And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: 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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
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 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. 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. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.(Genesis 1:26-31)
Notice that rather than the command “Let the earth bring forth…” as in the earlier days of Creation, God speaks in a much more personal manner, among Himself, in the Godhead. “Let us make man in our image…”.
There is something special about man, the creation of him is unique in all of creation. All that preceded him was a preparation before him, for man is the pinnacle of Creation. Man alone was created to bear the Image and likeness of his Creator, and to him only, was there granted a conscious fellowship with the Godhead.
His first command was to, “be fruitful and mulitply…” , This commandment is something God has never revoked, though man has since fallen, God wants us to have children and to fill the earth with them. Obviously He wants us to be aved and to raise the children in the fear and teaching of the Lord, but God has never regarded children as anything but a blessing.
Man has been called to be the vice regent of God, ruling over all of the animals and developing, cultivating and husbanding the many resources that God in his goodness and wisdom had put into the earth, to be sought, extracted, developed and enjoyed by man.
Man is not an animal, though with His feet firmly planted on the ground, and having been made also of the dust of the earth, and depending entirely on vegetation for his sustenance, as the animals do, there is an affinity with animals.
But man can speak, He is self-conscious and aware, He has been created with the capacity to commune with God, and to long for eternity. Man is something more than a beast.
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!(Psalm 8:4-9)
What is the image of God ? God speaks, and so does man, Man is creative, conscious of eternity, He is responsible for his actions, He can choose, thinks abstractly, He is not guided by instinct or appetite, He is a rational moral being.Furthermore, like God, man has been given an eternal spirit.
Remember that we are let into the very councils of God, in Genesis 1, we overhear the Godhead commune within itself, saying, “Let us make man in our image…”. God cannot be truly known other than as a trinity of persons, Father,Son and Holy Spirit.
Man, in the image of God, and in a faint, diminished way is also created as a trinity, Spirit, Soul and Body. By the Spirit of man, comes the capacity to worship, to long for God and eternity, to respond in faith and love to the Creator.
The spirit expresses itself through the soul of man, ie the mind, will and emotions, as well as the conscience. Finally the Spirit/Soul of man,(the inner man) communicate in this physical world through the body.
We who believe are promised a complete salvation,
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. ( I Thess 5:23-24).
Man is still considered to be In the Image of God, after the fall, but in some sense that Image is marred and shattered. The reason given for the death penalty for murderers is because those who kill, destroy the Image of God.
Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.(Genesis 9:6)
Salvation involves the restoration of the shattered Image, through the Son of God, Jesus, who is the true Image of the invisible God…
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:(Coll 3:10)
Blessed God, restore within us the image of you that we have shattered, through the name and work of Jesus Christ, our Lord!