Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God, and in time became incarnate, by whom all things were made. In the preceding paragraphs it was shown that God’s image was placed on man: In his nature and spirit; in his place and authority; in his purity and morality. The “image of God” was also stamped upon both the form of his body, and the erect stature of it, which is different from all other creatures. This notion is in agreement with the idea that the body of man was prepared in anticipation of the incarnation of the Son of God, which the Triune God agreed should happen in the fullness of time. Jesus Christ would enter the world in the image and likeness of man, because man was made in the image and likeness of God; in the immortality of His soul, and in his intellectual powers, and in that purity, holiness, and righteousness in which he was created; as well as in his dominion, power, and authority over the creatures—he was God's representative, and resembled him.
“In the image of God created he him” is repeated to show the certainty of it, and to emphasize man's superior glory and dignity to the rest of the creatures—“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God…” (1 Cor 11:7; KJV). The phrase "the image of God" refers to the fact that man was made in the likeness of his Maker, and proves that, though fallen, there is a sense in which he is still the image of God. It is not because man is holy or pure, and thus resembles his Creator; but it evidently is because he was invested by his Maker with authority and dominion: he was superior to all other creatures. This is still maintained; and this is what the apostle evidently refers to in the passage before us, and this he says should be recognized and respected. He was the direct representative of God on the earth, and had superiority to all other creatures.
male and female created he them.
“Male and female created he them” does not mean that man was created a hermaphrodite, or with two bodies, back to back and joined together, and afterwards cut apart; but first God made man, or the male, out of the dust of the earth, and infused a rational soul into him; and then He made a female, or woman, out of one of his ribs. She was presented to him as his wife, so that their species would be able to produce offspring. Only one male and one female were created, to show that after this a man was to have only one wife at a time—“Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit, you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth” (Mal 2:15; NLT). The “one" in this verse refers to the conjugal one body formed by the original pair (see Genesis 2:24). God could have joined many wives as one with the one husband, because He had plenty of spiritual being that could have been imparted to others besides Eve; but the purpose of the restriction was to obtain a pious offspring. One object of the marriage union is to raise a seed for God and for eternity.
Man is only half himself without his female partner. The numerous generations of men that have overspread the earth descend from this original pair. How foolish and vain it is then for a man to take pride in his pedigree, when a poor beggar can claim the most noble ancestry, as a son of Adam, who was the son of God! “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God” (Luke 3:38; KJV). We have, in the literal sense, one Father; we are brethren of one family, the same blood runs in our veins, and therefore brotherly affection should be in our hearts for one another.
This passage of Genesis gives us an overview of God’s creation of man, and Genesis 2:1-25 will explain exactly how God created male and female.
28 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 blessed them,
This blessing by God may be regarded as the source from which the human race has flowed. And we should consider it applying not only to mankind in general, but also, to individuals; since we are either fruitful or barren with respect to children, because God imparts his power to produce offspring to some and withholds it from others. But here Moses is simply saying that Adam and his wife, Eve, were formed for the production of offspring, in order that men might replenish the earth. God could have, if He had chosen to do so, covered the earth with many millions of men and women; but it was his preference that we should go forth from one fountain (one couple), in order that our desire for mutual harmony and peace might be great, and so that each individual might freely embrace the other as his own flesh and blood. Besides, since men were created to inhabit the earth, we ought to assume that God has made the earth a suitable abode for them. Anything which is contrary to this arrangement is a corruption of nature which proceeds from sin.
This blessing has endured and is still in effect, and the result is that men have made their home in every part of the globe. Now, concerning marriage, we must keep in mind that God intends the human race to be multiplied by age group, but not by promiscuous intercourse, which is the manner of animals. God has joined the man to his wife, so that they might produce a divine, that is, a legitimate seed.
This divine blessing differs from that given the lower animals primarily in the element of supremacy. Power is presumed to belong to man‘s nature, according to the counsel of the Maker‘s will (see Genesis 1:26). But without a special permission, he cannot exercise any lawful authority, since the other creatures are as independent of him as he is of them. Man is on equal footing with the other creatures, since he does not have any natural advantages over the other creatures. Therefore, he needs to receive from high heaven a formal proclamation of power over the things that were made for man. He is therefore authorized, by these words of the Creator, to exercise his power in subduing the earth and ruling over the animal kingdom. This is the intended outcome of his being created in the image of God. Man was created for dominion, and the earth and its various products and inhabitants are assigned to him for the display of his powers. The subduing and ruling do not refer merely to supplying his natural needs, which is provided for in the following verse, but to the accomplishment of scientific discoveries and performing acts of kindness, whether towards the inferior animals or his own race. It is the part of intellectual and moral reason to use one’s power for the accomplishment of both general and personal good. The power and influence of man ought to be used to benefit mankind and the other creations of God.
The blessing of God placed mankind under His special protection, and gave them power to propagate and multiply their own kind on the earth. A large book indeed, would be insufficient to contain what we know about the accomplishments of man, even in his present degraded fallen state. Both his body and soul are custom-made with astonishing wisdom. The construction, action, and reaction of the different parts of the body, show the admirable skill of the wondrous Creator; while the various powers and faculties of the mind, acting on and by the different organs of this body, proclaim the soul‘s Divine origin, and demonstrate that he who was made in the image and likeness of God, was a copy of His own excellence, and destined to know, love, and dwell with his Maker throughout eternity.
Without the goodness of God’s blessing, human life would be not only unbearable, but also impossible.
and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth:
If this is not a direct command, which is how the Jews understand it, for marriage and producing children, it seems to be more than simply permission; at the least it is advice about what was proper and appropriate for the increase of mankind, and for the filling of the earth with inhabitants, which was the purpose for which it was made—“For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18; KJV). This shows that marriage is an ordinance of God, instituted in paradise, and is honorable; and that procreation is a natural action, and may be performed without sin.